Steps to become a Lawyer/Attorney in Nevada
Follow the step by step process or choose what situation that best describes you:
- Complete my Nevada Undergraduate Pre-Law Education
- Take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
- Go to Law School in Nevada
- Complete the Nevada State Bar Exam
- Now that You’ve Been Admitted to the Bar
Law Careers in Nevada
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational and Employment Statistics for May 2017 states that the average lawyer in Nevada made an annual median salary of $121,390. Lawyers practicing in the Reno metropolitan area commanded even higher salaries, at $140,620. The Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation projects a 31.07 percent increase in jobs in the legal profession in the state from 2014 through 2024. If you wish to claim one of these projected lawyer jobs in Nevada, keep reading to discover how to become a Nevada lawyer.
Complete Your Nevada Undergrad Pre-Law Major
The State Bar of Nevada does not specify any pre-law school education required in order to sit for the state’s bar exam. However, it does require that all who sit for the state’s bar exam graduate from an American Bar Association-approved law school, and all ABA-approved law schools require that you have at least a bachelor’s degree prior to admission.
All ABA-approved law schools deem that your bachelor’s degree must be from an accredited university or college. If an accreditation agency listed with the U.S. Department of Education has accredited your institution, the ABA should accept the validity of your undergraduate education.
Requirements and Standards
There are no pre-set courses, majors, or minors for pre-law students in Nevada. Some courses are recommended over others to improve your chances of getting into and succeeding in law school. These include courses that challenge you and interest you, in areas such as human nature, history, communications (oral and written), political science and government, business and economics, and philosophy.
The undergraduate education requirement of the ABA for admission to its approved law schools is that you have a bachelor’s degree, within any major. Some undergraduate institutions may offer pre-law majors. If your school does not, majors taken from the above-listed coursework choices are often your best option.
LSAT (Law School Admission Test) in Nevada
Next, you must pass the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test. Passing this standardized test is vital to your admission to an ABA-approved law school.
How to prepare
You can find free practice tests and other study aids at the LSAT website. Other options for LSAT preparation in Nevada are:
LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Nevada:
- LSAT Prep Course, TestMasters, Las Vegas
- LSAT Private Tutoring, University of Nevada-Reno
- LSAT Study Guide, LSAT Secrets, Online
On the LSAT, you will be tested on your skills in reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. You must also create a writing sample at the end of the test, which is not scored for the test but is mailed to the law schools to which you apply for enrollment. Skills measured on the LSAT are those that are necessary for a student’s success in law school. These include being able to read and comprehend long, complex passages, organizing and managing information, drawing inferences, thinking critically, and analyzing and evaluating others’ reasoning and arguments.
LSAT applications are accepted online through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Here, you will create an account at LSAC.org and pay the $190 examination fee. The LSAT is given in November, January, and March on Saturdays and Mondays in the following exam locations in Nevada:
- College of Southern Nevada-Charleston, Las Vegas
- College of Southern Nevada-North Las Vegas Campus, North Las Vegas
- University of Nevada-Reno, Reno
Receiving Your LSAT Score
You should receive your LSAT score via postal mail about three weeks post-test. The score scale for the LSAT is 120 to 180. Nevada law schools and the median LSAT scores they accept include:
- University of Nevada-Las Vegas: 158
Go to Law School in Nevada
Featured Law School:
Now that you have passed the LSAT, you are ready to apply to ABA-accredited law schools throughout the United States. The State Bar of Nevada only specifies that you must graduate from an ABA-approved law school – it may be in any state in the nation. There are more than 200 ABA-accredited law schools listed in the LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools.
Credential Assembly Service
It is imperative that you use the Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) when you apply for admission to any ABA-accredited law school. This service standardizes and centralizes your undergraduate academic records, giving law schools to which you reply a report including all of your undergraduate transcripts, academic work, LSAT score, letters of recommendation, online evaluations from others, and LSAT writing sample. You must pay the LSAC $195 for this service.
You must graduate from an ABA-approved law school, under the rules of the State Bar of Nevada. The only exception to this rule is for lawyers who have already been licensed in another state and have practiced for 10 or more years. Even then, however, candidates who have not graduated from an ABA-approved law school must have their education evaluated by the Bar.
ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Nevada
Only one law school in Nevada is ABA-accredited:
- University of Nevada-Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 451003, Las Vegas, NV 89154-1003
Subjects that are covered on the Nevada bar exam and which you can expect to study in an ABA-accredited law school include Agency and Partnership; Community Property; Conflict of Laws; Constitutional Law; Contracts; Corporations; Criminal Law and Procedure; Evidence; Persons and Domestic Relations; Real Property; Remedies; Torts; Articles 2, 3, and 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code; Wills, Estates, and Trusts; Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Additionally, skills that lawyers use will be tested and should be studied. These include legal analysis/reasoning, factual analysis, identifying and resolving ethical dilemmas, problem-solving, organizing and managing legal tasks, and communication (both written and oral).
Online Law Degrees
(For students who choose to focus on a subset of law other than an attorney.)
Hands-on experience and practice are a large part of the curriculum of most ABA-accredited law schools. Practice helps to reinforce the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom. Depending upon your law school’s curriculum, you might participate in community service workshops and programs, legal aid clinics, work in government agencies, work in law firms, or an externship in the courts.
You must have a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an ABA-approved law school to take the Nevada bar exam, under the rules of the State Bar of Nevada. You may pursue another degree alongside your JD degree, to increase your career options after graduation. This may include (but is not limited to) any of the following areas:
- JD/Master of Business Administration
- JD/Master of Social Work
- JD/Doctor of Philosophy in Education
Take the Nevada State Bar Exam
Use this handy checklist to make sure that you are eligible to take the Nevada bar exam:
- Received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited undergraduate institution
- Passed the LSAT
- Received a professional law degree from an ABA-approved law school
- Be present/available within the State of Nevada, and remain so until the Bar has finished its examination, including any investigations, interviews, and hearings to determine your morals, character, qualifications, and fitness to practice law
- Not have been refused admission to practice law in any other US jurisdiction due to unfitness of character
- Not subject to any emotional or mental problems that will interfere with your ability to practice law
- Not have been disbarred from the bar of any US jurisdiction due to unfitness of character
- Not be a drug abuser of legal drugs/user of illegal drugs
- Show financial responsibility
Non-ABA approved law school graduates
Non-ABA-approved law school graduates are not eligible to take the Nevada bar exam unless you meet the following qualifications:
- You have 10 or more years of active and continuous practice of law in another US jurisdiction
- You have a functional equivalency certification conducted by the Committee on Functional Equivalency of the State Bar of Nevada. Contact the Admissions Department at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Graduates of Foreign Law Schools
Graduates of foreign law schools are not eligible to take Nevada’s bar exam without having a functional equivalency certification performed. Contact the above-mentioned committee for more information.
You will find free information on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website to help you prepare for the national sections of the Nevada bar exam. These include the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). Other bar exam preparation resources in Nevada are:
The Nevada bar exam is administered over a two-and-a-half-day period. On the first day, you will write four Nevada essay questions of one hour each, and take the MPT. The MPT tests your lawyer skills in the following areas: legal analysis/reasoning, factual analysis, identifying and resolving ethical dilemmas, problem-solving, organizing and managing legal tasks, and communication (both written and oral).
The second day of the bar exam is devoted to the MBE, 200 multiple-choice questions on the following topics: Constitutional Law, Contracts/Sales, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, Torts.
Day three, you will write four more Nevada essay questions of one hour each. The essay questions may be on any of the following subjects: Agency, Commercial Paper, Community Property, Conflict of Laws, Corporations, Ethics, Nevada & Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Partnerships, Persons & Domestic Relations, Remedies, Sales, Secured Transactions, Wills, Estates & Trusts, and the six MBE subjects.
You must order an Application for Admission to the Nevada Bar Examination online. It must be typed and completed in its entirety, with the proper items signed and notarized where indicated. Along with your application, be sure to include:
- Certified transcripts from all law schools attended and from any colleges and universities from which a degree was received. (Transcripts must be filed within 30 days of filing your exam application)
- If you are filing your application prior to your law school graduation, provide a transcript as soon as you receive your JD degree indicating this
- Sign and have notarized an original Authorization and Release (enclosed in application). Return this original and four copies with your application when you file it.
- Two completed FBI fingerprint cards provided by the State Bar of Nevada within the application package. Take these cards to a police station, sheriff’s office, or fingerprinting agency and have your fingerprints taken. Sign and fill in required personal data on both cards.
- OriginalDepartment of Motor Vehicles Report from every state in which you have been licensed to drive during the past five years.
- Five photographs of yourself, passport-size, and style (2 in x 2 in), taken within the last six months. Attach one photograph to page two of the original and a copy of your bar application, place one photograph in an envelope with your name on the envelope and the reverse side of the photograph, attach one photograph to the provided identification card and sign the card, and attach one photograph to the provided examination badge and sign the badge.
- Two letters of reference from the references you listed in the application. If filed separately, they must be received no later than 30 days after filing your application.
- Fees: if you are taking the July exam and filing prior to March 1, the fee is $755. If postmarked between March 2 and May 1, the fee increases to $1305. All checks must be payable to the State Bar of Nevada. (If taking the February exam, fees and deadlines will be noted on the application).
Send two original copiesof your application to State Bar of Nevada, Admissions Department, 3100 W. Charleston Blvd, Suite 100, Las Vegas, NV 89102. You may submit one original and one copy of the enclosed application form, but each must have your original signature, notarization and photograph.
Bar exam results are published by the State Bar of Nevada about three months after the exam and posted on its website. The State Bar of Nevada has published the following past bar exam passing results:
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
In addition to passing the Nevada bar exam, the State Bar of Nevada requires that you pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) within three years of passing the bar exam. You may register to take the MPRE through the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Times, dates, and places for the MPRE will be revealed as you begin the registration process.
Admission on Motion
Nevada does not offer reciprocity or admission by motion to attorneys who are already licensed. All applicants to the Nevada bar must pass the state’s bar exam.
MBE Transfer Scores
Nevada will not accept your score from an MBE taken in another jurisdiction.
Licensing and Admission to the Bar
You should receive your bar exam results about nine weeks after you take the exam, by mail. You will be notified, should you pass, of the time, date, and place of your bar admission swearing-in ceremony.
You’ve Been Admitted to the Nevada Bar
Congratulations on passing the Nevada bar exam! You are now a member of the Nevada State Bar and will receive all the privileges such as membership entails. These benefits include:
- Free Fastcase online legal research service
- Discounted shipping services from FedEx Advantage
- Discounted car rentals from Hertz, Avis, and Budget
- Clio web-based practice management system
- Law Pay credit card processing service for lawyers
- Access to the State Bar of Nevada Career Center
- Tax-qualified retirement plan services from ABA retirement funds
As a new member of the Nevada State Bar, you must complete a mandatory bridge-the-gap course during your first year of admission. Information will be provided to you upon admittance to the Bar.
Jobs for Nevada lawyers are available in private practice, law firms, government, corporations, non-profit organizations, and many other settings. There are countless law firms across the state, including civil litigators Prestige Law Group in Northwest Las Vegas, administrative law firm Lionel Sawyer & Collins in Reno, boutique litigation firm Pisanelli Bice PLLC in Las Vegas, and civil litigators Atkin Winner & Sherrod in Las Vegas.
Companies throughout Nevada often hire lawyers in various capacities. Some of the state’s largest companies include NV Energy in Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, Credit One Bank Corporate Office in Las Vegas, Armscor International Inc. in Pahrump, and Impulse Civil Engineering in North Las Vegas.
Legal specialty certification
Under Nevada law, you may list up to three areas of specialization provided that you are properly certified in each specialty by a recognized and approved certification agency. The Nevada Supreme Court automatically approves all organizations approved by the American Bar Association. The most commonly utilized certification agencies for lawyers in Nevada include:
- American Board of Certification (ABC):
- Business Bankruptcy
- Consumer Bankruptcy
- Creditors’ Rights
- American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys:
- Accounting Professional Liability
- Legal Professional Liability
- Medical Professional Liability
- National Elder Law Foundation for Elder Law:
- Elder law
- National Association of Estate Planners and Councils- Estate Law Specialist Board, Inc.:
- Estate Planning Law
- National Board of Trial Advocacy:
- Civil Trial Advocacy
- Criminal Trial Advocacy
- Family Law Trial Advocacy
Requirements for maintaining license
Nevada rules state that you must complete 10 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) each year, with at least two of these hours in ethics. For more information, contact the CLE Department of the Nevada State Bar.
Court Systems in Nevada
The Nevada Judiciary holds the following structure:
- Nevada Supreme Court– the state’s highest court and the court of last resort. All appeals and writs from the Nevada District Court are filed with the Nevada Supreme Court, as there is no intermediate court of appeals in the state. It is located in Carson City.
- Nevada District Courts– the state’s trial court of general jurisdiction, spread out over nine districts across Nevada, civil jurisdiction of $10,000 or more. Districts include:
- 1st: Carson City and Storey County
- 2nd: Washoe County
- 3rd: Churchill and Lyon Counties
- 4th: Elko County
- 5th: Esmeralda, Mineral, and Nye Counties
- 6th: Humboldt, Lander, and Pershing Counties
- 7th: Eureka, Lincoln, and White Pine Counties
- 8th: Clark County
- 9th: Douglas County
- Nevada Justice Courts– 65 Justices of the Peace in 40 Justice Courts statewide have civil jurisdiction up to $10,000. They decide if felony or gross misdemeanor cases have enough evidence to be bound over to District Court for trial.
- Nevada Municipal Courts – 30 judges in 17 municipal courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases, including misdemeanor violations of city ordinances, violations of municipal ordinances, civil claims less than $2500
Elective membership organizations
The following are some elective membership associations for Nevada lawyers that you might consider joining:
- Nevada Justice Association
- Clark County Bar Association
- Washoe County Bar Association
- Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association
- Nevada Legal Services