Follow the step by step process or choose what situation that best describes you:
Vermont provides a unique environment in which lawyers can practice. First, it is one of the only states that do not have an intermediate appellate court. All appeals are handled directly by the Vermont Supreme Court. Secondly, Vermont’s immigration lawyers handle many cases having to do with immigration to and from Canada. Third, Vermont lawyers become involved in the state’s numerous environmental issues, so many that the state’s court system has its own Environmental Division to handle such issues. Vermont is not only an interesting state in which to practice law, but it is also a lucrative one. In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor reported that lawyers in Vermont averaged earnings of $105,900 per year. If you would like to become a lawyer in the Green Mountain state, read on.
The Vermont Board of Bar Examiners requires that, before you attend law school, you must have completed at least three-quarters of the credits required to obtain a bachelor’s degree. If you desire to attend a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), you must obtain a
Your undergraduate institution must be accredited by an entity recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Requirements and Standards
There are no mandates on courses that you must take during your undergraduate education. The ABA recommends that you embark on a course of study that challenges and interests you, above all. If you elect to take coursework in areas such as philosophy, political science, communications, economics and business, you may find that having a background in these subjects will help you more than others when you reach law school.
Vermont Undergrad Degree Options
You must have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Sciences (BS) under ABA rules prior to entering law school. The major of your bachelor’s degree does not matter. However, some students have found that undergraduate majors taken from the above-listed subject areas help them more in law school.
Step 2 on your way to becoming a Vermont lawyer is to pass the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). A passing score on this exam is vital to admission to any ABA-accredited law school in the country.
How to prepare
Free study help is available at the LSAT website, provided by its sponsor, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Other exam preparation resources in Vermont include:
LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Vermont:
The following abilities will be tested when you take the LSAT:
Apply online with the Law School Admission Council to take the LSAT, which is given in November, January, March, June and July, on Mondays and Saturdays. Vermont examination centers where you can take the LSAT include:
Receiving Your Score
You will receive your LSAT score, which will be between 120 and 180, in three weeks via US postal mail. Vermont Law School, the only ABA-approved law school in the state, typically accepts students with an average LSAT score of 154.
Step 3 in the process of becoming a Vermont lawyer is to apply to the ABA-approved law school of your choice. Any ABA-approved law school nationwide, not just those in Vermont, apply. A complete listing of these schools is found in the LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools.
Credential Assembly Service
All ABA-approved law schools require that you use the Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) when you apply for admission. It helps you in gathering all undergraduate and graduate transcripts from college credits you have completed up to this point, as well as gathering letters of recommendation, evaluations, and other documentation necessary when you apply to law school. The CAS centralizes all of this information and creates law school reports for each school to which you apply (up to a total of five). It will apply electronically to these schools for you. The fee you pay the LSAC for this service covers these electronic applications as well.
The Vermont Board of Bar Examiners requires that you graduate from an ABA-approved law school before taking the bar exam. Exceptions may be made, which will be covered in Step 4.
ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Vermont
Just one law school in Vermont has ABA accreditation:
The following subjects are tested on the Vermont bar exam and should be studied in law school:
Online Law Degrees
You must have a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an ABA-approved law school to be admitted to the Vermont Bar. See below for exceptions if you graduated from a non-ABA approved law school or from a law school outside of the United States.
When you have completed all work necessary for graduation with your JD degree (even if you have not yet received your degree), you may take the Vermont bar examination.
You must be a US citizen, at least 18 years of age, be of good moral character, and have completed at least three-quarters of the work for a bachelor’s degree, in addition to having completed work for a JD degree, prior to taking the Vermont bar examination.
Non-ABA approved law school graduates
There are a few options to fulfilling the legal education requirement necessary to sit for the Vermont bar exam if you did not graduate from an ABA-approved law school:
Graduates of Foreign Law Schools
If you are a graduate of a foreign law school and already admitted to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction, you may be admitted on motion to the Vermont bar (without taking the Vermont bar exam).
If you are a graduate of a foreign law school, the Board must find that your education is equivalent to a Vermont law school education. It may ask you to pursue the study of law in Vermont for at least two years before taking the state’s bar exam, under the supervision of a Vermont lawyer who has at least three years of experience.
Vermont administers the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Study help for the three parts of this exam can be found at the National Conference of Bar Examiners website. These include the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). More help in preparing for the Vermont bar exam is available through:
Vermont’s bar exam consists of the 200 multiple-choice question MBI, the performance and skills-based MPT, and essay questions. Subjects that you may encounter on the Vermont bar exam include:
The Vermont Bar exam is given the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier. To begin the application process to take the Vermont bar exam, you must first apply online with the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). This entails completing the NCBE Standard Character and Fitness Electronic Application. Once completed, the Vermont-specific Bar Exam Application will be made available to you by the Vermont Board of Bar Examiners.
Deadlines for applications are December 1 for the February bar exam and May 1 for the July bar exam. The application fee is $300, and there is an additional fee of $50 if you want to use your own laptop for the exam.
You should receive your Vermont bar exam scores by mail six to eight weeks after taking the exam.
The Vermont Board of Bar Examiners posted the following results for past bar exams:
July 2018: 70% overall pass rate
Feb 2018: 65%
July 2017: 62%
July 2016: 66%
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
You must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) with a scaled score of at least 80. This must be achieved within seven years of passing the Vermont bar exam.
Admission Without Examination
If you are already a licensed lawyer in another state, you may be admitted to the Vermont bar without taking the bar exam. You must meet one of the following requirements:
Complete the Petition for Admission Without Examination.
Licensing and Admission to the Bar
Once you have passed the bar exam, you will be given instructions on when and where to report for your formal swearing-in ceremony. Here, you will be formally admitted to the Vermont bar. The Vermont Supreme Court sets the date of admission ceremonies. Usually they are held four times yearly, in March, May or June, September, and November or December.
Congratulations on passing the Vermont bar examination! You are now a member of the state bar and licensed to practice law in Vermont! There are requirements you must fulfill during your first year of practice. One of the requirements you must fulfill as a new Vermont lawyer is to complete the mentorship program. You must be mentored for your first year of practice by a judge or an experienced Vermont lawyer. You must also perform certain legal tasks or attend functions during this mentorship period.
Additionally, you must complete 15 hours of continuing legal education on Vermont practice and procedure. At least six of these hours must be earned through attending live courses.
The Vermont Bar Association is a voluntary organization that you should seriously consider joining. It offers discount continuing legal education programs, networking opportunities, a lawyer referral service, case research services, free publications, advocacy, and more for Vermont lawyers.
Existing law firms in the state that may hire new attorneys from time to time include civil trial lawyers Affolter Gannon Law in Essex Junction; workers compensation lawyers Biggam, Fox & Skinner in Burlington; finance and environmental law firm Burak Anderson & Melloni in Burlington; real estate and banking lawyers Kenlan, Schwiebert, Facey & Goss in Rutland; and bankruptcy law firm Obuchowski & Emens-Butler in Bethel.
Although Vermont houses no Fortune 500 companies, it is home to some major corporate players who might be in need of legal counsel at some time. These include ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s in Burlington; retail and mail order specialists Orvis in Manchester; Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Waterbury; retailers Vermont Country Store in Manchester, Weston and Rockingham; and granite company Rock of Ages Corporation in Graniteville.
Other opportunities for Vermont lawyers may exist within federal, state and local government. A recent scan of the classifieds revealed positions available for lawyers in agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security in Essex; the Vermont Legislative Council in Montpelier; the State of Vermont in Springfield; and the Vermont Public Service Board in Montpelier.
Legal specialty certification
Vermont does not offer its own certification program for those who wish to specialize in legal practice areas. However, it does recognize independent certification programs for specialties in Business Bankruptcy, Civil Trial Advocacy, Consumer Bankruptcy, Creditors' Rights, Criminal Law Trial Advocacy, DUI Defense, Elder Law, Estate Planning Law, Family Law Trial Advocacy, Juvenile Law - Child Welfare, Legal Professional Liability, Medical Professional Liability, and Social Security Disability. Contact the Vermont Bar Association at (802) 223-2020 for more information.
Requirements for maintaining license
In order to maintain your license to practice law in Vermont, you must complete 20 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) every two years. This must include two hours of ethics and two hours of professionalism. Up to 10 hours of this MCLE may be earned through self-study. Consult the Vermont Judiciary for more information on CLE regulations and requirements.
Court Systems in Vermont
The Vermont Court System consists of the following:
Elective membership organizations
The following are a few membership and nonprofit organizations for Vermont attorneys, in which you might wish to become active:
Lawyer Career Specialties
|VT Active Lawyers||2,166|
|Average Annual Wage||$93,750|