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Court of Appeals Seeks Additional Comment on Proposed Revised Rule 46

April 18, 2019

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals is soliciting additional comment from D.C. Bar members and other interested parties on amendments to D.C. Court of Appeals Rule 46(c)(4) regarding Bar admission for graduates of non-accredited law schools. Comments are due by close of business on June 17, 2019.

On February 15, 2018, the D.C. Bar Board of Governors voted to approve proposed changes to Rule 46, which the court sent out for public comment on May 31, 2018. After reviewing the responses, the court is now seeking additional comment on revisions that largely track the Bar’s proposal, but with two significant differences regarding specific course requirements and distance-learning allowances.

Under proposed revised Rule 46, graduates from non-ABA-approved law schools, including those outside of the United States, may qualify for admission to the D.C. Bar if they complete 24 credit hours of additional education in a law school approved by the ABA at the time the applicant takes the courses.

The existing Rule 46 requires 26 credit hours of additional study, and for all those credit hours to be concentrated in subjects tested on the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE).

The proposed amended rule revises the list of course subjects, with different requirements depending on whether the law school is located inside or outside of the United States. Graduates of domestic, non-ABA-approved law schools must earn two credit hours in a legal research and writing course.

Graduates of foreign, non-ABA-approved law schools must earn two credit hours each in professional responsibility; United States legal institutions; common law legal reasoning, research, and writing; civil procedure; constitutional law; and an experiential course that complies with the ABA-experiential-course standards. They must also earn six credit hours in subjects tested on the UBE.

The proposed amended rule also allows Bar applicants to earn up to one-third (eight credit hours) of the 24 hours of additional education through distance learning if the courses comply with ABA distance-learning standards.

Comments on the proposed amendments may be submitted electronically to [email protected], or in writing to the Clerk, D.C. Court of Appeals, 430 E Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. All submitted comments will be available to the public. 

View the court’s notice and the proposed revised Rule 46 in full here.