Find out all you need to know about practising in Texas
The Legal Profession:
There are approximately 70,000 practising lawyers in Texas.
The Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Texas adopted by the Supreme Court of Texas are available online.
The State Bar requires that every attorney completes fifteen hours of continuing legal education each year to maintain an active law license.
Regulation of legal profession:
The State Bar of Texas regulates the profession. It is an administrative agency of the judicial branch of the Texas Supreme Court. Every attorney licensed to practice law in Texas is a member of the State Bar, making it the fifth largest organisation of lawyers in the United States.
Attorney licenses are issued after the Board of Law Examiners has certified to the Supreme Court that applicants have passed the bar exam or otherwise are eligible for bar membership.
The State Bar administers the disciplinary system to ensure that members of the legal profession comply with ethical standards prescribed by the Supreme Court.
The general requirements for admission are found in Rule II of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Texas. The Texas Board of Law Examiners provides guidance for qualified foreign lawyers online.
Foreign lawyers must demonstrate that the legal education that they have received is the substantial equivalent of the education provided by an ABA-approved law school. Applicants must submit proof of their educational qualifications to a professional credential evaluation service.
Information for lawyers who received their legal education outside of the United States and who wish to requalify in Texas is available online.
Foreign legal consultants:
An alternative route for foreign lawyers to practice in Texas is available via a Foreign Legal Consultant license which permits foreign lawyers restricted legal practice within the State on the basis of their home country qualifications and experience.
Foreign Legal Consultants are subject to certain restrictions:
- they cannot provide legal advice on the law of the State of Texas nor on the laws of the USA;
- they cannot appear in court as an attorney for anyone other than himself or herself;
- they cannot hold himself or herself out as a licensed Texas attorney.
- There are also restrictions on the type of work a Foreign Legal Consultant may do, mainly relating to property, probate and family law, and on the name or title of his or her practice.
The Supreme Court may issue a license to practice as an Foreign Legal Consultant to lawyers who:
- are a member in good standing of a recognised legal profession in a foreign country;
- who are admitted to practice as an attorney or equivalent and subject to effective regulation and discipline by a duly constituted professional body or public authority;
- who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least three of the five years immediately preceding the application;
- possesses the good moral character and general fitness requisite for a member of the Texas Bar;
- is at least twenty-six (26) years of age;
- who intends to practice as a legal consultant in the State of Texas and maintain an office for this purpose.
The State of Texas is conducting a review on whether it should introduce rules on the temporary practice of Foreign Legal Consultants in the state.