Instructions to Applicants and Orientation Information Regarding Admission to the Alaska Bar Association Without Examination
The following instructions are, for the most part, condensed from Part I of the Alaska Bar Rules, Rules 1 through 8 inclusive. The Alaska Bar Rules can be found on the Alaska Court System website. We suggest you thoroughly acquaint yourself with both the content of these instructions and the Rules themselves before completing and submitting an application to seek admission without examination to the practice of law in Alaska, and membership in the Alaska Bar Association.
Section 2 of Alaska Bar Rule 2 sets forth the attorney applicant criteria for admission without examination (i.e., "on motion"). Applicants applying for admission on motion should note that in order to qualify, the applicant must 1) have passed a written bar examination in a reciprocal state, territory or D.C.; and 2) have engaged in the active practice of law in one or more states, territories or D.C. for five of the previous seven years.
All persons seeking admission on motion to the practice of law in Alaska must complete and file an "Application for Admission Without Examination" with the office of the Alaska Bar Association in Anchorage, Alaska.
Applications which are not substantially complete when filed will be rejected. Consequently, applicants are urged to read each question carefully and to answer all questions. Questions seeking information concerning dates and addresses should be answered with exact dates and current, complete mailing addresses, including the street name and/or post office box number, city, state, and zip code of any individual or entity provided on the application. Because applicants frequently fail to fully answer each question, we suggest that you thoroughly review your answers before formally filing the application with the Bar, making sure that the requested names and addresses have been included. The application must be typewritten and sworn to by the applicant.
Each attorney applicant must include with the application:
- An application fee in the amount of $1,500.
- Two passport size photographs of the applicant, showing a front view of head and shoulders (larger photos are acceptable).
- One properly completed fingerprint card, as provided in the application packet. Please include your driver’s license number in the box marked "Miscellaneous No."
- A certificate from the applicant’s law school, certifying that the applicant meets the educational requirements of Alaska Bar Rule 2.
- From each jurisdiction to which the applicant is admitted, a certificate from the admitting authority in that state, territory, or the District of Columbia, which states the current membership status of the applicant in that jurisdiction (e.g., active, inactive) and, in addition, from at least one of the jurisdictions in which admitted, certification that the applicant passed the written bar examination required by that authority prior to admission.
- At least three affidavits from former employers, clients, associates, or other attorneys, which will establish that the applicant has engaged in the active practice of law for five of the seven years immediately preceding the date of application for admission to the Alaska Bar (see the definition of "active practice" in Section 2(c) of Bar Rule 2.) The affidavits must be notarized.
Note: The affidavits are distinct from, and are in addition to, the character & fitness forms for employment verification and references which must be submitted by the applicant to the Bar, which sends the forms directly to the employers for completion.
- One properly executed Authorization and Release form, as provided in the application packet.
Any application received without payment of the required fees, or which is not substantially complete, will be promptly returned to the applicant with a notice stating the reasons for rejection.
Resident aliens must file with their application, in addition to the above, an appropriate affidavit specifying sufficient facts to enable the Alaska Bar Association to verify their status with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Application Deadlines - An application for admission without examination may be filed at any time. Once a complete application has been received, the application will be processed, including the required character investigation. Please note: the character investigation process takes at least 3 to 4 months. Once the character investigation is complete and the responses to all requests for verification are received, the application will be presented to the Board of Governors at their next regularly scheduled meeting. The Board will either recommend certification for admission or not, to the Alaska Supreme Court.
Character Investigation - The Alaska Bar Association’s character investigation of attorney applicants with at least five years of active practice is necessarily a complex process. In view of the increased potential for disciplinary action or malpractice suits against the practicing attorney, the Board of Governors is particularly concerned with verification of the attorney applicant’s fitness to practice law. In proposing the admission without examination rule to the Court, the Alaska Bar Association accepted responsibility for a thorough character investigation of attorney applicants, to assure Alaska’s citizenry that qualified attorneys were being admitted under Alaska’s reciprocity rule.
Therefore, once an application is completed and filed with the Alaska Bar, the applicant has an ongoing responsibility to update that application, so that the information provided to the Bar concerning the applicant is both current and accurate. The Association must be promptly notified of any change in circumstance relevant to the application for admission. This notification must be in writing and, where applicable, provide a detailed explanation of the amendment(s) to the application.
The requirement that an applicant notify the Association of any changes which occur subsequent to the filing of an application includes, but is not limited to: any change in a residence or business address, telephone number, employment situation, or attorney membership status; any disciplinary action filed in another jurisdiction; any involvement in a criminal proceeding; or the recurrence or development of an emotional or physical disability or illness that would have a bearing on the applicant’s fitness to practice law.
Applicants should know, after filing the application, that failure to disclose a change in circumstance relevant to the information originally requested on the application shall be considered sufficient cause to deny admission, especially where that information might well be perceived as adversely reflecting on the applicant’s fitness to practice law, and when that information is brought to the attention of the Board of Governors through a source other than the applicant or is discovered as a part of the Bar’s character investigation. If, however, the information comes to light after admission itself, the failure to disclose and amend the application shall be grounds for discipline, which may include suspension or disbarment. In either instance, a hearing may be scheduled on the matter as it reflects on the applicant’s good moral character or fitness to practice law.
Withdrawals and Refunds - An administrative fee of $50 will be withheld if the application is denied because the applicant fails to demonstrate his or her eligibility for admission on motion; or if the applicant withdraws the application before the character investigation is commenced.
An administrative fee of $175 will be withheld if the application is denied on the basis of character; or if the applicant withdraws the application after the character investigation is commenced.
Notification of Admission - Upon Board certification to the Alaska Supreme Court of an attorney applicant’s eligibility for admission, the Alaska Bar Association will so notify the attorney applicant and provide him or her with the paperwork necessary to be sworn in as a member of the Bar. Please note, however, that one of the requirements of admission is proof of passage of the MPRE (see below). An attorney applicant must take and pass the MPRE before he or she can be sworn in.
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) - Given the fundamental importance of attorney ethics, the Board of Governors, with the concurrence of the Alaska Supreme Court, has determined that all applicants to the Alaska Bar should be examined on the provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The purpose of the MPRE is to ensure that persons admitted to the Alaska Bar are prepared to cope with the ethical problems attorneys encounter in the practice of law. Passage of the MPRE with a scaled score of 80 or higher is a requirement of admission. The MPRE is administered separately three times a year (March, August, November) by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) in cooperation with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
The MPRE is a short, two hour exam consisting of fifty (50) multiple choice questions. A scaled score of 80 or higher has been set by the Bar’s Board of Governors as demonstrating adequate awareness of the principles of the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Code of Judicial Conduct. Test dates and registration information can be found at the NCBE website. The MPRE is administered in virtually every jurisdiction and may be taken by the attorney applicant at any location so long as the applicant requests that his or her score be sent directly to the Alaska Bar.
Requirements for Admission to Practice - Alaska Bar Rule 5(a) sets forth the requirements for admission. The Rule requires that an applicant must:
- Have passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE);
- Attend a course on attorney ethics as prescribed by the Board;
- File an affidavit of review with the Alaska Bar Association that he or she has read and is familiar with the Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct (ARPC) in accordance with Alaska Bar Rule 64;
- Be found by the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar to meet the standard of character and fitness as required by Alaska Bar Rule 2(1)(d);
- Pay pro-rated active membership fees for that portion of the calendar year remaining at time of admission;
- Complete the registration paperwork; and
- Swear to the Oath of Attorney prescribed in Section 3 of Alaska Bar Rule 5.
Once eligible for admission, an attorney applicant must be sworn in within sixty (60) days or be deemed to have abandoned his or her application.
Notification of Address Change - Because of the lack of a residency or domicile requirement in Alaska, and because of the particular vagaries of the mail system in Alaska, the staff of the Alaska Bar is concerned that attorney applicants residing "Outside" Alaska may not receive important communications from the Alaska Bar in a timely fashion. In that regard, please take careful note of subsection (h) of Section 1 of Alaska Bar Rule 1, which defines "Receipt of Written Notice."
It is of utmost importance that the Alaska Bar Association be immediately notified of any changes in your address of record.
Who to Contact for Information - Please do not hesitate to contact the Alaska Bar if you need help or if there is a subject which as not been addressed to your satisfaction in these instructions.
Alaska Bar Association
840 K Street, Suite 100
P.O. Box 100279
Anchorage, AK 99510-0279
Phone: (907) 272-7469
Fax: (907) 272-2932