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Utah Bar Admissions

UTAH STATE BAR Bar Operations & Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


The following questions are frequently asked about Utah Bar Admissions. Each of the below questions is linked to the corresponding answer.

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UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW


- What is the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL), and how can I avoid engaging in UPL?

APPLICATION QUESTIONS


- How long will it take to process my application?
- What documents must be uploaded for an application to be considered complete?
- What documents may not be uploaded by the applicant?
- I will not graduate from law school until after the application filing deadline. Can I still file a complete application?
- Where should I send my reference packet?
- The FBI’s website says I should not request an Identity History Summary for employment or licensing purposes. What should I do?
- Where can I go to be fingerprinted for the FBI Background Check?
- Do I need to take a fingerprint card with me to be fingerprinted?
- If I submitted a complete application within the last 2 years, do I need to submit a new application?
- Are internships considered employment?
- I have a copy of my MPRE. May I upload that as proof that I have passed with a score of 86 or above?
- The NCBE only has records of MPRE scores going back to 1999. What should I do if I sat for that exam before 1999?
- Does Utah have an expiration date on MPRE Scores?

LICENSING AND SWEARING IN


- I received notice that my name has been added to the next Motion for Admission (February, May, August, or October). What do I do now?

BAR EXAM QUESTIONS


- Is there a shorter “Attorney Examination” given to those who have been practicing law for a certain number of years?

ADMISSION BY MOTION QUESTIONS


- I am an attorney licensed in another state that does not have reciprocity with Utah. May I be admitted by Motion?
- I am an attorney licensed in another state that does not have reciprocity with Utah. If I am admitted to a state, territory, or the District of Columbia that does have reciprocity with Utah, may I come in by Motion?
- Which jurisdictions are reciprocal with Utah?
- How do I prove that I have worked full time for 60 months out of the last 84 months?

ADMISSION BY UBE TRANSFER QUESTIONS


- What is the time limit on transferring a UBE Score?
- How do I request that my UBE Score be sent to Utah?
- I have not yet taken the Bar Exam but want to transfer by UBE Score to Utah. May I submit an application before I receive my UBE Score?

RECORDS OR SCORE REPORTS


- How do I get a copy of my application?
- How to I obtain an Exam Verification Letter or similar documents?
- How do I get a copy of my MPRE Score or UBE Score?

UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW


What is the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL), and how can I avoid engaging in UPL?

The rule governing the Unauthorized Practice of Law is Rule 5.5Only an attorney who is an active, licensed member of the Bar in good standing may engage in the practice of law in Utah (see Rule 14-802). Unless one of the exceptions below applies, you may not practice law in Utah or you may be engaging in the Unauthorized Practice of Law.

Examples of exceptions:

  1. a specific Utah or federal law expressly permits a person to practice without being licensed in this state, such as an attorney who
    1. practices patent or trademark law under the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO),
    2. qualifies for Registered military legal assistance certification for military lawyers under Rule 14-804, or
    3. qualifies for Pro Bono Authorization for Utah Inactive Attorney sand attorney Admitted in Other States under Rule 14-803.
  2. the attorney is working as House Counsel and has an application pending before the Bar within 6 months of the employment start date (see Rule 14-719).
  3. a Temporary Practice rule applies, such as
    1. Law Student Practice under Rule 14-807,
    2. Admission for Attorney by Pro Hac Vice under Rule 14-806), or
    3. The person has an application pending and the Admissions Office has granted either a
      1. Practice Pending Admission Certificate under Rule 14-809, or
      2. Law Graduate Practice Certificate under Rule 14-807.
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APPLICATION QUESTIONS


How long will it take to process my application? Applications for Admissions take up to 6 months to complete. Incomplete applications will take longer to process. Be sure to review your application carefully for completeness and to upload all required documents.
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What documents must be uploaded for an application to be considered complete?

The list of documents that you are required to upload depends partially on what type of applicant you are and your personal history. Please read the application carefully and use the General Application Checklist as a guide. The following is a list of documents that are required of all applicants. 

  1. Applicant Verification and Acknowledgement signed by applicant and notarized within 60 days of application submission.
  2. Authorization and Release signed by applicant and notarized within 60 days of application submission.
  3. Proof of citizenship (e.g., passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate) or proof of eligibility to work (e.g., Permanent Residence Card, Student Visa). 
  4. Driving record for the past 3 years (document must include the state or jurisdiction's name, be dated, and specifically cover at least the last there years).
  5. FBI Background Check Results, or the FBI Criminal Background Report Declaration if you have sent off the request and are awaiting results. Please remember to upload your results once you receive them.

Attorneys only:

A. Certificate of Good Standing from every jurisdiction where you are admitted. This includes the USPTO and the United States Tax Court

B. Disciplinary history (or its equivalent) from every jurisdiction where you are admitted. This includes the USPTO (a copy of a disciplinary search by name will suffice) and the United States Tax Court. *Please note that every state provides a disciplinary history regardless of whether you have ever had a complaint.

C. Bar complaints, grievances, investigations, etc. regardless of whether they are public or private, or formal or informal. Attorneys are not always notified that a complaint was filed or that an investigation occurred. Before you submit your application, please contact your State Bar to request your disciplinary history to avoid any omission.

Other common documents that you may need to provide (list is not exhaustive and *links are merely a guide to help applicants find necessary documents):

  • Bankruptcy file (or click here) with the entire file with all documents and schedules.
  • Bar complaint documentation including the complaint and the final resolution.
  • Child support and spousal support (alimony) documentation with proof that payment obligations are up to date.
  • Civil court file documentation including pleadings, motions, and final dispositions (State and Federal Court ResourcesNCSC).
  • Criminal court case documentation including final disposition and police reports (State and Federal Court ResourcesNCSC).
  • Current copy of any business or professional license.
  • Debts: documents showing that debts have been paid off.
  • Divorce file including Stipulated Agreement or Decree of Divorce (State and Federal Court Resources; NCSC). 
  • Documentation related to contempt actions (State and Federal Court ResourcesNCSC).
  • Documents related to discipline or an investigation conducted by LSAC, a college, or a law school.
  • Documentation related to failure to comply with court order including a warrant (State and Federal Court ResourcesNCSC).
  • Documentation relevant to action taken against a professional license.
  • Military Documents including DD-214(s) and/or OER(s) or NCOER(s) including current status or discharge papers showing type of discharge. 
  • Tax lien documentation including proof that lien has been lifted or is being addressed from both State and Federal entities.

 

*DISCLAIMER: This webpage includes links to websites created and maintained by other public or private organizations. The Utah State Bar does not endorse the organizations or views represented by outside websites and takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over, the accuracy, accessibility, copyright or trademark compliance or legality of the material contained on these websites. These links are merely a guide to help applicants find necessary documents.

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What documents may not be uploaded by the applicant?

The following documents must be sent directly from the entity providing the information and may not be uploaded by the applicant: 

1. Certificate of Law School Graduation. Please contact your law school and request that this be sent to: colsg@utahbar.org.

2. MPRE score: contact the NCBE and request that your score be sent to the Utah State Bar.

3. UBE score (only for UBE transfer applications): contact the NCBE and request that your score be sent to the Utah State Bar.

4. Six Character References. Each person providing a reference should place it in an envelope, seal it, and then sign their name OVER the seal. They can send the reference to you via mail, drop it off to you, or you may pick it up. You must send all six hard copies together in bulk. You may also drop them off at the Utah Bar. Please contact the front desk to arrange delivery at 801-531-9077.

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I will not graduate from law school until after the application filing deadline. Can I still file a complete application?

Yes. Under Rule 14-707(b)(1), if you have not yet graduated you can still file your application before the deadline. You will need to follow up with your law school to ensure the Certificate of Law School Graduation is received by the Bar at least 30 days before the date of the Bar exam.

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Where should I send my reference packet?

The correct mailing address for hard copies is:

Utah State Bar Admissions
645 South 200 East
Salt Lake City UT 84111

If you plan to drop off your references, please contact the front desk to arrange for delivery at 801-531-9077. 

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The FBI’s website says I should not request an Identity History Summary for employment or licensing purposes. What should I do?

Go ahead and make the request. You are not technically requesting the background check for licensing purposes. Instead, you are requesting it for “Personal Review” and then sharing the results with the Bar.

https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks 

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Where can I go to be fingerprinted for the FBI Background Check?

There are several agencies that may provide fingerprinting services. Please refer to the FBI's Identity History Summary Checks website for the most updated information on where you may go to be fingerprinted. 

  1. The United States Postal Service provides fingerprinting services at certain locations. Please contact the USPS location for more information.
  2. The FBI also has a list of Approved Channelers who have offices all over the U.S. Please note that the fees will vary from agency to agency. 
  3. Your local police department, sheriff's office, or BCI may offer this service. Please contact the office in question to inquire whether it offers fingerprinting services and what is required.
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Do I need to take a fingerprint card with me to be fingerprinted? Ask the agency, company, or USPS location whether they require a fingerprint card. Some agencies electronically submit your fingerprints and send the request directly to the FBI without using a hard copy fingerprint card. If you choose an agency that requires a fingerprint card, please ask the agency whether they provide the card and take a copy of the Instructions for Fingerprint Card form with you. Please note that it may take several weeks for the FBI to return your results. Once you send in your fingerprints, please fill out the FBI Criminal Background Report Declaration (second page of the Instructions for Fingerprint Card) and upload it to your application along with proof that you have sent in the request. Remember to upload your FBI Background Check Results to your application as soon as you receive them. Back to TOP

If I submitted a complete application within the last 2 years, do I need to submit a new application? Yes, but you could submit a Reapplication rather than the full Application. However, some documents have an expiration date. You may need to provide updated documents such as a 3-year driving history, Authorization and Release, etc. Please carefully read the reapplication and the General Application Checklist. Back to TOP

Are internships considered employment? Yes. Include all internships, whether paid or unpaid, in the "Employment History" section of your application.  Back to TOP

I have a copy of my MPRE. May I upload that as proof that I have passed with a score of 86 or above? No. If you took the MPRE in 1999 or after, then you must contact the NCBE and request that your MPRE score be sent directly to Admissions.   Back to TOP

The NCBE only has records of MPRE scores going back to 1999. What should I do if I sat for that exam before 1999?

You will need to search your own records for a copy of the score report and/or contact other jurisdictions to which you have applied to see if they have a record of the score. If they do, they should provide a letter verifying the MPRE score they have on record. If you are unable to find and provide evidence that you have received a score of 86 or above on the MPRE, you will need to retake the exam.

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Does Utah have an expiration date on MPRE Scores? No. Utah will accept your MPRE Score of at least 86 as long as it can be verified by the NCBE. Please contact the NCBE to request your score be sent directly to the Utah State Bar. Back to TOP

LICENSING AND SWEARING IN


I received notice that my name has been added to the next Motion for Admission (February, May, August, or October). What do I do now?

There are still several steps that the Motion for Admission list must go through before the applicant may be sworn in by the Utah Supreme Court. There are 4 Motions each year per: February, May, August, and October (Rule 14-716).

  1. The Admissions Office finalizes the Motion for Admission list the month prior to the Swearing-In Ceremony. For example, the February Motion for Admission list is finalized in January.
  2. The Motion list is sent to the Licensing Department for payment of Licensing dues. Admittees will receive an email from Licensing about where and how to pay licensing fees and the final deadline (a period of approximately 10 days). If you miss this deadline, your name will not be included on the Motion, and you will need to wait until the following Motion to pay your Licensing dues and be sworn in. If you have not yet received the email from Licensing, please check your spam folder for an email from licensing@utahbar.org.
  3. Once the Licensing payment period has closed, the Motion list is sent on to the Utah State Bar Commissioners for approval. 
  4. The Commissioners then send the approved Motion list to the Utah Supreme Court for the Court's approval.
  5. The Utah Supreme Court then schedules the Swearing-In Ceremony for the admittees on their approved Motion list. The Court will contact admittees about the Ceremony including the date, time, and location.
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BAR EXAM QUESTIONS


Is there a shorter “Attorney Examination” given to those who have been practicing law for a certain number of years?

No, Utah does not have an “Attorney Examination.” All exam applicants take the same test.

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ADMISSION BY MOTION QUESTIONS


I am an attorney licensed in another state that does not have reciprocity with Utah. May I be admitted by Motion?

Unfortunately, no. If your state does not allow attorneys barred in Utah to be admitted by Motion, then Utah will not allow you to be admitted by Motion regardless of how long you have practiced.

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I am an attorney licensed in another state that does not have reciprocity with Utah. If I am admitted to a state, territory, or the District of Columbia that does have reciprocity with Utah, may I come in by Motion? The qualifications for Admission by Motion (Reciprocity) are found in Rule 14-705. You must be actively working full time for the prescribed time in that specific state, territory, or the District of Columbia that has reciprocity with Utah.  Back to TOP

Which jurisdictions are reciprocal with Utah?

Click here for a list of reciprocal jurisdictions.

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How do I prove that I have worked full time for 60 months out of the last 84 months?

There are various ways to prove by clear and convincing evidence that you meet the requirement that you have worked full time as an attorney for at least 60 months out of the last 84 months. This might include an employer verification letter (notarized), tax returns covering at least 5 of the last 7 years, billing hours, or other documentation sufficient to prove that the time requirement has been met. For Motion/Reciprocity Applicants under Rule 14-705, please fill out and upload the Active Practice Questionnaire - Motion/Reciprocity Applicants.


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ADMISSION BY UBE TRANSFER QUESTIONS


What is the time limit on transferring a UBE Score?

UBE Scores of 270 or above are transferable for up to 5 years from the date that the applicant sat for the Bar Exam (NOT the date the score was released or the date of admission in another jurisdiction). 

There are two ways to be admitted by UBE Transfer. Please see Rule 14-712

  • Under subsection (c)(1), "the UBE score is transferable only if the application is filed within 36 months of the administration the UBE in which the passing score was earned." 
  • Under subsection (c)(2), the UBE score is transferrable for up to 5 years of the administration of the Bar Exam, but the applicant must prove by clear and convincing evidence that she or he has "been admitted to another U.S. state, territory, or the District of Columbia and has been engaged in the Full-time Practice of Law as defined in Rule 14-701 for at least one-half of the time period since the score was earned." This proof might be in the form of an employer verification (notarized), tax returns covering the time period, billing hours, or other documentation sufficient to prove that the time requirement has been met. 

Please fill out the UBE Transfer Questionnaire and upload it with any necessary documentation. Please also see Rule 14-703 Qualifications for admission of Student Applicants, and Rule 14-704 Qualifications for admission of Attorney Applicants.

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How do I request that my UBE Score be sent to Utah? The NCBE holds all UBE Score records. Please contact the NCBE to request that your UBE Score be sent directly to Utah.  Back to TOP

I have not yet taken the Bar Exam but want to transfer by UBE Score to Utah. May I submit an application before I receive my UBE Score? Yes. Under Rule 14-712, the Utah State Bar must receive your "UBE Score [of at least 270] no later than nine months after the filing of the application" (emphasis added). Please note that if an applicant submits an application but fails to pass the intended Bar Exam, she or he may not have enough time to retake the following Bar Exam and submit a passing score in time to meet the 9-month deadline. The applicant would instead need to fill out a new application and pay a new application fee. With this in mind, please pick your application submission date carefully.  Back to TOP

RECORDS OR SCORE REPORTS


How do I get a copy of my application? Admissions only retains applications for 5 years. If you are not able to access your application online, you may purchase a copy for a $25 administrative fee. Admissions strongly recommends that you print off a copy of your complete application for your own records.
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How to I obtain an Exam Verification Letter or similar documents? You may purchase the verification letter for a $25 administrative fee. To Request an Exam Verification letter or similar verification letter, please contact the Admissions Office at 801-297-7058. Please note that because the NCBE keeps MPRE Scores back to 1999,  Admissions will only supply an MPRE Verification Letter for scores before 1999. You should also contact the NCBE to obtain a UBE Score. Back to TOP

How do I get a copy of my MPRE Score or UBE Score? If you need a copy of one of your Score Reports, you will need to contact the NCBE to request your score. For MPRE Scores before 1999, please contact Admissions.
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