I will define “foreign lawyer” to be either:
– a graduate of a non-U.S. law school (including Canadian law school graduates); or
– a person who is licensed to practise law outside the U.S.
In light of NAFTA and a “global economy”, admission to U.S. state bars is becoming more and more attractive. A number of Canadian law firms have offices in New York. Some of these Canadian law firms practise only Canadian law in the U.S. (foreign legal consultants) and some also practise U.S. law (Torys would be an example). This may have some bearing on the issue of joint LL.B./J.D. programs. On this point see:
Globalization Of The Legal Profession
As the world becomes more and more interconnected, lawyers will find themselves practising law and/or giving legal advice outside their home jurisdictions.
For the synopsis of a lecture exploring this topic see:
In either case the goal is to be admitted to the relevant state bar. In order to be admitted to the bar one must (in most cases) pass the bar exam. In order to pass the bar exam, one must be eligible to take the bar exam.
A general source of information about this issue is the ABA site which is at:
A graduate of any U.S. ABA approved law school is eligible to take the bar exam in any U.S. state.
At the present time the U.S. states of New York and Massachusetts (and perhaps others) allow graduates of Canadian law schools to take their bar exams. Some states may allow those who are admitted to the bar in other countries to take their bar exams. Obviously these rules are subject to rapid change. Keep your eyes on the rules!
For a very interesting and recent account of a Canadian lawyer passing the Arizona bar exam see the following: