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Can you get a job in a LA biglaw firm before clearing the CA bar exam?

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					                      THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF LEGAL JOBS ON EARTH




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Legal Career Q & A



Can you get a job in a LA biglaw firm before clearing the CA bar exam?

by Liz Hudson


Question:


I’m a third year associate currently practicing in New York but I’d like to make a move to Los Angeles.
What are my chances of finding a position with a large law firm before I take the California bar exam?




                      Answer:                                   law firm without the bar than someone who has a more
                                                                commonly found focus, such as commercial litigation.
                      In general, firms in California
                      are very particular about hiring          Second, is it possible for you to sit for the bar exam
                      candidates who have already               before applying for jobs? I’ve had success with
                      been admitted to the CA bar. In           candidates who, although not yet admitted to the bar,
                      my experience, they are stricter          have at least already taken the exam. When speaking
                      about this policy than any other          with law firms I’m able to tell them that the candidate
                      state and that is likely due to           is awaiting results. While they are not yet admitted
                      a combination of California not           obviously, it shows that this candidate is dedicated to
                      having reciprocity with any state         moving to California (and not just throwing darts on a
at any level of practice, as well as California being a         map) and it also means that by the time the candidate
very desirable place for attorneys to work.                     interviews and gets an offer, they will likely already
                                                                have their results in hand.
That said, there are a few things to consider if you
have not yet been admitted to the CA bar. First, what is        This is not meant to discourage you from exploring job
your practice area? Typically it will be most difficult for     opportunities in California but rather to prepare you for
litigators to find a job in California without admission        some hurdles you may face. If at all possible, go ahead
to the bar whereas some transactional positions will            and register for the exam and try to at least have taken
be more lenient. Additionally, if you have a more niche         the test before applying to jobs. If you have specific
practice such as capital markets or real estate, you are        questions about your own job search, I’d love to be of
more likely to have a chance at a job with a California         assistance!




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