Out-of-State or Foreign Lawyers

The State Bar of Michigan (SBM) has no role in determining an out-of-state or foreign lawyer's eligibility for admission without examination. The Michigan State Board of Law Examiners (BLE) is the entity authorized by the Supreme Court of Michigan to certify admission to the SBM.

The following is a general summary. For the most up-to-date information on the BLE's rules, statutes, and policy statements, visit the website for the BLE.

Admission With or Without Examination

Lawyers licensed to practice in another state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia seeking to determine eligibility for admission to the SBM without examination should contact the BLE. Click here to go to the application and instructions for admission without examination. BLE Rule 5(A) regarding admission without examination can be found here. For additional information regarding this process and the requirements, contact the BLE by e-mail at BLE-Info@courts.mi.gov or by phone at (517) 373-4453.

Foreign lawyers do not qualify for admission without examination under BLE Rule 5(A). Foreign lawyers seeking admission by examination to the SBM should review BLE Rule 2 found here, noting specifically the degree requirement. For additional information regarding this process and the requirements, contact the BLE by e-mail at BLE-Info@courts.mi.gov or by phone at (517) 373-4453.

In-House Counsel

Lawyers admitted to practice in another state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia and not disbarred or suspended in the jurisdiction where admitted may serve as in-house counsel in Michigan without being admitted to the SBM as provided under Rule 5.5(d) of the Michigan Rule of Professional Conduct (MRPC). View Rule 5.5(d).

It is important to note that MRPC 5.5(d) does not authorize a lawyer admitted to practice in another state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia who is serving as in-house counsel in Michigan to appear and practice in state or federal courts in Michigan, nor does it permit the provision of legal services to any client other than the lawyer's employer or its organizational affiliates.

Foreign lawyers are not eligible to practice under MRPC 5.5(d).

Special Certificate

A lawyer admitted to practice in another state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, who intends to practice law in an institutional setting such as in-house counsel or as an instructor in a law school, may be eligible for a "special certificate," which limits the lawyer's practice in Michigan to representation of the employing institution or organization. View BLE Rule 5(D) regarding the requirements for admission without examination to obtain a special certificate of qualification to practice law. Because BLE Rule 5(D) requires compliance with the requirements of BLE Rule 5(A)(1)-(4) and (B), applicants for special certificates must use the application for admission without examination. Click here to go to the application and instructions for admission without examination. For additional information regarding the application or eligibility requirements for this status, contact the BLE by e-mail at BLE-Info@courts.mi.gov or by phone at (517) 373-4453.

Foreign lawyers who are unable to meet the eligibility requirements of BLE Rule 5(A) do not qualify for a special certificate.

Special Legal Consultant

A lawyer admitted to practice in a foreign country may qualify for admission without examination to the SBM to practice as a "special legal consultant." A special legal consultant is only authorized to render professional legal advice on the law of the foreign country where the legal consultant is admitted to practice. A special legal consultant is not authorized to advise clients about Michigan law or to practice in Michigan state courts. BLE Rule 5(E) regarding the requirements for admission without examination to practice as a special legal consultant can be found here. For additional information regarding the application or eligibility requirements for this status, contact the BLE by e-mail at BLE-Info@courts.mi.gov or by phone at (517) 373-4453.