There are several ways of obtaining a law license in Colorado. Certification is provided by the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.
Although a limited license is possible, I will first discuss how to get a regular full license. Below that, I will include info on Colorado limited attorney licenses.
The main routes to qualify for a license in Colorado are to graduate from law school and then take either the Colorado Bar Examination or submit scores of a Uniform Bar Examination that was taken in another state. Certain applicants can get a license via an “on-motion” process.
Like all states, you will also have to pass a background check. This is referred to in Colorado as a “character and fitness investigation.” You may be able to get a license with a criminal record. But this is decided on a per-applicant basis. So there aren’t really any hard and fast rules about what criminal records will cause your application for a Colorado lawyer’s license to be rejected.
You also need to fill out an online application. This is long, so you create an account and can save your work and finish it on your own time. The link below was correct at the time of this post. That link could possibly change in the future. The second link is the home page for the Office of the Attorney Regulation Counsel. So if the first link below changes, you should check the Office’s website for the current application link.
The Colorado exam is the UBE. It has 3 parts that are the same as other states that also administer the UBE. A scaled score of 276 out of 400 is required at the time of this article to pass. In February of 2016, 61 percent of the test takers passed.
If you want to apply based on a UBE score transfer, you must have passed a test that was given within 3 years before your application date. However, if you have been a practicing licensed attorney in the 2 years before your application date, your UBE score can be up to 5 years old.
Some people cannot transfer a UBE score because their original state does not administer the UBE. So these applicants may be forced to take the Colorado Bar Exam to get a license in this state even if they passed a different test. Even if you pass the bar exam or apply via UBE score transfer, you must also pass the MPRE and attend a professionalism course.
Some practicing lawyers from out of state can get a Colorado license “on motion.” However, this only applies when the applicant is a practicing lawyer in good standing and has practiced for at least 3 of the 5 years preceding the Colorado license application. And you must have graduated from an ABA-accredited school. Also, you need a passing score on the MPRE within 2 years before your application date. Like other applicants, completion of a professionalism course is also required.
The following limited license allow for the temporary practice of law in various capacities: pro bono certification, law student practice, practice pending admission, pro hac vice, single client, foreign legal consultant, judge advocate, law professor certification, and military spouse certification. The MPRE is not required for these temporary licenses. Refer to Rule 204 to learn more about how to qualify for any of these limited licenses.