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Becoming a D.C. Lawyer without Law School Through Attorney Apprenticeship Program

As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, Washington, D.C. does not have a specific "3-year admission" process that allows you to become a lawyer without attending law school. However, D.C. does have an alternative path to become a lawyer called the "D.C. Law Clerk Program." This program allows individuals to work in a legal capacity under the supervision of a licensed attorney while studying law and preparing for the bar exam. If you are already working as in-house counsel, this program may be relevant to you.

Here's how the D.C. Law Clerk Program generally works:

1. **Eligibility:** To be eligible for the D.C. Law Clerk Program, you typically need to meet certain educational and experience requirements. This might include having completed a significant amount of legal education, such as earning a J.D. from a foreign law school or completing substantial legal coursework.

2. **Find a Supervising Attorney:** You need to secure a position as a law clerk under the supervision of a licensed attorney in Washington, D.C. This attorney will be responsible for overseeing your legal work and guiding your legal education.

3. **Work and Study:** As a law clerk, you will engage in legal work under the guidance of your supervising attorney. At the same time, you will study and prepare for the bar exam. This might involve self-study, attending bar review courses, and participating in educational programs.

4. **Bar Exam:** After completing the required legal education and study, you can apply to take the Washington, D.C. bar exam. Passing the bar exam is a crucial step toward becoming a licensed attorney in D.C.

5. **Character and Fitness Review:** Just like traditional law school graduates, you will need to undergo a character and fitness review as part of the bar admission process. This review ensures that you meet the ethical and professional standards required for practicing law.

6. **Admission:** If you pass the bar exam and successfully complete the character and fitness review, you can apply for admission to the D.C. Bar. Once admitted, you will be a licensed attorney in Washington, D.C.

It's important to note that the process and requirements can change, and my information might be outdated. Therefore, I strongly recommend checking with the District of Columbia Bar or relevant legal authorities for the most current and accurate information about the D.C. Law Clerk Program and any other alternative pathways to becoming a lawyer in Washington, D.C.

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