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Supreme Court adopts updated rules, streamlines attorney admission process

TOPEKA— The Kansas Supreme Court has adopted updated rules governing attorney admissions, paving the way for a streamlined process that includes an online application for people seeking admission to the Kansas bar, a restricted license, or an intern permit.  

Chief Justice Marla Luckert signed Administrative Order 2022-RL-055 adopting Supreme Court Rules 700-726 and repealing Rules 701-723. The order follows an extensive review and overhaul of the rules and a public comment period.  

The updated rules were generally restyled to match other court rules, and they were also reordered to better match how an application moves through the admissions process. Amendments also removed outdated requirements and codified existing practices. 

The process to update the rules was taking place at the same time a new online attorney admissions application was being developed. The online application replaces a paper-driven process for applicants seeking admission to the Kansas bar, a restricted license, or a legal intern permit.  

The new online application is in testing and should be ready for full use ahead of the October 1 filing deadline for the February 2023 bar exam. It will allow for more electronic communication, including sending character reference forms by email directly from the system. 
Other substantive changes in the updated rules: 

  • eliminate outdated provisions that precluded admission based on an applicant's failure to achieve a passing score on a prior bar examination, imposed a limit on the number of times an applicant could take the bar examination, and required termination of a single-employer restricted license when an applicant did not receive a passing score on the bar examination;  

  • allow an applicant for admission by examination to take the bar examination while the applicant’s character and fitness investigation is still pending; 

  • increase the timeframe for an applicant to apply for admission by Uniform Bar Examination score transfer from 36 months to 60 months;  

  • make the unauthorized practice of law a consideration during a character and fitness investigation instead of an absolute bar to admission by reciprocity; and 

  • clarify the standard of review during a character and fitness hearing. 

The updated rules take effect July 1.