Frequently Asked Questions

How do I waive in through Reciprocity/Comity?

Reciprocity is administered by the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners.

New Admission Without Examination Rule effective February 1, 2014.

How do I register to take the Bar Exam?

The bar exam is administered through the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners

How do I change my name?

The Virginia State Bar cannot change your name until it has been changed with the Supreme Court of Virginia, if you have qualified before the court -- or with the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, if you have not been qualified. When you change it with the appropriate agency they will send us a name change order and we will change it in the Virginia State Bar lawyer database automatically. To change it with the Virginia Supreme Court please contact them at (804) 786-2251 or download their Attorney Name Change form. To change your name with the Board of Bar Examiners please contact them at (804) 367-0412 between the hours of 10–12 or 2–4.

Do professional business entities formed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) need to also register with the Virginia State Bar? 

Yes, professional entities formed for the sole and specific purpose of rendering the service of the practice of law in Virginia, including professional corporations, professional limited liability companies, and registered limited liability partnerships must comply with the requirements of Paragraph 14 of Part 6, § IV of the Rules of Court, which include registering those entities with the Virginia State Bar. The registration forms can be found by clicking here.

I am not actively practicing Virginia law. What are my options?

Change your status to Associate (Inactive). If you are not actively practicing Virginia law, you may consider changing your status to Associate. Associate members pay annual dues equal to half that of Active members and there are no MCLE (Mandatory Continuing Legal Education) requirements with this status of membership. Any outstanding MCLE requirements will be deferred until such time as you may wish to return to Active in the future. To change status to Associate, please submit a written request or check the box marked "Associate" in the "Please change my status" section on your dues statement.

Change your status to Retired. You must be 70 years old or older to change your status to Retired. There are no dues with this status and there are no MCLE requirements. Please submit a written request or check the box marked "Retired" in the "Please change my status" section on your dues statement.

Resign your membership. You may resign from the bar; however, resignation is a decision that should be made only after serious consideration is given to the ramifications and after a review of your membership options. See the Application for Resignation (pdf) and the applicable rules of court.

Military Legal Assistance Attorneys and Virginia Corporate Counsel (Part I) must immediately inform the Virginia State Bar if you are no longer practicing in Virginia so that your certificate can be withdrawn.

See also Classes of Membership.

How do I switch to Retired status?

To qualify for Retired status you must be 70 or must turn 70 within the current fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). Please submit a written request or check the box in the status change section on your dues statement marked “retired."

Is there an option for practicing pro bono in retirement?

Yes! You can transition to emeritus status with the bar and practice only pro bono in your retirement. You pay no dues and have access to free CLEs. Rules changed in 2018 to allow lawyers to do this more easily. See if you qualify and start the transition at any time. 

How do I switch to Disabled status?

To switch to disabled status you must submit proof of a disability from a doctor along with your written request.

How do I return to Active status from Associate status?

To return to Active status you must submit a written request to upgrade, pay the Active fee (or the difference between the Associate and Active fee if you have already paid the Associate fee for the year), pay the Clients’ Protection Fund Fee, complete the Professional Liability Form and complete your MCLE obligations (see below) before your status can be upgraded. The Professional Liability form is on our dues statement and can be downloaded from our website.

What are the MCLE obligations to return to Active status?

To Activate or re-activate your status with the bar you must first satisfy any outstanding MCLE obligations from prior years when you were active (see MCLE Regulation 111(c) and Paragraph 19), including any outstanding MCLE delinquency fee obligations.  In addition you must report attendance at 12.0 approved CLE hours of which 2.0 must be in ethics and 4.0 must be from live interactive programs taken within the previous 12 months.  (Those hours will be applied to the current MCLE compliance year.)  To determine how many MCLE hours you need to complete, please contact the MCLE department at (804) 775-0577.

How do I get a third year practice certificate?

The dean of your law school must submit a letter to the Virginia State Bar certifying that you have completed all the necessary requirements as outlined in The Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 15. Please review the Third Year Student Practice Rule (Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 15 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia at and the sample request letter (Word doc). Email any questions to or telephone (804) 775-0530.

How do I resign from the Bar?

In order to resign as a member in good standing of the Virginia State Bar, an attorney must be current with all membership obligations. Prior to resignation, please see readmission requirements pursuant to Paragraph 13-25 C. Part 6, Section IV, of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. If you wish to resign, the Application for Resignation (PDF file) must be signed, notarized and filed with the Clerk of the Disciplinary System, Virginia State Bar, pursuant to Paragraph 13-27 Part 6, Section IV, of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia.For questions concerning the ramifications of resigning your membership with the Virginia State Bar and other classes of membership that may be available to you, please contact the VSB Regulatory Compliance Department at (804) 775-0530 or

VSB Application for Resignation (pdf)

May I seek relief from my Membership obligations under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)?

Yes, Active Duty members of the bar stationed outside of Virginia in a combat zone may seek relief under the SCRA for Membership obligations by providing a copy of their orders to the VSB. Please contact the Regulatory Compliance Department at at (804) 775-0530 or for specific requirements. (50 U.S.C. App. §§501-596, Public Law 108-189)

Updated: Jun 20, 2019