Diploma Privilege

One of the great benefits of being a UW Law School student is Diploma Privilege. Diploma Privilege allows our graduates to secure a license to practice law in Wisconsin without taking a bar exam! This invaluable opportunity is available to students who complete our required Diploma Privilege courses and obtain a “C” or better average. Wisconsin is the only state in the country that offers diploma privilege.

Many states used to have a "diploma privilege" -- a set of course and grade requirements which, if fulfilled, allowed one to be admitted to practice without taking a bar exam. Wisconsin is now alone in retaining this privilege. The vast majority of students who earn J.D. degrees from the Law School also meet the requirements for Wisconsin Diploma Privilege. 

If you intend to practice in Wisconsin when you graduate or think you may return to Wisconsin in the future, it is obvious that satisfying the Wisconsin Diploma Privilege is a great benefit.

If you're not planning to practice in Wisconsin, you should still consider satisfying the diploma privilege. The diploma privilege

  • allows you to practice in most federal agencies (such as the IRS, FTC, SEC, etc.) without taking a bar exam.
  • means that you, unlike graduates from other law schools, will be a licensed attorney while you are studying for the bar in another state, and may be able to handle legal matters for your employer that graduates from other states cannot.
  • means that you will be licensed in more than one state, which is appealing to many employers.
  • is a safety net for you if for some reason you have difficulty taking a bar exam.
  • means you can return and practice in Wisconsin -- as many of our graduates will tell you, "never say never"!

To qualify for the Wisconsin Diploma Privilege, you must satisfy two sets of requirements:

  1. You must meet certain academic requirements. See 4.61 in READ THIS FIRST.
  2. You must meet requirements relating to character and fitness to practice law. See 4.7 in READ THIS FIRST.

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