If a lawyer passes a state bar exam can he or she then practice in any state?

No, becoming licensed in one state does not entitle a lawyer to practice in another state. Many states do have what is known as reciprocity, which means that after a lawyer has practiced for a period of time (usually five years), he or she can apply to practice in another state without taking another bar exam. The lawyer must receive approval from the new state’s highest court to receive admission.

A key exception in most states is that lawyers can apply for what is known as pro hac vice status, which is Latin for “this one occasion or event.” This means that a lawyer is applying to practice in a different state for one case.