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Formal Admission to the Massachusetts Bar

There are two (2) options for finalizing admission to the Massachusetts Bar.
  1. Formal Ceremony
  2. Alternate Admission Procedure

Formal Admission Ceremony

For those petitioners reported qualified for admission by the Board of Bar Examiners to the Massachusetts Bar, the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for The County of Suffolk, Maura S. Doyle, conducts the official admission ceremonies in the Great Hall at Faneuil Hall. The ceremonies are held twice annually, generally in November and June. For upcoming admission ceremonies, see announcements.

Upon receipt of the passing results from the examination, and with no other outstanding requirements, petitioners will receive a notice from the Clerk with their scheduled admission ceremony appearance date and time, as well as instructions for the alternate admission procedures. The SJC schedules the appearance at each formal admission ceremony generally by the petitioner's last name.

Petitioners are only allowed to invite a limited number of guests to the ceremony, which will be included with the formal admission ceremony appearance notice. The SJC does not issue invitations, tickets or assigned seating for the guests.  It is general admission for the guests.

Faneuil Hall is located at 1 Faneuil Hall Square, Boston, MA 02109, behind Boston City Hall.  The Hall is handicap accessible. An elevator is located on the ground level at the left side of the building.

At Faneuil Hall, petitioners will be directed to assigned seats as they enter the Great Hall. The ceremony is an actual session of the Court, presided over by a Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court and conducted by Clerk Doyle. The ceremony is comprised of greetings from bar association officers, the administration of Oaths, remarks by the Justice, signing of the Roll of Attorneys and the presentation of the licenses.

The entire ceremony is approximately two to three hours. Photos and videos are allowed during the ceremony.


 Additional information regarding the formal ceremony process:

  • You will receive notice from the Court of the date and time of your appearance at the formal admission ceremony in a few days following the results of your examination. Information will be sent to the email address on record with the Court. Please be sure to check your SPAM or Junk Mail folders.
  • Your notice will ask you to send a reply only if
    • you are unable to attend your scheduled ceremony or would prefer an alternative admission option,
    • your name and address are incorrect,
    • you desire an alternate form of your admission license. The alternate admission license replaces “in the year of our Lord…” with the words” in the year ….”; or
    • You require a special seating accommodation for a mobility issue or other impairment.  Please provide information so the Court may adjust your seating.
  • If you request an alternate admission option, you will be mailed the alternate admission information and materials at the end of the reply response period.  If you are absent from the formal ceremony for which you were scheduled, you will be mailed these materials at the conclusion of all admissions activities.
  • Because of the existing fire laws as well as the limited seating capacity in the Great Hall, your notice will include the limited number of guests per petitioner.
  • The ceremony is a Court session.  You should wear the appropriate attire.
  • Photography is allowed.
  • The ceremony lasts approximately 2-3 hours.
  • If you have changed your name after filing your bar application, you need to submit an affidavit of name change (see below)  with supporting documents to the Clerk's office before the ceremony so that your new name is on your license.
  • You may begin to practice as a Massachusetts attorney after you take your Attorney's Oaths and sign the Roll of Attorneys.
  • After you have been admitted, this office will forward your name, address and date of admission to the Board of Bar Overseers.  The Board of Bar Overseers will forward the registration materials to you.  You must register within 90 days of your admission. While you await receipt of your Bar Registration number or your bar card, it is advised that you use "pending" in lieu of a Bar Registration number.

Additional Resources

Alternate Admission Procedure

The alternate admission procedure allows the qualified petitioners to be sworn into the Massachusetts Bar at a different time and location than the official admission ceremonies.

The petitioner is mailed the admission materials, consisting of the official Massachusetts Attorney's Oaths and the official Roll of Attorneys card. Upon receipt of the admission materials, it is the responsibility of the petitioner to find the appropriate authority to administer the Massachusetts Attorney's Oaths.

A petitioner may appear at the office of the Supreme Judicial Court for The County of Suffolk, and be administered the Oaths and sign the Roll of Attorneys. 

If the petitioner is resides in another County in Massachusetts or in a different jurisdiction, it is incumbent upon him/her to find out who is authorized to administer said Oaths within that jurisdiction.

Once the Massachusetts Attorney's Oaths are administered and  the Roll of Attorneys is signed, the materials must be returned to the office of the Supreme Judicial Court for The County of Suffolk.  If you do not return the materials by hand to the Court, it is suggested that you use a tracking option with any delivery method you choose. Upon receipt by the Court, the petitioner becomes a member of the Massachusetts Bar.

Additional information about the three options for alternate admission:

  • Admission by the SJC - By Appointment Only:  Due to capacity limitations, an appointment is required to schedule your appearance before a clerk of the SJC whether you choose option A or B listed below.   You must request an appointment for either admission option (A or B) by emailing sjc.mass.bar.admission@jud.state.ma.us.  Include your name, case number, and preferred dates for your appearance.  An appointment cannot be scheduled sooner than 5 days of the received email.  The Court will try to accommodate your request.


Options A and B:

A. Remote (virtual) admission via a Zoom video conference. This option is available any Wednesday at 10:00 A.M (except holidays).  You will be forwarded information pertaining to the Zoom session, including a Meeting ID and Password the day before your appointment.

B. In-person admission at the John Adams Courthouse (address listed above).  This option is available on Tuesdays at 10:00 A.M.  

  • Admission In-Person by a Superior Court Clerk Outside of Suffolk County: A Superior Court Clerk within the Commonwealth but outside of Suffolk County may administer the Massachusetts Attorney’s Oaths as described above.  Contact that Superior Court Clerk's office for information to schedule a date and time.
  • Admission In-Person but Outside of Massachusetts: Contact that state’s highest court or bar examiners to determine who administers that attorney’s oaths in that state.  Whoever has the authority to admit attorneys in that state has the authority to administer the oaths for attorneys on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  If you are outside the United States, you may appear at either a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate to have a person with oath administering authority execute the Massachusetts Attorney’s Admission Procedure.
  • You may begin to practice as a Massachusetts attorney once you have officially been admitted to the bar.  Your official date of admission is the date you were administered the oath. However, the Supreme Judicial Court will not recognize that date until the completed admission materials have been returned to the Office of the Clerk for The County of Suffolk.
  • After you have been admitted, the Office of the Clerk for The County of Suffolk will forward your name, address and date of admission to the Board of Bar Overseers . The Board of Bar Overseers will forward the requisite registration materials to you.  You must register within 90 days of your admission. While you await your Bar Registration number or your bar card, it is advised that you use "pending" in lieu of the Bar Registration number.

Additional Resources

Contact   for Formal Admission to the Massachusetts Bar


Maura S. Doyle, Clerk
John Adams Courthouse, 1st Floor, One Pemberton Square, Suite 1300, Boston, MA 02108-1707

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