GCO 1985-2

May 9, 1985


     The Court's present rules for admission permit law graduates from "accredited law schools" to take the Federated States of Micronesia written examination.  FSM Adm. R. II.A.2.

     Further reflection and experience in applying the rule has revealed that the rule in its present form is not sufficiently precise.  First, students who attend law schools away from the Federated States of Micronesia and outside the jurisdiction of the United States frequently come to the Federated States of Micronesia with little or no knowledge of the case law or other principles of law, especially constitutional law principles, which form the foundation of the law in the Federated States of Micronesia.  It is apparent that for such persons to function adequately they must first engage in a concentrated program to obtain and demonstrate knowledge of these core principles.

     In addition, the Court has learned that in some jurisdictions, most notably Papua New Guinea, graduation from the local law school is not sufficient to qualify the graduate to practice law.  Additional requirements must be met.  In Papua New Guinea, for example, the additional requirements which must be fulfilled before a law graduate can be held out as an attorney are:  (1) completion of a one year course in practical legal methods conducted by the Legal Training Institute; and (2) an additional six month internship under the close supervision and tutelage of an attorney.  Since Papua New Guinea students are not entitled to practice law in Papua New Guinea immediately upon graduation, it is entirely reasonable and even more appropriate to impose similar requirements upon such graduates here.

     Accordingly, through the past several years it has been the policy of this Court that each Papua New Guinea law student shall complete a one year internship with the Court prior to being given the opportunity to take the bar examination on the basis of graduation from law school.  This has proved an effective device to assist students to sharpen their skills, to increase their knowledge of law within the Federated States of Micronesia, and to become familiar with practical aspects of the practice of law here.

     Now therefore pursuant to the rulemaking power granted to the Chief Justice under Article XI, Section 9 of the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia and by the Judiciary Act of 1979, 4 F.S.M.C. 117, it is hereby ordered that the rules of admission to practice before the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia are hereby amended, by adding a provision to Paragraph II, A.2. so that paragraph now reads as follows:

II.A.2   Law School Graduation Standard - The applicant shall submit to the Court satisfactory proof of graduation from a law school whose graduates are entitled, upon fulfillment of requirements generally applicable in that jurisdiction for graduates of accredited law school, to admission as attorneys to practice in the jurisdiction where the law school is located, provided however, that students who graduate from law schools located outside of the jurisdictions of the Federated States of Micronesia and of the United States shall be required to complete a one year period of internship, under terms and conditions approved by this Court, prior to applying for permission to take the examination.

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