Admission through written examination
Except for those qualifying under Rule I.A., persons desiring to be certified as attorneys eligible to practice law before the FSM Supreme Court shall apply for permission to take the Federated States of Micronesia written examination, which shall be administered semiannually, on the first Thursdays of March and August of each year. Such applications shall satisfy the following requirements A, B and C.
Experience or Educational Requirement
Each noncitizen of the Federated States of Micronesia seeking the opportunity to take the FSM Written Examination must demonstrate compliance with standard 1 below. Applicants who are citizens or nationals of the Federated States of Micronesia may demonstrate compliance with any of the five following standards.(note: Amendment to include "nationals" adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 2016-001)
Bar Membership Standard
The applicant shall submit to the Court a certificate of good standing establishing that the applicant is in good standing as an attorney eligible to practice law before the highest court in all jurisdiction(s), other than those within the Federated States of Micronesia, in which the applicant is, or has been, licensed to practice. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 1997-1, dated January 17, 1997).
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 schools, to admission as attorneys to practice in the jurisdiction where the law school is located, provided however, that students who graduated 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.
Experience and Competency Standard
The applicant shall submit certifications, by the applicant and one or more attorneys, establishing to the court's satisfaction the professional experience and competence of the applicant. At a minimum the certifications shall demonstrate that within the two (2) year period prior to the date of application, the applicant has had at least four (4) separate trial experiences and at least ten (10) days of trial experience, all under the immediate supervision of an attorney.
For the purposes of these requirements a "trial experience" is one in which witnesses are questioned under oath or affirmation, for evidentiary or discovery purposes, in the presence of opposing counsel and subject to cross-examination, either in the presence of a trier of fact or where a verbatim record of testimony is being taken. The applicant need not have conducted the actual questioning but, if not, there must have been reasonably full discussion between the applicant and the supervising attorney of the nature and the method of the questioning.
To be "separate," each such qualifying trial experience must have occurred in a different case, that is, in litigation involving different parties and with different court case than in any other trial experience relied upon.
The requirement of ten "days" of trial experiences may be fulfilled by the questioning of at least one witness, however briefly, under the conditions described above, on each of the ten different days.
The certification shall describe each trial experience, including the nature of the interaction between the attorney and the applicant. Each attorney and the applicant must also certify that they believe the applicant is capable of practicing law at a level of competence which meets the professional standard of the community of attorneys certified to practice before the Federated States of Micronesia Supreme Court. In submitting such certification, the applicant should also describe any additional experience or training which the applicant believes should be considered by the court in determining whether the applicant meets the experience and competency standard.
College of Micronesia Trial Counselor Certificate Program Standard
The applicant shall submit to the Court satisfactory proof of graduation from the College of Micronesia's Trail Counselor Certificate Program. (note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 2001-1,dated, dated January 15,2001). The applicant is also 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. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 2016-001)
State Court Judge
The applicant shall submit to the Court proof of appointment and confirmation as a judge of a State Court of the FSM and of current good standing in that position.(Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 2012-01
Former State Court Judge
A former State Court judge, who is no longer serving on the bench, with at least 8 years of experience as a State Court judge, shall submit proof of appointment, confirmation and resignation as a State Court judge. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 2016-001).
Morals and Character Requirements
Each applicant certified that no criminal charge, or charge of violation of professional responsibilities, is currently pending against the applicant, and that the applicant has never been convicted of any crime or found guilty of violation of professional ethics or responsibilities. If any such charges, convictions, or findings of violations of professional responsibilities are pending or have been made against the applicant these shall be certified and described in detail in the application and will be subject to further investigation by the court. False or incomplete certification may be considered grounds for disbarment. The court may require, in addition to the applicant's certificate, other proof of good character. The applicant shall bear the cost, if any, of obtaining such additional proof.
Residence or Citizenship Requirement
Each applicant shall be a resident or domiciliary of the Federated States of Micronesia, or a Federated States of Micronesia citizen or national. Applicants relying upon fulfillment of the law school graduation standard (Paragraph II.A.2) or the experience and competency standard (Paragraph II.A.3) must be citizens or national of the Federated states of Micronesia.
The Written Examination
All application for written examination or reexamination shall be filed, with supporting documents and non refundable application fee of twenty five ($25.00) dollars, in the offices of the FSM Supreme Court in Pohnpei at least 60 days prior the date scheduled for the written examination. Upon Showing of Good cause the Court may permit filing of application up to 21 days prior to the date of the written examination. After the 21-days deadline no further applications will be received or considered. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 2012-01 dated June 14, 2012).
An examination will normally be administered on the first Thursdays of March and August of each year and the duration of each examination will be approximately five (5) hours. The written examination may cover any legal issue relevant to the practice of law within the Federated States of Micronesia but will concentrate upon Federated States of Micronesia constitutional law, Federated States of Micronesia statutory law, Micronesian customary law, criminal law, legal ethics, evidence, admiralty, legal research, Federated States of Micronesia procedural rules, and administrative law. The examination questions, and answers, shall be in English.
Any otherwise qualified applicant shall be permitted to take an unlimited number of examinations until such person has successfully completed the entire examination. An applicant who fails any section(s) of the examination shall be required to take all remaining section(s), not previously passed, at any subsequent reexamination.
The examination shall consist of the following three sections:
|Section||Percentage of Exam|
A score of 65% of the points available in an examination will be a passing score. Any person who earns a score equal to 65% or more of the points available in any of the three sections identified above will receive credit for section(s) even if he or she fails to earn 65% or more of the points available overall in that exam. Thereafter, that person need only complete successfully the remaining sections(s) in subsequent examinations in order to receive credit for successful completion of an entire examination.
Upon Court certification of successful completion of the examination, the applicant shall be certified as an attorney entitled to practice law before the Federated States of Micronesia Supreme Court. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 1986-2, dated April 10. 1986); (Note: Amended pursuant to General Court Order No. 1997-1, dated January 17, 1997).