A 711 license is a valuable way for law students to gain practical legal skills, including representation of clients in court, while they are still in law school. This article will provide a short explanation of the requirements for a 711 license and information on how to obtain the license.
What is a 711 license?
A JD student enrolled in a law school approved by the American Bar Association can apply for a 711 license in order to render legal services in the State of Illinois, provided they:
- Have completed one-half of the total credits required for graduation from their law school, and
- Are in good academic standing and eligible under their school’s criteria to undertake the activities authorized by the license.
Students cannot obtain a 711 license to work in private practice. A 711 license can only be used when working at:
- A legal aid bureau, legal assistance program, organization, or clinic chartered by the State of Illinois or approved by a law school approved by the American Bar Association;
- The office of the public defender; or
- A law office of the State or any of its subdivisions.
With a 711 license, and under the supervision of a licensed Illinois attorney, students are able to counsel clients, negotiate settlements, represent clients in mediation and other nonlitigation matters, prepare legal instruments, prepare briefs and other documents to be filed in court, and appear in appellate courts, trial courts, and administrative tribunals of the state, subject to specific limitations and qualifications set out in Rule 711.
Multi-state professional responsibility examination
It is not necessary for a law student to have taken the multi-state professional responsibility examination (MPRE) before applying for and using a 711 license. However, if the law student has taken the MPRE and not yet earned a passing grade, that will preclude the approval or continued practice with the 711 license.
How to apply for a 711 license
In order to apply for the 711, you must have secured a position at a legal aid organization, clinical program, or government agency in Illinois, as the form requires a supervisor's signature as well as contact information for the agency where you will be working. You must also include two passport-sized photos of yourself and sign and date the document.
Next, you will need to obtain the signature of the Dean of your law school – the signature of an Associate or Assistant Dean is not adequate for processing – and the document must be stamped with the law school seal. The Dean’s signature and law school seal are important because they provide proof that you have completed at least one-half of the total hourly credits toward graduation and that you are in good academic standing. If you are at a law school in Illinois, your school may have an established procedure for obtaining a 711 license, check with your administration for more information.
Finally, either you or your school must send all of the materials through the mail to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. The processing time upon receipt is usually 3-4 days, at which time the 711 license will be mailed to you. If any part of the application is missing, the document will be returned to you and the process will take considerably longer.