Shivat Zion

Practicing Law in Israel

Isuk BeArichat Din
עיסוק בעריכת דין
Last updated: 09.01.2024
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This guide was adapted and translated by Shivat Zion and based on an article by Adv. Minna Felig, Co-Founder Machshavot Smartjob. She can be reached at

There are currently two options for a foreign-trained lawyer to get a permit to practice law while living in Israel:

  • Either relicense as an Israeli lawyer by taking the necessary law exams administered by the Israel Bar Association (IBA) and completing a mandatory apprenticeship with a licensed Israeli lawyer
  • Or registering as a Foreign Licensed Lawyer.

Generally, Israeli law firms prefer hiring Olim who go through the process of relicensing as an Israeli lawyer rather than hiring Foreign Licensed Lawyers, who are limited to practicing the law of the jurisdiction where they came from.

While there have been a few cases of an Israeli law firm actually offering partnership to a Foreign Licensed Lawyer who had not relicensed as an Israeli attorney, because they needed that foreign specialty and had enough work to keep the lawyer busy, it is recommended going through the relicensing process. This is both because it allows one to learn Israeli law and Hebrew, and provides more mobility in the future if one wants to move to another firm.

Relicensing Process as an Israeli Lawyer:

In order to qualify for the rest of the relicensing process, foreign-trained lawyers must take a legal Hebrew exam that tests their ability to read and write a legal document in Hebrew.


Foreign-licensed lawyers with at least two years of foreign experience may begin their legal internship after passing this exam, even before they pass all the Law of Israel exams (as noted below, item 2).

A foreign lawyer who is fluent in Hebrew may be exempt from taking the Hebrew exam if they agree to take the Laws of Israel Exams in Hebrew and pass six (6) out of the eight (8) tests listed in item 2 below.

Every foreign-trained lawyer must pass eight subject exams that are meant to cover the breadth of Israeli law for those who did not study in Israel.


These are:

  • Property
  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Family Law
  • Torts (Damages)/Contracts/Labor Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Corporate
  • Tax and Bankruptcy Law

Note: The Law of Israel Exams are offered twice a year through the Bar Association.


Every foreign-trained lawyer needs to complete a Hitmachut – התמחות – Internship under the supervision of a lawyer who has been practicing in Israel for at least five years. The official internship period for Israeli law students that began law school after August 7, 2017, is currently 18 months.


Note: It is not clear how this will impact a foreigner who started law school long before August 7, 2017 and is starting their internship now or in the future.

The Bar Association may reduce the length of the internship for experienced foreign lawyers as it chooses, but never to less than six months.

At the end of the Internship, foreign-licensed lawyers with fewer than five (5) years of experience must take the same Bar Exam that Israeli law students take at the end of their internship.


Foreign lawyers or judges who received their law license and practiced law in that jurisdiction for more than five (5) years before their date of aliyah are exempt from the Bar Exam and just need to apply for the exemption to the IBA. In addition, they must start their Hitmachut within five (5) years of making Aliyah.

The Israel Bar exam is in Hebrew and is comprised of three sections:

  • a written section
  • a procedural law multiple choice section
  • a substantive law multiple choice section


The written section is a new addition to the bar exam format and specifically tests an examinee’s ability to draft a Hebrew language court pleading, commercial contract, lease or any other related legal document that the Board of Examiners so chooses.

Note: the date that the Israel Bar Association uses to determine how many years of practice a lawyer has in a foreign jurisdiction is based on when the lawyer was admitted to a foreign bar association and not when they began actually practicing law.


In 2012 the Israel Bar Association adopted regulations allowing foreign licensed lawyers and foreign law firms to practice foreign law in Israel. Under the new regulations, a lawyer who has been licensed and practicing law abroad for at least five (5) years does not have to relicense as an Israeli lawyer as long as they limit their practice in Israel to providing legal opinions and counseling exclusively regarding the laws of the country in which they are licensed, and drafting legal documents for which only the licensed foreign law applies.

A Foreign-Licensed Lawyer is not required to satisfy the Israel Bar Association’s requirements for admission to the Israeli Bar and is exempt from taking the Law of Israel exams and the Israel Bar Exam.

The main purpose of the law, presumably, is to allow experts from a foreign jurisdiction to market themselves and advise local Israeli clients on foreign law. To ensure that foreign licensed lawyers do not abuse this unique status, the regulations require absolute transparency, and specifically require that a foreign-licensed lawyer disclose their status to all potential clients, law firm letterhead, etc.

Warning: There have been incidents of Foreign Licensed Lawyers being penalized for advertising themselves as Israeli lawyers when in fact they had only the Foreign Licensed Lawyer status.

As a result of this new regulation, several foreign law firms have opened small offices in Israel where they do mostly marketing of their foreign offices but they also advise on non-Israeli law to Israeli clients. These offices are listed on the Foreign Law Firm Registry.

The IBA permits branch offices to employ only lawyers who are admitted to the IBA, either as a Foreign Licensed Lawyer or as an Israeli licensed lawyer.

In order to be eligible as a Foreign Licensed Lawyer, one must formally request to be listed in the Foreign Lawyers Registration list, pay an annual fee, and submit the following documents:

  • Confirmation that the applicant holds a valid foreign law license.
  • Proof that the applicant practiced the specified foreign law for at least five (5) years immediately prior to submitting the application.
  • A declaration by the applicant and a confirmation from an official representative regarding the applicant’s criminal past in their country of origin.
  • Pass an Ethics Exam administered by the Israel Bar Association (see below).
  • Maintain Professional Liability Insurance compliant with the requirements of the Israel Bar Association

For more information, the Israel Bar Association can be reached here and here . The following link includes applications for the Ethics exam and the Foreign Lawyer application.

For additional information from Misrad Haklita – משרד הקליטה – Ministry of Aliyah and Integration click here.