The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration is offering a retroactive reimbursement of up to 4,000 NIS to Olim who were required to translate and/or notarize documents in order to transfer their professional license in Israel.  The Oleh must submit the original receipts (or verified copies).

  • The reimbursement only covers translations and notarizations for professional needs
  • You can be reimbursed retroactively back to receipts that were issued from January 15, 2015
  • Age limit: Retirement age

Please note, information previously featured on this page may have been amended following several changes implemented by the Israel Bar Association in recent years. Likewise, information on this page is current as of February 18, 2019, and due to the current volatility with respect to the Israel Bar Exam, such information may change.

For a variety of factors and reasons, the Israel Bar Association and Ministry of Justice have recently mobilized plans to limit the number of lawyers entering the Israeli legal profession. To accomplish this goal, the format of the Israel Bar Exam has undergone several significant changes, which have made the exam exceedingly more challenging – specifically for non-native Hebrew speakers.

We advise that you review the details of these changes in the section “Exams”.

Information about practicing law in Israel can be found at the Israel Bar Association. For specific inquiries, write to mitmahim@israelbar.org.il or call the Lishkat Orchei Din at (02) 566-0271 between the hours of 8:30 and 1:00 (Sunday through Thursday). We advise calling them as early as possible in the day as their lines are historically very busy.

Additionally, Matthew Rudolph, an Oleh that has recently completed this process, has made himself available to clarify any of the information included on this page. He may be reached at matthewr@meitar.com.

As Israel holds the distinction of having the most lawyers per capita of any country in the world, lawyers can be found in any city. By far, the largest number of lawyers and law firms can be found in Tel Aviv, with Haifa and Jerusalem following distantly behind. Salary levels for attorneys in Tel Aviv are usually higher than those in Jerusalem. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv also have possibilities in governmental work. Occasionally, Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University require the services of a lawyer from abroad with a particular area of expertise. Alternatively, many lawyers go into private practice, either on their own or in partnership with other advocates.

Israel’s legal system is based on Common Law, so lawyers who are familiar with Common Law-based legal systems adapt easily. In Israel, practices tend to be small, with a one or two-person firm being the norm, rather than the exception. The larger Israeli law firms boast more than 150 attorneys. Specialization has become more common in recent years.

If you’re seeking employment in the legal field, contact:

  • Smartjob: Smartjob does traditional recruitment of lawyers and legal administrative staff and maintains an electronic job board (in Hebrew). A candidate registers online and can then access all open positions. Once the resume is entered in the database, it will be sent directly by Smartjob for relevant positions. Please be in touch with Minna Felig at: minna@smartjob.co.il.
  • A-one Executive Recruitment, a boutique placement company specializing in legal placements. Phone: 03-525-6001, Email: info@a-one.co.il.
  • codex.co.il, Migdalei Aviv Menachem Begin 48, Tel Aviv. (073)227-0270. They also specialize in helping to find internship opportunities.

While English will help any Oleh get their foot into the door at prestigious Israeli law firms, an Oleh’s Hebrew ability is no less important, albeit for different reasons. While American trained lawyers are often hired for their ability to draft and review contracts in English, U.S. legal training and connections abroad, it is still regarded as essential to have strong reading and conversational Hebrew skills in order to interact with colleagues and local clients. Litigation and real estate practices require a substantially higher level of Hebrew proficiency as they are more localized and Hebrew language intensive.

In private practice, where generating business is critical, it is clearly to the attorney’s advantage to be bilingual. Ulpan and continued improvement of Hebrew reading, writing and negotiating skills are very strongly recommended.

Areas of law often sought after by firms seeking to hire English speaking attorneys:

  • Corporate Law (with experience in contracts and securities); and
  • Intellectual Property Law (with experience in patent prosecution and/or licensing-type agreements).

Attorneys with a large variety of specialties now practice law in Israel, but those with expertise in the areas listed above may have a substantially easier time finding positions and moving up within their companies. We recommend that law students and younger attorneys planning their Aliyah aim to gain experience in corporate law as their transition into the Israeli workspace will be smoother and employability will be greater.

Qualifying as a Foreign-Practicing Lawyer:

The Israel Bar Association provides an exemption from taking the Israel Bar Exam for lawyers that have at least five years of legal experience in their home country. This status applies several restrictions unto one’s ability to practice law in Israel, and each individual seeking such status should conduct their own due diligence to see whether or not this status will impact their ability to effectively practice law.

  1. Diploma: bring either an original or a copy of your original law school diploma. It should be certified by an Israeli attorney or the consulate.
  2. Transcripts: bring two copies of your official transcripts from college and law school.
  3. Proof of length of practice: obtain a letter, either from your employer or the bar, specifying the dates of employment by every employer since law school. If you are self-employed, write a letter on your letterhead stating the length of time that you have been in private practice.
  4. Proof (from the bar) that you are an attorney: a Certificate of Good Standing will usually be enough.

YOU MUST SUBMIT THESE DOCUMENTS TO THE ISRAEL BAR ASSOCIATION AT LEAST ONE MONTH (IDEALLY WE SUGGEST 3-6 MONTHS) BEFORE YOU TAKE YOUR FIRST DINEI YISRAEL EXAM. Include a cover letter (in English or Hebrew) asking for confirmation that you (1) have submitted all of the necessary documents; (2) are eligible to take the exams; and (3) will be exempt from the post-internship written and oral exams (if applicable).

Qualifying as an Israeli lawyer without restriction:

  1. Recognition of legal credentials (see below)
  2. Examinations prior to articles: “Dinei Yisrael” test
  3. Period of Articles (internship or “stag”)
  4. Written examination after Articles (exemption given to lawyers with 5 years’ experience)
  5. Residency in Israel

Recognition of Legal Credentials:

  • A law degree from a university that is recognized by the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University; or
  • At least 2 years of experience as a lawyer or a judge while holding a license to practice in your country of origin. In other words, you must have at least two years of experience in judicial functions for which only persons with legal education are qualified.

Certificates of recognition of past legal experience must be obtained from the Law Society or other official judicial authorities in the country in which you were licensed to practice law.

All certificates, degrees, diplomas, etc. must be submitted to the Israel Bar (Lishkat Orchei HaDin). Their address is: 1 Chopin St., Jerusalem. Make sure you have notarized copies of all documents that you submit. Always retain the original document.

For further information about admission to the Israeli bar for foreign trained lawyers, please see the website of the Israel Bar Association.

If you have questions about your eligibility to meet Israeli licensing requirements, please see: Professional Licensing in Israel.

Recognition of Legal Credentials:

  • A law degree from a university that is recognized by the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University.
  • At least 2 years of experience as a lawyer or a judge while holding a license to practice in your country of origin. In other words, you must have at least two years of experience in judicial functions for which only persons with legal education are qualified.

Certificates of recognition of past legal experience must be obtained from the Law Society or other official judicial authorities in the country in which you were licensed to practice law.

All certificates, degrees, diplomas, etc. must be submitted to the Israel Bar (Lishkat Orchei HaDin). Their address is: 1 Chopin St., Jerusalem. Make sure you have notarized copies of all documents that you submit. Always retain the original document.

For further information about admission to the Israeli bar for foreign trained lawyers, please see the website of the Israel Bar Association.

If you have questions about your eligibility to meet Israeli licensing requirements, please see: Professional Licensing in Israel

Written Examinations: “Dinei Yisrael”

There are no available exemptions from the Dinei Yisrael examinations, and at least six of the following exams must be completed prior to beginning one’s internship. The Dinei Yisrael examinations requirement is also applied unto foreign-practicing lawyer candidates. Each exam is three hours, however Olim applicants are allowed an additional hour for each exam (a total of four hours).

The Dinei Yisrael exams include:

  • Optional Hebrew Language Exam (see below);
  • Torts, Contracts and Labor Law;
  • Property Law;
  • Family and Inheritance Law;
  • Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure;
  • Civil Procedure and Professional Ethics;
  • Commercial Law A (Corporations, Partnerships and Business Organizations);
  • Commercial Law B (Bankruptcy, Liens, Secured Transactions and Tax Law); and
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law.

Candidates who have less than 2 years of experience practicing law abroad are required to pass the Hebrew examination and six of the eight law examinations before starting internship. The remaining two examinations can be taken during or after the internship. Those who have more than 2 years of experience can begin an internship after passing the Hebrew language exam and can take the substantive exams throughout the course of their internship or afterwards. The passing grade for these examinations is 61.

Any or all of these tests can be taken years before making Aliyah. An attorney who is in Israel on a pilot trip or vacation can take the exam. Some Olim have found it beneficial to be able to tell potential employers that they have already passed all of their qualifying exams. This also alleviates one cause of stress upon arrival in Israel.

The questions on all law examinations are in Hebrew, but the answers may be written in Hebrew or English (except for the Hebrew language exam).

Cost of Dinei Yisrael Exams

The cost of each of the Dinei Yisrael exams is 160 NIS. Olim Chadashim are entitled to reimbursement from Misrad HaKlita for the full cost of the exams. You must go to your regional Misrad HaKlita office with the receipt of your payment.

Review Course

The bar review company, Hamitmaheh, offers a review course for each of the aforementioned exam subjects.

Dates of Dinei Yisrael Examinations

The Law and Hebrew examinations are held twice a year, in January and in August. There are additional Hebrew examinations set in April and in October. There are no retest examinations.

Written Bar Examination after Internship

UPDATE: This section will review what is commonly referred to as the Israel Bar Exam, which is the final examination an intern must complete following his or her internship and prior to his or her admission to the bar. The Israel Bar Exam has undergone a number of changes in recent years, as discussed in the introductory article above (hereinafter referred to as the “New Exam”). It should be emphasized at the outset that the New Exam has been reformatted with the specific intent to make it more challenging. The previous format of the bar exam was split in two: a multiple choice exam and an oral exam. Today, there is no oral exam, and instead the multiple choice exam has been supplemented with a handwritten section. The New Exam is offered twice a year: in June and December, however the Bar Association has indicated that these time slots are not fixed and are subject to change on an as needed basis.

The New Exam is split into three section: (1) written section (15 points), (2) procedural law multiple choice questions (45 questions equaling 45 points), and (3) substantive law multiple choice questions (40 questions equaling 40 points). The written section is 45 minutes, however Olim are entitled to additional time of 20 minutes. The procedural law multiple choice section is 119 minutes, however Olim are entitled to additional time of 45 minutes. The substantive law multiple choice section is 160 minutes, however Olim are entitled to additional time of 70 minutes.

The written section, which was first tested in September of 2017, tests the examinee’s ability on three levels: (1) content (9 points), (2) organization (3 points) and (3) written ability (3 points). Note that while Olim are at a disadvantage in this section due to their written abilities, the examiner may only devote 3 points to such criterion. The format of this section is as follows: a fact pattern is given to the examinee, and using case precedents and statutory law provided by the Bar Association, the examinee is expected to draft either a legal opinion or a court document (complaint, motion, etc.), depending on the given prompt.

The procedural law multiple choice section tests an examinee’s ability to memorize the law. This section was included on the old Bar Exam format and has remained unchanged. Below is a list of the laws tested for this section:

  • Civil Procedure;
  • Criminal Procedure;
  • Hotza’ah Le’Poal (Enforcement of Judgments);
  • Arrests and Detainments;
  • Evidence;
  • General Court Proceedings;
  • Constitutional Law;
  • Ethics;
  • Labor Law;
  • Family Law; and
  • Bankruptcy Law.

The substantive law multiple choice section is, along with the written section, a new feature of the New Exam. The substantive law multiple choice section tests an examinee’s ability to apply statutory and precedential law. This section is the longest section of the New Exam and is an ‘open-book’ section. Examinees are provided with a booklet prepared by the Israel Bar Association with a compilation of statutory law designed to help the examinee answer the questions. Below is a list of the laws tested for this section:

  • Property Law;
  • Property Tax;
  • Corporate Law (Business Organizations, Liens, Secured Transaction and related subjects);
  • Contracts Law;
  • Torts Law;
  • Criminal Law;
  • Inheritance Law; and
  • Commercial Paper.

A passing score for this exam is currently 60 points. On January 16, 2019, following a legislative exchange between an organized group of law interns, several members of Knesset, the Israel Bar Association and the Ministry of Justice, the passing score was lowered from 65 to 60. As this development is new, one should take into account the volatility at play. The general feeling amongst the Israeli legal community is that the current situation is not etched in stone – both with respect to the New Exam’s format or the passing score.

As described above, lawyers who have practiced abroad for at least 5 years are eligible for an exemption from this exam. IF YOU SEEK AN EXEMPTION, IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE IS RECOGNIZED BY THE BAR. It is suggested that you write to the bar prior to Aliyah to ascertain whether you indeed qualify for this exemption.

Attorneys generally study for this test full time for 3 to 5 months. Our understanding is that the pass rate for Olim has dropped dramatically with the transition to the New Exam. In December of 2018, only 28% of Olim (this includes individuals who made Aliyah as children and have had extended time to assimilate and learn Hebrew) passed on their first attempt, and of examinees that studied law abroad only 2% passed.

To pass the New Exam, an examinee must possess near fluency in Hebrew.

There is currently one bar review company: Hamitmache. This company also offers prep courses for Dinei Yisrael exams. They offer different options regarding course length and you may be able to purchase only the materials. There are discounts for early registration as well as group rates. Expect to pay about 2,500-3,000 NIS for a complete course.

In order for a British law degree to be recognized by the Israeli Bar Association (Lishkat Orchei Din), it must be a three year LLB degree. The LLB degree is a pre-requisite to sitting for the Israeli bar exam. Those who complete a non-law degree, take the one year CPE, do a two-year internship, and pass the UK bar must practice law for a minimum of two years in the UK in order to be eligible to begin the licensing process in Israel.

There are many parallels between both the law school system and legal system in the UK and Israel. In Israel, as in the UK, a student applies directly to the law faculty of a university. The course of study is 3 years, followed by a period of “Articles” (in Israel, the required length of the internship – stag – is currently 12 months), and ending with the bar exam. In addition, the legal system in Israel is based on Common Law as it is in England, making it less difficult for English barristers and solicitors to transfer their experience. Those with commercial, international, and intellectual property experience find their skills most marketable.

English Olim who want to become licensed to practice law in Israel must sit for the Dinei Yisrael exams prior to starting the period of Articles. Upon passing these exams, they must then do a 12-month stag (those with extensive legal experience can petition the Bar Association to reduce the length) and then sit for the Bar exam (those with a minimum of 5 years of legal experience are exempt from this exam.)

There is a law firm in Jerusalem named Asserson which hires graduates of UK law schools to do outsourced legal work for UK firms. This work is recognized by the British Bar as fulfilling the requirement of Articles.

A special thank you to Russell Mayer, senior partner at Livnat and Mayer, for participating in this interview. If you have further questions, please be in touch with Russell at mayer@LMF.co.il and his website is lmf.co.il

What is your current position?
I am a senior partner in a law firm. I focus on labor law, business and corporate law and wills.

How did you find your job?
I worked as a lawyer in America for almost 9 years. After I made Aliyah, I worked at a large law firm in Tel Aviv as an employee for 7 years, through which I met my current partners. I have now been a partner in my firm for over 11 years.

What do you need to in order to be accepted into the Israeli Bar Association?
Immigrant lawyers have to take a series of exams, which include a Hebrew proficiency exam and a Laws of Israel exam. Lawyers with at least five years of experience abroad are exempt from the main Israeli Bar exam. Those not entitled to the exemption must take written and oral examinations. All lawyers must complete a mandatory articled clerkship after law school and before being admitted to the bar. Currently the requirement is for a one year term but it is due to be increased to 2 years. Lawyers who have experience from abroad can apply to shorten the period of their clerkships.

Do you need Hebrew to work in your field in Israel?
Part of the exams for the Israel Bar Association is a Hebrew proficiency exam. You do not need an exceptionally high level of Hebrew to pass the exam, but your Hebrew needs to be at a high enough level to study for and take the regular bar exam at the end of the clerkship (unless exempted). You will need to be proficient in Hebrew if you want to be a good Israeli lawyer who is not limited to working on English language matters.

Does it make any difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
My American law degree was recognized by the Bar Association. You just need to go through the proper procedures in order to have it recognized. Those who did not study in Israel, however, will not have a background in Israeli law. The transition is not too difficult once the Hebrew barrier is passed. Israelis value a foreign license (and study) so being admitted overseas has its value.

What is the salary range?
With experience, you may be able to earn in the mid to high teens per month, when you start out.

Who are the major employers in your field?
There are big laws firms in Israel, but most lawyers work in small firms. In addition, many companies have in-house legal departments.

What are the upcoming areas of specialization that you would recommend?
General business knowledge is valuable. Although business is cyclical, those who are good will always be in demand. Having sub-specialties such as securities will also increase demand. Litigation is difficult to do in Israel, unless your Hebrew is at a very high level or you limit your work to dealing with court matters overseas.

Is there a professional organization in your field?

There is The Israel Bar Association.

What recommendations can you offer Olim looking to work in this field?
The more business-related experience you have from abroad, the more marketable you are likely to be here. In addition, to the extent that you can improve your Hebrew before arriving, you will be a step ahead. The ability to be interviewed for a position in Hebrew is not necessary for the most part, but will enable you to make a good impression on your prospective employers.

Any advice for students interested in going into your field?
Yes, I have a few recommendations:

  • It is important that you are aware of the articled clerkship requirement ahead of time, since that is a requirement with which most lawyers in America are not familiar.
  • Do well in school, and strive for a high ranking in your class.
  • Many law firms take law students to work part time during school. If you seek out these opportunities, firms are likely to hire you to stay on after you graduate.
  • Work on your Hebrew.

How do you feel about working and living here in Israel?
I love working here in Israel! It is challenging being away from family and adjusting to a new culture, but if you’re dedicated to living here, you’ll succeed. As they say, there’s no place like HOME.

A special thank you to Jay Kalish, General Counsel and Partner at OurCrowd, for participating in this interview. For further questions please contact Jay at jay@ourcrowd.com

Please provide us with a brief description of your field.
As general counsel, I am responsible for all of OurCrowd’s legal matters.  This includes transactional work (negotiating and documenting venture capital deals), regulatory work (making sure that we comply with all relevant laws and regulations in the US, Israel and other parts of the world), and consulting on general legal matters for the company.  In addition, I am heading up a social responsibility initiative to encourage our portfolio companies and investors to support social initiatives in Israel.

How did you find your job?
Networking, and !השגחה פרטית

What types of backgrounds are relevant for someone looking to work as a General Council and Partner?
Obviously, legal background is very important for this position.  However, business savvy and people skills are equally, if not more important.  In addition to providing protection to the company and its investors, one needs to be able to work well with the team, portfolio company management and attorneys representing the other side of the transaction.  By working cooperatively, rather than in an adversarial manner, I build bridges and connections, which will first and foremost make the legal process function more smoothly, but will also encourage the attorneys to refer further business to our company. I also have extensive experience in the field of investor relations, which provides me with additional insight in both our investors’ and portfolio companies’ goals, and helps me be more effectively in my job.

What education and experience should an Oleh looking to become a General Council and Partner come with?
Along with legal training, excellence in communication, both written and oral, are vital.  While most of my documentation is in English, many of the meetings and negotiations are in Hebrew. Since I have been in Israel for many years (26+), I can also build relationships with counsel without cultural barriers.  By speaking Hebrew and being Israeli, I can understand what the other side is looking for even if they are not expressing it fully.

Is there any kind of license or certification you need, to work in that field in Israel?
I hold a license to practice law in NY and Israel.

How important is Hebrew in your field?
See above – I think it is vital to success.

What are the benefits of your job?
The job is professionally stimulating and challenging.  As a company, with a goal of helping to build the Israeli start-up scene, we are making an impact.  During our first year of operation we helped raise funds for 30 companies, mostly Israeli – and that translates into several hundred jobs, critical for any economy. The social responsibility initiative gives me the opportunity to encounter some of the fabulous work being done in Israel, as well as the chance to show this amazing side of our country to our overseas investors.

 Is this employment more in demand in certain areas of Israel?
There is a larger concentration of venture funds in the Tel Aviv/Herzlia area, but not all of the funds have an in-house counsel/partner.

What is the salary range?
The salary range depends on experience and the company, so it is hard to generalize.

Do you have any other advice or tips for Olim?
1) Learn Hebrew; interact with Israelis as much as possible. Leave your radio on Hebrew talk shows, listen to the news in Hebrew and read the Hebrew press. While the English press is good, the Hebrew press adds that element of acculturation, which is so vital for success.  I am still labeled as an American in certain places, but I can safely say that when I travel overseas, I realize more and more how I have become Israeli.

2) Work hard to build a network of contacts, especially during a job search.  Try meeting with people with the purpose of trying to get another introduction, to increase your network.  The best positions come up when you are not looking.

3) Be flexible in what you are looking for. Is the goal to be a [fill in your profession] here in Israel, or is the goal to live and succeed here? If the latter, I always like to think of the quote from the movie Apollo 13 – “I don’t care what it was designed to do; I care about what it can do.” Look for opportunities based on your skill set and be open to different challenges that can harness this skill set.

How do you feel about working and living in Israel?
I would never trade it for anything in the world.  B”H I still wake up in the morning with the excitement of knowing that we are living and building our homeland.

For additional information about practicing law in Israel, please see the following article which was written by legal recruiter, Minna Felig: Living in Israel: Practicing Law.


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