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From the Briefing Room

New York Bar Requirements

This information has been taken from the State Bar of New York’s “Bar Exam Guide.” The information provided on this webpage is intended to be a guide in the Bar Admission process, but it is ultimately each student’s responsibility to understand bar admission requirements for the jurisdiction in which one intends to become licensed.

Generally Applicable Requirements to be Admitted to Practice Law in New York:

  • Successful completion of an additional program of study at an approved law school in the US (see “Foreign Legal Education”)
  • Take at least 24 semester hours of credit, with at least 2 hours of credit in professional responsibility and two credits in legal writing. See list of approved courses here.
  • Pass the State of New York Bar Examination, which consists of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and New York Law Exam (NYLE)
  • Pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)*
  • Complete 50-hour Pro Bono Requirement
  • Meet Skills Competency Requirement and Professional Values (for students commencing their LL.M. program after Aug. 1 2018)

Foreign Law Students with First Degree in Law

Applicants requiring an LL.M. to qualify for the examination MUST seek an Advance Evaluation of Eligibility from the Board. Because of the volume of these applications, their complexity and the frequent need to communicate with these applicants and request more information concerning their eligibility, it can take up to six (6) months from the date of the Board’s receipt of all required documentation for an eligibility decision to be made.

1. Create New York State Board of Law Examiners (BOLE) account, complete Online Foreign Evaluation request, and submit required Foreign Documentation (listed below) by OCTOBER 1 for July Examination and by MAY 1 for November Examination.

  • Official Transcript(s). Submit a final, official transcript directly from every law school attended that includes the dates of attendance for each period of study, the courses taken and passed for each period of study, the grades, the degree awarded, and the date the degree was awarded.
  • Degree Certificate.If the official transcript does not clearly state the degree awarded and/or the date such degree was awarded, you must also furnish the degree certificate.
  • Proof of fulfillment of the educational requirements for admission to the practice of law in the foreign country.
  • A written statement from the competent accrediting agency of your foreign government noting that the law school or schools you attended were recognized by them as qualified and approved throughout your period of study.
  • Certificate of Attendance Form.Applicants relying on the cure provision must have his or her law school submit the LL.M. Certificate of Attendance Form directly to the State Board of Law Examiners together with an official transcript.

*If the law school transcripts, degree certificate, or any of the other documentation requested above are not in English, you must also furnish English translations of the documents prepared by an official translator. Translations made by the applicant will not be accepted.

2. Wait for a determination on your eligibility to take the exam BEFORE submitting the application to sit for the bar and paying the application fee. This fee will not be refunded if you are deemed ineligible or if a determination cannot be made in time for the exam for which you applied.

3. Once you have been notified that you are eligible to take the bar exam, submit online application, accompanying forms, and fees.

4. Read the New York Bar Exam Information Guide for more details.

Examination Online Foreign Evaluation Deadline Applications Available Final Filing Deadline
Last Tuesday and Wednesday of February  October 1 November 1 November 30
Last Tuesday and Wednesday of July  March 1 April 1 April 30

* Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE):
The MPRE is administered three times each year, in March, August and November. Applications and information regarding the MPRE is available from NCBE at http://www.ncbex.org/about-ncbe-exams/mpre/.

NEW Skills Competency and Professional Values Bar Admission Requirement (Rule 520.18)

For LL.M. students enrolling in any U.S. program starting in Fall 2018, the New York Board of Law Examiners has instituted a new Skills Competency and Professional Values Bar Admission Requirement (Rule 520.18) for any foreign-trained attorney wishing to become a licensed NY bar lawyer. In addition to passing the NY Bar exam and before being sworn into the bar (there is a grace period of 3 years between the exam and the required in-person, swearing-in ceremony), there are other expectations in terms of professional skills that applicants must show. Please read here for more details on the different pathways in which an aspiring foreign-trained lawyer may complete this professional skills requirement. For our purposes, any student who does not have at least one year of full-time legal work experience can qualify to fulfill this Skills Competency and Professional Values Requirement by completing the Moritz Pathway 1 curriculum, available here. The Assistant Dean will provide academic counseling and support to students wanting to complete the Pathway 1 requirements as part of their LLM.