The New York State Bar

New York City Skyscrappers with River in background

 

 

The New York Bar Exam is administered by the New York State Board of Law Examiners (BOLE). NY has adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and offers the exam twice a year, in February and July. 

Eligibility

To be eligible for admission to the NY Bar, applicants must meet the following eligibility:

50 hour Pro Bono Requirement 

All candidates seeking admission after January 1, 2015, with the exception of admission on motion candidates, will need to file documentation showing that they have completed 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work.

  • Applicants will need to complete the 50 hours of pro bono work before they are admitted to the bar, but can sit for the bar exam prior to completing the pro bono requirement.
  • If you are currently a law student at an American Bar Association-approved law school, eligible pro bono work performed at any time after you commenced your legal education will qualify to meet the Requirement, as long as the work does not violate any of your law school's regulations or policies about student employment or volunteer activities.
  • Applicants need to complete a Form Affidavit of Compliance for each pro bono activity. This form can be completed as you complete each activity.

New York Law Course (NYLC)

The NYLC is an online, on demand course on important and unique principles of New York law. The NYLC consists of approximately 17 hours of recorded lectures with embedded questions which must be answered correctly before an applicant may continue viewing the lecture. An applicant must complete all of the videos before the applicant may register for the New York Law Exam (NYLE). You must view each lecture in its entirety and at its normal speed. Your time viewing each video segment will be audited by the Board. Advancing or speeding up the video by any means is strictly prohibited. Failure to view each lecture in its entirety and at its normal speed may result in the institution of misconduct charges.

  • The NYLC is available through the applicants BOLE account.
  • The NYLC cannot be taken more than 1 year prior to sitting for the Bar exam.
  • Applicants must apply for admission to the bar within 3 years of passing the UBE or they will have to complete the NYLC again.
  • There is no fee associated with the NYLC.

New York Law Exam (NYLE)

The NYLE is a 50 item, two hour, open book, multiple choice test administered online. It tests important New York rules on the topics from the NYLC.

The NYLE is offered four times per year. Failure to take and pass the NYLE before the results of any given UBE are released may result in a delay in admission. Third-year law students taking a July UBE are particularly encouraged to take and pass the NYLE before the UBE results are released in late October.

Applicants are able to register for the NYLE once they have completed the NYLC and will register through their BOLE account. The deadline to register for the NYLE is 30 days prior to the date of the NYLE.

There is a $29 fee for the NYLE which is payable to Examsoft.

The passing score on the NYLE is 60% (an applicant must answer 30 out of the 50 items correctly). An applicant who fails the NYLE will be required to retake both the NYLC and the NYLE. Results are generally available within two weeks from the date of the NYLE, and applicants will be notified by email when results have been posted to their BOLE Account in the Applicant Services Portal.

The NYLC and NYLE are not required to be completed prior to taking the bar exam, but will be required prior to being admitted to the Bar. Once an applicant passes the Bar exam, they have 3 years to successfully complete both the NYLC and NYLE and apply for admission to the bar.

Skills and Competency Requirement

This new provision requires applicants seeking admission in New York to establish that they have acquired skills and professional values necessary to competently practice law. We anticipate that all of our J.D. students who apply for admission to the New York Bar will be certified for admission through Pathway 1, which requires each school to identify and incorporate into its curriculum the “skills and professional values” necessary for its graduates’ “basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession,” as required by American Bar Association Standard 302(a), (b), (c), and (d). Accordingly, the Law School will certify graduates who have successfully completed the following as satisfying the skills competency requirement under Pathway One. Please note that successful completion is defined as earning a passing final grade in each class.

  • A foundational legal research and writing course
  • A scholarly research and writing project under faculty supervision
  • At least 20 credits in classes designated as meeting the Law School’s core requirement
  • One course designated as meeting the professional responsibility requirement
  • 8 credits of coursework designated as meeting the experiential learning requirement

MPRE

All applicants who pass the bar examination must also take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), before they may be admitted to practice law in New York.

  • The passing score in New York for the MPRE is 85.

Applicants do not have to pass the MPRE before taking the bar exam, but will not be admitted to the bar until a passing score is obtained. Consider taking the MPRE well in advance of the bar exam to prevent delays in admission. 

Bar Exam Application

Applications for the NY Bar Exam must be completed during the Bar Exam Application Filing Periods. For applicants interested in taking the February Bar exam the filing period is November 1 – November 30. For applicants interested in taking the July bar exam the filing period is April 1 – April 30.

To apply for the NY Bar Exam, applicants must:

  1. Create NCBE Account – Applicants may already have an account with the National Conference of Bar Examiners. If so no need to make another account, but rather you will use your NCBE number from your account.
  2. Create BOLE Account – The NY bar application will be completed online, so applicants will be required to create an account with the NY Board of Law Examiners.
  3. Complete the Bar Exam Application - At the time of application for the UBE, you will be required to certify that you satisfy the NY eligibility requirements. Applicants will need to answer specific questions about the number of credits they completed in various types of offerings, including clinical coursework, field placement programs, joint degree courses, study of law in a foreign country, etc. It is helpful to have your transcript available while you are completing the application.
    • Your answers to these questions will be used to generate a Certificate of Attendance form. The Registrar’s Office will Certify your Attendance after graduation directly to New York state as long as you have completed the Bar Authorization Form. The Registrar’s Office will review the form and make any necessary adjustments.

Laptop Program

In order to be approved to use a laptop for the NY Bar exam, applications must indicate in their bar application that they plan to participate in the Laptop program. After the bar application filing period, applicants who elected to participate in the laptop program will receive an email with instructions for purchasing the software and registering their laptop. Applicants must provide own laptop and should check minimum requirements before exam. Failure to elect to participate in the laptop program or register the laptop in a timely fashion will result in having to handwrite the exam.

Accommodations

It is the policy of the New York State Board of Law Examiners to provide non-standard testing accommodations (“NTA”) to applicants with disabilities for the bar examination and the New York Law Exam (NYLE) to the extent such accommodations are timely requested, reasonable, not unduly burdensome, consistent with the nature and purpose of the examination and necessitated by the applicant's disability.

  • Applicants requesting accommodations will complete the application either online through their BOLE account or can may still physically mail a signed and completed application to the BOLE.
  • Accommodations for applications must be received before or during the filing period for the Bar exam application.
    • Accommodations for the NYLE must be received 90 days prior to the exam for new applicants and 30 days prior for re-applicants.
  • A request for NTA may be made as early as six months prior to the date of the examination.  Applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as they know they will be requesting accommodations.