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George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Bar Exam Support Guide

Essential information, tips, and skills that can be utilized on the bar exam.

Jurisdiction-Specific Information: New York

New York Bar Admission

On this page:

NY State Bar Examination Dates

NY State Applications and Instructions

Uniform Bar Examination Information Guide for NY Applicants

NY State Law Course Format

See also:

Accommodations for Law Students with Disabilities

Character and Fitness

Exam Topics and Suggested Course

NYS Board of Law Examiners
Corporate Plaza – Building 3
245 Washington Avenue Ext.
Albany, N.Y. 12203-5195
518-452-8700
800-342-3335 (in NY only)

NY State Bar Examination Dates

You should apply online at www.nybarexam.org during the open registration period.

Dates of Bar Exam Application Filing Dates
February 25-26, 2020 November 1 – 30, 2019
July 28-29, 2020 April 1 – 30, 2020
February 23-24, 2021 November 1 – 30, 2020
July 27-28, 2021 April 1 – 30, 2021
February 22-23, 2022 November 1 – 30, 2021
July 26-27, 2022 April 1 – 30, 2022
February 21-22, 2023 November 1 – 30, 2022
July 25-26, 2023 April 1 – 30, 2023
 

New York Bar Application and Instructions

 

In addition to successfully passing the bar exam and the MPRE, New York also requires all applicants, prior to admission, to (1) complete 50 hours of pro bono work; (2) complete the New York Law Course and New York Law Exam; and (3) satisfy the Skills Competency requirement.

1. New York State 50 Hour Pro Bono

The requirement must be satisfied before filing an application for admission. Some or all of the 50 hours can be earned after graduation (including after taking the bar exam), but before filing for admission.  Please visit http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreqs.shtml for more information.

2.  New York Law Course & New York Law Exam 

A candidate seeking admission in New York must take and pass an online course, known as the New York Law Course (NYLC), and an online, open book exam on New York specific law, known as the New York Law Exam (NYLE).  The current rules allow for the course and the exam to be taken prior to or after sitting for the bar exam.  The NYLE is offered four times a year. For more information, included resources and practice questions, visit: http://www.nybarexam.org/Content/CourseMaterials.htm.

3. New York State Skills Competency Requirement for Applicants for Admission to the New York Bar

In December of 2015, the New York Court of Appeals adopted Rule 520.18, modifying the requirements for admission to the New York Bar, by creating a Skills Competency and Professional Values Requirement (“Skills Requirement”).  This requirement is in effect for all J.D. students who begin their studies in August of 2016 or thereafter, and all LLM students who began their program of study in August 1, 2018 or later.

There are five pathways by which law students can qualify for admission to the New York Bar under the Skills Requirement: (1) law school certification of competence in skills and professional values; (2) 15 credits of experiential learning; (3) completion of the Pro Bono Scholars Program; (4) completion of a post-graduate apprenticeship; or (5) practice in another jurisdiction for a specific period.

All Scalia Law J.D. students will be able to satisfy the Skills Requirement under Pathway 1 or 2.

LL.M. students may be able to satisfy the Skills Requirement under Pathway 4 or Pathway 5.  Please note that it is possible for LL.M. students to satisfy the Skills Requirement under Pathway 2.  However, electing this pathway will most likely result in the addition of extra coursework.

These pathways represent requirements for admission solely to the New York Bar; they are not additional requirements for a Scalia Law degree.

Prior to applying to the New York Bar, all students should review carefully the information provided by the New York Court of Appeals as well as the FAQs

 

Skills Competency Requirement for JD candidates

This section summarizes the requirements of New York Court of Appeals Rule 520.18 for JD students entering the JD program on or after August 2016; it does not displace an individual’s responsibility to read, understand, and comply with any of the New York Bar rules and regulations, including Section 520.18.  Moreover, only the New York Board of Law Examiners (and ultimately the New York Court of Appeals) can determine eligibility to sit for the New York Bar exam.

Pathway 1

Pathway 1 allows applicants to satisfy the skills competency requirement by submitting a certification from their law school confirming that (1) the school’s curriculum incorporates the teaching of skills and professional values required for participation in the legal profession, and (2) that the applicant has acquired sufficient competency in those skills and sufficient familiarity with those values.

Scalia Law School’s J.D. requirements offers all J.D. students, including transfer students, the means to acquire and graduate with the skills and values required for legal practice and qualify for admission to the New York Bar under Pathway 1.  The Law School faculty is committed to ensuring that the intent of Pathway 1 of the Skills Requirement is met, and has developed learning outcomes that guide the curriculum from which each J.D. student will be choosing courses that meet this requirement.

Scalia Law has determined that graduates are prepared for “basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession” (22 NYCRR 520.18[a][1][i][a]) if they:

(a) Satisfy the degree requirements for the J.D., and

(b) Achieve a passing grade in the coursework specified below.

Successful compliance with both requirements will be taken as satisfactory evidence that the J.D. student has demonstrated compliance with Section 520.18’s Pathway 1 requirement under our plan of curriculum.

For information on course requirements, see JD Curriculum.

For information on individual courses, see Course Descriptions.

Pathway 2

Pathway 2 permits an applicant to submit proof that the applicant has satisfied 15 credits of practice-based experiential course work, as defined by American Bar Association Standards for the Approval of Law Schools, of practice-based experiential coursework designed to foster the development of professional competencies.

New York has provided an illustrative list of categories that can be used as guide to help applicants determine whether or not a course will satisfy this requirement:

“Examples of offerings that constitute practice-based experiential courses satisfying the skills and professional values competency requirement include, but are not limited to: … Client Service and Business Development; Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration and other alternate dispute resolution methods;… Cultural Competency; Collaboration or Project Management; Financial Analysis (e.g., accounting, budgeting, project management and valuation); … Use of Technology, Data Analyses, or Predictive Coding; Business Strategy and Behavior….”

Given Scalia Law’s list of required courses, J.D. candidates will satisfy at least 11 of the required 15 credits:

NY’s Qualifying Course Categories Scalia’s Required Courses Credits
     
Advanced Legal Writing[1] Trial-Level Writing (II) 1[2]
  Appellate Writing (III) 2
Applied Legal Writing Transactional Drafting & Practice (formerly “Legal Drafting”) (IV) 2
Applied Legal Strategy and Problem Solving Legislation and Statutory Interpretation 2
Professional Civility and Applied Ethics Professional Responsibility[3] 2
[Other Experiential Courses] Economics for Lawyers[4] 2
  Experiential Course[5] 2 (+)
  TOTAL 13

[1] Excludes purely academic papers.

[2] Although Trial-Level Writing is a 3-credit course, New York does not allow the first 4 credits earned in a first-year legal writing course to be applied to this pathway.  Since Intro to LWRA is 2 credits, and this course is 3 credits, the excess credit may be applied to this pathway.

[3] If the Professional Responsibility course is devoted solely to doctrinal instruction, then it does not qualify.  In order to qualify, the course must include practical training skills.

[4] It is within the law school’s discretion to determine whether a course constitutes “practice-based experiential coursework designed to foster the development of professional competencies.” See 22 NYCRR 520.18[a][2].  With this in mind, we should determine if this course qualifies.  Examples of other courses that have been deemed to meet this standard, include “Financial Analysis (e.g. accounting, budgeting, project management and valuation)” and “Cost Benefit Analysis in Administrative Agencies.”

[5] This would include: Alternative Dispute Resolution (2); Appellate Advocacy (2); Federal Practice Seminar (2); Negotiations and Legal Settlement (3); Trial Advocacy (2); Preparing To Be A Law Clerk (2/3); Legal Practicum (3); Mediation (2); Moot Court (3), Clinics (3), and Externships (1-3).

 

As explained in Footnote 3, Professional Responsibility may not meet New York’s skill requirement. If so, this would reduce the number of applicable credits to eleven (11).
The remaining 2-4 credits, however, may easily be satisfied through the student’s natural selection of courses or summer work. Consider the following:

I. Other Experiential Courses
Scalia Law offers a host of experiential learning courses. See Footnote 8 for a sample of some of the courses offered. Any student completing at least 2 of these courses will meet the requirements for this path.

II. Tracks
Each Track requires the student to take additional experiential courses. The applicable required track courses will generally account for an additional 3-4 credits. Thus, any student who has elected to follow a track will meet this pathway.

III. Moot Court, Trial Advocacy or Clinics
All faculty-supervised, credit-bearing courses will count towards pathway 2 (provided it meets the requirements set in 22 NYCRR 520.18[a][2][i]). Additionally, there is no limit to the amount of credits a school can award for these experiences to count toward pathway 2. Therefore, any student participating in these activities will easily make-up the remaining 2 credits needed for pathway 2.

IV. Non-credit bearing summer employment
Up to 6 of the required 15 credits can be earned in a law school certified non-credit bearing summer employment program. Although several components must be met in order to meet this standard, so long as the student is engaged in qualifying, full-time summer employment, the remaining credits can be met through this activity.

V. A combination of any of the above-referenced options
Given that students are allowed to combine credit and non-credit bearing activities, students may easily satisfy pathway 2 by (a) completing all required courses; and (b) completing at least one course (or the equivalent of one course in the case of summer employment) in two of the categories listed above.

Joint Degree Candidates
New York has provided an illustrative list of categories that can be used as guide to help students determine whether or not a course will satisfy this requirement:

“Examples of offerings that constitute practice-based experiential courses satisfying the skills and professional values competency requirement include, but are not limited to: … Client Service and Business Development; Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration and other alternate dispute resolution methods;… Cultural Competency; Collaboration or Project Management; Financial Analysis (e.g., accounting, budgeting, project management and valuation); … Use of Technology, Data Analyses, or Predictive Coding; Business Strategy and Behavior….”

Given the breadth of these categories, joint degree candidates may naturally meet this standard. For example, the JD/MBA candidates are required to take a series of finance and management courses. The JD/MPP candidates must complete “Culture, Organization, and Technology” and “Stat Methods in Policy Analysis.” For both programs, these course would most likely fall under “Financial Analysis” or “Business Development.” Each program also allows for the candidates to take a series of electives. The JD/MBA electives include “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (3) and “Negotiation and Legal Settlement” (2). Therefore, even if the MBA requirements would not meet New York’s requirement, these students could still seek to take 1-2 electives to make up the remaining 2-4 credits.

 

Skills Competency Requirement for LL.M. Candidates

This section summarizes the requirements of New York Court of Appeals Rule 520.18 for LL.M. students entering the LL.M. program on or after August 1, 2018; it does not displace an individual’s responsibility to read, understand, and comply with any of the New York Bar rules and regulations, including Section 520.18.  Moreover, only the New York Board of Law Examiners (and ultimately the New York Court of Appeals) can determine eligibility to sit for the New York Bar exam.

LL.M. students seeking admission to New York will most likely be able to satisfy the Skills Requirement under Pathway 4 or Pathway 5.  Although LL.M. applicants must meet specific academic credit load and coursework requirements, due to the program’s 1-year duration, LL.M. students cannot meet the requirements under Pathway 1.  Additionally, while Pathway 2 (explained above) may be an option, given the requirements to satisfy Pathway 2, LL.M. students should expect to extend their course of study at Scalia Law for at least one more semester. For this reason, Pathway 4 or Pathway 5 is likely a better option.

Pathway 4 (“Apprenticeship”)

Pathway 4 allows an applicant to meet the Skills Requirement by completing a full-time paid or unpaid apprenticeship after completion of their foreign law degree.  The apprenticeship must be for at least a continuous 6-months duration in a law office in the United States, under the supervision of one or more attorneys who have, for at least two years, been admitted to practice and in good standing in the jurisdiction where the apprenticeship occurs.

For an applicant who is unable to secure an apprenticeship in the United States, the applicant may complete the apprenticeship in a law office in another country, territory or commonwealth outside the continental United States, under the supervision of one or more attorneys who have, for at least two years, been in good standing and authorized to practice law in that country, territory or commonwealth.

In countries, territories or commonwealths that permit the practice of law without formal admission, supervision by a law graduate who has not been formally admitted to the bar may suffice as long as the supervisor is authorized to engage in the relevant practice under the jurisdiction’s rules, is in full compliance with the jurisdiction’s rules, and has had at least two years of experience in the relevant practice.

Pathway 5 (“Authorized Practice of Law in Another Jurisdiction”)

Pathway 5 allows an applicant who has been authorized to practice law in another state, or in a commonwealth, territory or country outside the United States, to meet the skills competency requirement by establishing that the applicant has been in good standing and practiced law full-time for one year or part-time for two years. Prior legal practice may qualify even if it occurred without formal admission to the bar if the applicant engaged in lawful practice in a country, territory or commonwealth that permits legal practice without formal admission to the bar, and if the prior practice was for at least one year or half-time for two years, in full compliance with the jurisdiction’s rules.

Questions regarding the information on this page can be directed to Amanda E. Compton, Director of Bar Support and Instructor.

 

Related Documents:

Skills Competency Affidavit Form (to be completed for Pathways 1-5)

Skills Competency Requirement Frequently Asked Questions

NY Bar Exam Information Guide

 

Page last updated: January 2020