The New York State Board of Law ExaminersOperating under the auspices of the New York State Court of Appeals, the New York State Board of Law Examiners is responsible for administering the bar examination to candidates seeking admission to practice law in the State of New York.
The Board has been in existence for over a hundred years, having been created by the New York State Legislature in 1894.
Its five members are attorneys appointed by the Court of Appeals. The Board maintains a business office in Albany, New York with a full-time staff that oversees the bar examination.
The bar examination is administered twice per year, on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. In 2014, the Board processed 17,010 applications for the bar examination and examined 15,227 applicants.
(1) FEBRUARY 2015 BAR EXAM APPLICANTS
UPDATED JANUARY 21, 2015
The application filing period for the February 2015 Bar Examination is now closed. There is no provision for the filing of late applications.
The laptop registration period is now closed. No requests for extension of the laptop registration period will be considered.
Supporting Documentation:First-time applicants for the February 2015 bar exam are reminded that the deadline for receipt of the completed Certificate of Attendance form and Handwriting Sample is February 1, 2015. The Certificate of Attendance form for JD applicants and the Handwriting Sample form were emailed to first-time applicants on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Foreign-educated applicants who require an LL.M. degree from an ABA approved law school in the United States to qualify to sit for the bar exam must download the LL.M. Certificate of Attendance form at http://www.nybarexam.org/Docs/LLMCertificateofAttendanceForm.pdf and submit it to the Board along with a transcript and the Handwriting Sample by no later than February 1, 2015. Foreign-educated applicants from common law countries, who are not required to complete an LL.M program to satisfy the educational requirements under the Rules, must submit all of their foreign law school documentation and the Handwriting Sample by February 1, 2015. Re-applicants who have already been qualified by the Board to sit for the bar exam do not need to re-submit any documentation.(2) UNIFORM BAR EXAMINATION (UBE)
UPDATED JANUARY 21, 2015
The New York State Board of Law Examiners has recommended to the New York Court of Appeals that the current bar examination be replaced with the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). In November 2014, the Court of Appeals appointed an Advisory Committee to study the proposed adoption of the UBE in New York. The Advisory Committee has scheduled public hearings on the UBE. Additional information about the Advisory Committee, its mission and the dates for the public hearings is located on the Committee’s website at www.nycourts.gov/ip/bar-exam/. In the meantime, the UBE will NOT be implemented for the July 2015 bar examination but rather, the current format of the exam will continue to be administered until further notice.
(3) AMENDMENTS TO SECTION 520.3 OF THE RULES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS
UPDATED NOVEMBER 24, 2014
The Court of Appeals has amended section 520.3 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law, which pertains to the study of law in an approved law school. The amendments, to be effective December 10, 2014, are largely driven by recent changes to the ABA Standards for the Approval of Law Schools. Of the various revisions to section 520.3, the most significant changes are to the Court's provisions regarding distance education. The number of credits students may earn in distance education courses will be increased from 12 to 15 and the limitation on the number of distance education credits that may be earned in a single semester will be deleted. Further, section 520.3 will allow students to earn credits in asynchronous distance education courses, provided the courses meet certain criteria specified in the Rule. In addition to the changes made to the distance education provisions, certain requirements of section 520.3 that unnecessarily duplicate ABA Standards are removed. The Court also clarifies the requirements regarding students who earn credit toward their J.D. degree for the study of law in a foreign country. A few additional minor amendments are made to other Rule provisions. The language of section 520.6(b)(3)(vi), which pertains to the courses that a foreign-educated bar applicant must complete in an LL.M. program, is modified to broaden course selection. Additionally, a cross-reference to Rule 520.17 is inserted in section 520.2. A copy of the order amending the Rules is available by clicking the following link:
Court of Appeals Notice & Order Amending Section 520.3
(4) CHANGES TO CONTENT OF THE BAR EXAM
POSTED AUGUST 21, 2014
Effective with the July 2014 bar exam, the Board will no longer test UCC Article 3 – Negotiable Instruments – on the New York portion of the bar exam. Effective with the February 2015 exam, Administrative Law will be added and Federal Civil Practice and Procedure will be removed from the list of subject matters tested on the New York portion of the bar exam. Federal Civil Practice and Procedure will be tested on the MBE commencing with the February 2015 bar exam. A revised content outline reflecting the changes to the New York portion of the bar exam is now available at:
(5) NEW PRO BONO SCHOLARS PROGRAM
POSTED MAY 28, 2014
Announced by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in his 2014 State of the Judiciary Address, the Pro Bono Scholars Program (PBSP) allows students in their final year of law school to devote their last semester of study to performing pro bono service for the poor through an approved externship program, law school clinic, legal services provider, law firm or corporation. Students accepted into the PBSP will be allowed to take the New York State bar examination in February of their final year of study, before they graduate, and students who successfully complete the PBSP will be eligible for accelerated admission to the bar. More information on the PBSP can be found at http://www.nycourts.gov/ATTORNEYS/probonoscholars/index.shtml
(6) NCBE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER:
In order to apply for the July 2014 bar examination (application opens on April 1, 2014), you must have an NCBE Identification Number. If you do not have one, you must visit www.ncbex.org/ncbe-number and complete the brief application to receive your NCBE Number. If you already have an NCBE Number do not request a new number. We will be verifying the validity of the NCBE Number you enter on your application. If you enter an invalid NCBE Number your application will be nullified and you may be subject to misconduct charges for furnishing misleading or inaccurate information.
(7) DEADLINE TO SUBMIT SUPPORTING FOREIGN DOCUMENTATION FOR REVIEW:
- July Bar Exam – To meet the six month deadline for review of your documents, you must submit your Foreign Evaluation Form and supporting foreign documentation no later than October 1st of the year preceding the exam you plan to sit.
- February Exam – To meet the six month deadline for review of your documents, you must submit your Foreign Evaluation Form and supporting documentation no later than May 1st of the year preceding the exam you plan to sit.
LLM applicants who fail to meet these deadlines run the risk that they may not receive a decision from the Board on their eligibility in time to take the exam, causing the application to be denied and the application fee to be forfeited.(8) NEW 50 HOUR PRO BONO REQUIREMENT
POSTED SEPT 19, 2012
Beginning in January 2013, a new rule affecting bar admission in New York will be in effect. 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, as required by Rule 520.16 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals. For further information regarding the implementation and requirements of the new rule, along with Frequently Asked Questions, please visit http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreqs.shtml. The FAQs contain information on the web address in the event that you have an inquiry.
opens November 1, 2014