NYS Board of Law Examiners

 
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Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm Eastern Time

The New York State Board of Law Examiners

Operating under the auspices of the New York State Court of Appeals, the New York State Board of LawPicture of NYS Court of Appeals 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.

NOTICES:

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The February 2015 Bar Examination application period runs from Saturday, November 1 through Sunday, November 30.
There is no provision for late applications. The Board’s office is closed on weekends as well as on the following holidays: November 4 (Election Day), November 11 (Veteran’s Day) and November 27 (Thanksgiving). The Board does not receive mail or phone calls on these days. You are strongly encouraged to apply during normal business hours on or before Friday, November 28 so that you can contact the Board should you have any difficulties with the application.


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(1) 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


(2) UNIFORM BAR EXAMINATION (UBE)
        UPDATED NOVEMBER 12, 2014

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). On October 6, 2014, the Court of Appeals issued a Request for Public Comment on the proposal eliciting comments by November 7, 2014. On November 12, 2014, the Court announced that it is extending the comment period on the UBE to March 1, 2015. The Court will also be appointing a study committee to examine all matters related to the proposed adoption of the UBE in New York. 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. Instructions for submitting comments on the UBE are included in the November 12, 2014 press release, which is available by clicking the following link:

New York Court of Appeals Request for Comment_Nov_12_2014



(3) 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:

Content Outline



(4) 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


(5) 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.

(6) 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.

(7) 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.


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        opens November 1, 2014