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) UNIFORM BAR EXAMINATION (UBE)
UPDATED MAY 5, 2015
The New York Court of Appeals has adopted the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) that New York adopt the UBE effective July 2016. The Advisory Committee also recommended, and the Court of Appeals adopted, a requirement that applicants for admission in New York be required to complete an online course on New York law and take and pass an online examination on New York law, as a requirement for admission. The report of the Advisory Committee is available on its website at http://www.nycourts.gov/ip/bar-exam/.
The Court of Appeals amended sections 520.2, 520.7, 520.8 520.9 and 520.12 of its Rules to reflect the adoption of the UBE. The Court of Appeals also made a minor change to the Rules not related to the UBE. New language was added to section 520.16, pertaining to the 50-hour pro bono requirement for admission, to clarify the date after which eligible pro bono work must be performed. A copy of the Notice to the Bar and the amended Rules is available by clicking the following link: Court of Appeals Notice & Order Amending Court Rules.
(2) JULY 2015 BAR EXAM APPLICANTS
UPDATED JUNE 4 , 2015
The application filing period for the July 2015 bar exam is now closed. The laptop registration period closed on May 28, 2015. The deadline will not be extended.
Seating Locations - An email was sent on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 to all candidates who applied to sit for the July 2015 New York State bar examination that includes a link to choose a seat location. The link directs candidates to choose a location from a list of locations with available seats. As locations fill up, they will disappear from the list on the link. There will NOT be a waiting list for any location. Candidates must choose a seat location by 9:00AM (EST) on Monday, June 8. Any candidate who does not confirm their seat location by that time will automatically be assigned to a location with available seating. Admission tickets will be issued approximately two weeks before the date of the exam to applicants who satisfy the eligibility requirements to sit for the bar exam under the Rules of the Court of Appeals.
Court Orders - Please note that, effective March 1, 2015, all Court orders permitting applicants to sit for the bar examination in New York will apply to any future administration of the bar examination, subject to the rules and procedures of the New York State Board of Law Examiners. In addition, the Court will no longer require re-petitions from applicants who previously received exam-specific orders for earlier administrations of the bar examination.
(3) AMENDMENT TO SECTION 520.6 OF THE RULES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS (LL.M. Program of Study)
POSTED JUNE 30, 2015
The Court of Appeals has amended section 520.6(b)(3)(vi)(d) of the Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law, which pertains to the LL.M. program of study that must be completed by applicants with a deficiency in their foreign legal education. The amendment clarifies that the LL.M. program must include, among other things, a minimum of six credits in courses that principally focus on subject matter tested on the New York State bar examination or the New York Law Examination, the 50-question exam that will become a requirement for admission once the Uniform Bar Examination is implemented in July 2016. Courses that were previously approved by the Court of Appeals will remain approved after adoption of the UBE unless there has been a substantial change in course content.
(4) 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
(5) 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:
(6) 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
(7) NCBE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER:
In order to apply for the New York bar examination, you must have an NCBE Identification Number. If you do not have one, you must visit https://accounts.ncbex.org 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.
(8) 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.(9) 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, 2015