The New York State Board of Law Examiners ,Corporate Plaza, Building 3 – 254 Washington Avenue Extension Albany, NY 12203-5195

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Juris Doctor Graduates of ABA approved Law Schools

Prospective applicants for the New York bar examination who are pursuing a Juris Doctor degree at a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) should be aware that the requirements of Rule 520.3 may be more restrictive than the ABA standards. Graduation from an ABA approved law school does not automatically qualify an applicant to sit for the New York bar examination.

Approved Law Schools. The law school which the applicant attended must have been approved by the ABA during all periods of the applicant’s attendance and must be located in the United States or its territories. Provisional ABA approval is acceptable provided that the law school had provisional status during all periods of the applicant’s attendance. If the law school did not have ABA approval during all periods of the applicant’s attendance, it will be necessary for the applicant to petition the Court of Appeals under Section 520.14 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals, for a waiver of strict compliance with the provisions of Section 520.3 of the Court Rules. Applicants who will need to petition the Court of Appeals for a waiver should do so as early as possible and preferably no later than 60 days prior to the date of the bar examination.

Overview of Instructional, Credit Hour and Course of Study Requirements (Applicants should read Rule 520.3 in its entirety for all requirements):

  • Program and course of study at ABA approved law school must be completed no earlier than 24 months and no later than 60 months after commencement of all law study.
  • A student is not permitted to enroll in coursework that exceeds 20% of total coursework required for graduation.
  • At least 83 credits hours must be required for graduation.
  • At least 64 of the 83 credit hours must be earned in classroom study.
  • At least 2 credit hours must be earned in a course in professional responsibility.
  • Up to 30 credits hours may be granted for clinical courses, field placements programs and externships (including classroom components), within defined parameters, toward the 83 credit hours.
  • Up to 12 credit hours may be awarded toward the 83 credit hours (but not the 64 classroom credit hours) for joint degree or other courses taught at another school within the university or at a school affiliated with law school.
  • Up to 12 credit hours of synchronous distance education courses, within defined parameters, may be included in the 83 credit hours and the 64 classroom credit hours.
  • No more than one-third of total credits required for graduation may come from study in a foreign country.

Proof of Compliance Required for Graduates of ABA Approved Law Schools. Applicants qualifying to sit for the bar examination under Section 520.3 must file with the Board a completed Certificate of Law School Attendance Form, together with the completed Specimen of Applicant’s Handwriting Form, no later than February 1st for the February exam and no later than June 15th for the July exam.


Law degrees obtained by way of correspondence, external, internet or self study do not qualify an individual to take the New York bar examination.