By Chris Jorgenson,
BARBRI International Legal Manager
Hello again! Chris Jorgenson here, Legal Manager with BARBRI based in London, England.
My previous blog post explained the process for U.S. qualification in California as an internationally trained law graduate or lawyer. Now I’d like to address the same details for the New York Bar Exam.
YOUR UNDERGRADUATE LAW DEGREE MATTERS
New York hangs its eligibility determination on the nature of the undergraduate law degree achieved. A three-year or four-year full-time LL.B. from a common law jurisdiction is required. The curriculum needs to be on campus and amount to 166 European Credit Transfer System credits.
Usually completing an LL.M. from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) can resolve any deficiencies in an LL.B. that does not meet the above-listed criteria. Lately, we have seen the New York State Bar Association being slightly less strict in adhering to these parameters. By way of example, an accelerated two-year LL.B. program has qualified for eligibility. This suggests that New York eligibility determinations are being made more on a case-by-case basis.
ONLY THE STATE BAR ASSOCIATION CAN CONFIRM ELIGIBILITY
It is important to note that the only arbiter of New York Bar Exam eligibility is the New York State Bar Association. No other state governing body can confirm eligibility to sit the New York Bar Exam. Confirming eligibility can take between 4-to-6 months, so it is important that as a prospective bar exam candidate, you begin the process early.
EXAM DETAILS: DATES, FORMAT, SUBJECTS, SCORING
The two-day New York Bar Exam is offered twice a year during the last week of February and last week of July. It’s administered only in New York, requiring an international candidate to travel to the United States to sit the exam.
There are seven core Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) subjects tested: Constitutional Law, Contracts/Sales, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Federal Civil Procedure, Real Property and Torts. In addition, the New York Bar Exam’s Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) subjects cover: Business Associations, Conflict of Laws, Family Law, Trusts and Estates and the Uniform Commercial Code (Secured Transactions).
Day One of the bar exam consists of a morning session: two 90-minute Multistate Performance Tests (MPTs) and an afternoon session: six 30-minute essay questions that could be drawn from any MEE subject. Day two of the exam: 200 multiple-choice questions testing the seven core MBE subjects (100 questions in the morning and 100 questions in the afternoon).
New York also requires applicants to successfully complete the New York Law Course and pass an open book New York Law Exam, both of which are offered online.
The New York State Bar Association weighs the MBE portion 50%, the written MEE portion 30% and MPTs 20%. A combined passing score of 266 is required.
In addition to passing the New York Bar exam, you must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), a 60-question multiple-choice professional ethics exam that is offered three times each year (usually in March, August and November). An applicant must take the MPRE inside the United States, but may do so in any U.S. state.
We provide the game plan for successfully navigating the New York Bar exam through flexible study options to accommodate varying schedules. BARBRI International offers both 6-month and 10-month International Bar Preparation programmes and both home study and classroom/home study hybrid programmes. Learn more by clicking here.