New York Bar Exam Eligibility Requirements
There are important differences between the New York State bar exam eligibility requirements and other states' requirements. For example, students must take professional responsibility in a live format.
A student considering the New York bar exam must consult either Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs Daniel Filler or Senior Associate Dean of Students Kevin P. Oates before his or her second year fall semester and before registering for the bar.
Students are also encouraged to review the New York State Board of Law Examiners Rules for Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law.
New York Pro Bono Scholars Program
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.
Information for Graduates of the Classes of 2009 and 2010
Graduates of the classes of 2009 and 2010 who plan to take the New York bar examination must petition the New York Court of Appeals for a waiver of Rule 520.3(a)(1) of the Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law (“Bar Admission Rules”). This rule provides that an applicant who sits for the New York bar exam must have attended and graduated from a law school that at all times during the period of the applicant’s attendance was approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Because the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law operated under provisional accreditation from the ABA from February 2008 through August 2011 some conditions must be met for members of the Classes of 2009 and 2010. Because of the requirements of Rule 520.3(a)(1), students in the Classes of 2009 and 2010 who were enrolled at the law school prior to the time that the school received its provisional ABA approval must secure a waiver of Rule 520.3(a)(1) in order to sit for the New York bar exam.
Rule 520.14 provides that the New York Court of Appeals may waive a provision of the Bar Admission Rules where strict compliance with the Rules will cause undue hardship. For a detailed explanation by the New York State Bar Examiners of the requirements to sit for the New York bar exam, click on the following link: http://www.nybarexam.org/JD.html. To review Rules 520.3 and 520.14, click on the following link: http://www.nybarexam.org/Rules/Rules.htm.
Each student must individually petition the New York Court of Appeals for a waiver for a specific administration of the bar exam. There is no filing fee and no required form or format for the petition for waiver. You can submit your waiver application either by letter or affidavit. However, the letter or affidavit must be notarized. The original and one copy of the petition should be submitted to Andrew W. Klein, Clerk of the Court, New York Court of Appeals, 20 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12207.
Although petitions are not automatically approved by the Court of Appeals, it is law school's understanding that the court liberally grants waiver petitions for first-time bar exam applicants. Remember, in addition to petitioning for a waiver of Rule 520.3(a)(1), you must also file a timely application with the New York State Bar Examiners to sit for the bar exam. For information about the New York bar exam and application procedure, click on the following link: http://www.nybarexam.org/ Your ticket to take the bar exam will not be issued until the Court of Appeals receives and grants your waiver petition. Therefore, you should submit your waiver petition as soon as you know that you will be taking the New York bar exam.
If you have additional questions about the waiver process, please contact Professor Kraybill, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact the Office for Professional Matters, New York Court of Appeals, at (518) 455-7700.