How to Apply for the New York Bar Exam

How to Apply for the New York Bar Exam

When you want to take the New York State bar exam, it’s important to be well-prepared. Although New York has adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) along with 39 other U.S. jurisdictions, bar exam registration and admission requirements are different in each state. As a result, you should always check the application requirements set forth by the board of law examiners or other licensing authority for the jurisdiction in which you seek licensure.

Read on to learn about registering for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in New York and what you need to know about passing this important test.

Where to apply for the UBE

To apply for the UBE in any state, you must first obtain an identification number issued by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE)—the organization that develops and administers the UBE. This will require you to create an NCBE account and complete a brief application. Keep this number safe since you are only able to obtain one number and you will likely need to provide it in your bar application!

Once you have your NCBE identification number, New York bar applications must create an account with the New York State Board of Law Examiners (BOLE). When you create this account, you will need to provide the following information:

  • name 
  • date of birth 
  • email address 
  • NCBE identification number

You can then apply to the exam by clicking the “Bar Exam Application” link located in your BOLE account and at the bottom of the BOLE homepage.  Once you create your BOLE account, you will receive a unique BOLE identification number. Additionally, the BOLE will contact you through the email provided, so make sure this information is kept up to date!

You should receive email communications from the BOLE through the email you provided when forms and other information is available to you based on the exam for which you indicated interest. However, it is still your professional responsibility to know the deadlines and dates for your bar application and the exam.

Fees Associated With the Application 

The typical fee for the Uniform Bar Examination in New York is $250. If you studied law in a foreign country, the fee for your exam is $750. If you use a laptop for the exam, there’s a $100 technology fee.

Where to Find the Required Application Documents 

You can find the Bar Exam forms in your legal education provider’s registrar’s office. You can also find them on the websites of the New York Solicitor General and the New York State Board of Law Examiners. You can also complete an online, electronic application during the application filing period through your BOLE account.  The filing period is typically from November 1 to 30 for the February bar exam administration and April 1 to 20 for the July bar exam administration.  

New York Bar Pro Bono Requirements and Forms

Remember that New York requires 50 hours of pro bono work under the supervision of licensed attorneys. You can do this work in any legal specialty. The practicing attorney you work with must be in good standing with the state court and be in the active practice of law. You need to complete the pro bono work before you can get licensed to practice law by the New York judicial system. You must complete the form and submit it electronically to the state of New York.

Other Admission Requirements for the New York Bar

In addition to the pro bono requirement, applications to the New York bar must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.  Information about this exam can be found on the NCBE’s website.  

You will also need to complete the New York Law Course—an online course in New York-specific law—and then pass an online examination called the New York Law Exam. There is no fee to take this course, but there is a $27 fee to take this exam. 

If you started your law school studies after August 1, 2016, then you must comply with the Skills Competency Requirement.  This requires you to demonstrate that you have the skills and values necessary to provide effective, ethical, and responsible legal services in New York.  You can meet this requirement by submitting proof of compliance under any of the following subdivisions: 

  • Law school certification of competence in skills and professional values 
  • Law school certification of credit acquisition 
  • Pro Bono Scholars Program 
  • Six-month apprenticeship 
  • Practice in another jurisdiction for at least one year 

Lastly, you will need to satisfy the character and fitness requirement. This must be done after you take the bar exam.  The Department of the Appellate Division responsible for assessing your character and fitness will email you an application package. More information is provided on the BOLE website.

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