Academic Services

Bar Exam Rules for Foreign-trained LLMs who take the bar exam PRIOR TO July 2013

Effective Immediately

May 2011

The New York State Court of Appeals has revised Rule 520.6 for foreign-educated students.  The following sections are effective immediately. 

Rule 520.6 (b) Legal Education.

(3) An LLM degree shall be satisfactory to qualify an applicant otherwise meeting the requirements of subsections (b)(1)(ii) or (b)(2) to take the New York State bar examination provided the following requirements are met:

(iii) The program shall include a period of instruction consisting of no fewer than two semesters of at least 13 calendar weeks each, or the equivalent thereof, exclusive of reading periods, examinations and breaks, and shall not be completed exclusively during summer semesters, but a maximum of four semester hours of credit may be earned in courses completed during summer semesters.

(v)  All coursework for the program shall be completed at the campus of an approved law school in the United States, except as otherwise expressly permitted subdivision (b)(3)(vii).

(viii) No credit shall be allowed for correspondence courses, on-line courses, courses offered on DVD or other media, or other distance learning courses.
 

Rules for the Admission of Foreign Trained Attorneys to the New York Bar

 

Fall 2008

Below is the text of '520.6, the provision that applies to any bar applicant who has studied law in a foreign country. Sections 520.3 (d) and (e) are also included since they are referred to within '520.6. Please read the Rules carefully to make sure that you understand what is expected of you.

In order to sit for the bar exam, all civil-trained lawyers and some common law-trained lawyers must have successfully completed the LLM degree program before the student may sit for the bar exam. Within the LLM degree, 20 semester hours of credit must be in professional law subjects at an approved U.S. law school. The credits must include basic courses in American Law. Please note that Stern Business classes do not qualify within the 20 credits, with the exception of cross-listed courses indicated by the footnote "z" on the schedule of classes.

The New York Court of Appeals has provided us with some guidance as to the quantity of basic American law courses to be completed and as to which of our courses qualify as basic American law courses. It is our understanding that foreign-trained bar applicants must take two basic American law courses in subject areas that are tested on the New York Bar Exam.

Review the list of courses taught at NYU School of Law that have been deemed sufficient by the Court of Appeals to satisfy the basic American Law course requirement. The courses are listed by bar topic and not all courses are taught each year.

Students often ask about the fundamentals of U.S. legal materials directly relevant to the bar exam. Many courses touch on these topics, and some of the recent LL.M graduates have suggested the following courses.

If you have any questions about how the Rules affect your particular situation, you should visit their website, www.nybarexam.org or write to New York State Board of Law Examiners, Corporate Plaza - Building 3, 254 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY  12203-5195.

The Board of Examiners will advise you as to whether your foreign degree meets the durational and/or substantive requirements and whether you are eligible to cure any deficiency by completing course work in the U.S. If you have doubts, it is wise to make an inquiry as early as possible.

While no one at NYU can speak on behalf of the Court of Appeals, we would be happy to try to guide you in fulfilling the eligibility requirements.  Students should feel free to consult the faculty director of their program.

'520.6 Study of Law in Foreign Country; Required Legal Education
(a) General. An applicant who has studied in a foreign country may qualify to take the New York State bar examination by submitting to the New York State Board of Law Examiners satisfactory proof of the legal education required by this section.

(b) Legal Education.

(1) The applicant shall show fulfillment of the educational requirements for admission to the practice of law in a country other than the United States by successful completion of a period of law study at least substantially equivalent in duration to that required, under subdivisions (d) and (e) of section 520.3 of this Part, in a law school or schools each of which, throughout the period of applicants study therein, was recognized by the competent accrediting agency of the government of such other country, or of a political subdivision thereof, as qualified and approved; and

(i) that such other country is one whose jurisprudence is based upon the principles of the English Common Law, and that the program and course of study successfully completed by the applicant were the substantial equivalent of the legal education provided by an approved law school in the United States; or

(ii) if an applicant does not meet the durational equivalency requirements of subdivision (b)(1) of this section but has at least two years of substantively equivalent education, or if the applicant does not meet the substantive equivalency requirements of subdivision (b)(1) (i) of this section, that applicant has successfully completed a full-time or part-time program consisting of a minimum of 20 semester hours of credit, or the equivalent, in professional law subjects, which includes basic courses in American law, in an approved law school in the United States; or

(2) The applicant shall show admission to practice law in a country other than the United States whose jurisprudence is based upon principals [sic] of English Common Law, where admission was based upon a program of study in a law school and/or law office recognized by the competent accrediting agency of the government of such other country and which is durationally equivalent yet substantively deficient under subdivision (b)(1)(i) of this section, and that such applicant has successfully completed a full-time or part-time program consisting of a minimum of 20 semester hours of credit, or the equivalent, in professional law subjects, which includes basic courses in American law, in an approved law school in the United States.

(c) Proof Required. The applicant shall submit to the New York State Board of Law Examiners such proof of compliance with the provisions of this section as the board mayrequire.

 

Relevant Subdivisions of '520.3

 

'520.3 Study of Law in Law School(d) Full-Time Program Defined. A full-time program shall consist of at least 75 and no more than 105 calendar weeks in residence, including reading periods not to exceed one week per semester and examinations, of at least 10 classroom periods per week, scheduled principally between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., totaling not less than the equivalent of 1,120 hours of classroom study, exclusive of examination time. A calendar week shall include four days of scheduled classes; however, no more than three three-day weeks per semester may be counted toward the 75-week minimum. A semester that includes successful completion of at least 10 credit hours per week of study shall be counted as 15 full-time weeks in residence toward the residency weeks requirement of this subdivision. As allowed under subdivision (h) of this section, a summer session that includes successful completion of at least 5 credit hours per week of study shall be counted as 7.5 full-time calendar weeks in residence toward the residency weeks requirement of this subdivision.

 

 

(e) Part-Time Program Defined. A part-time program shall consist of at least 105 and no more than 135 calendar weeks in residence, including reading periods not to exceed one week per semester and examinations, of at least eight classroom periods per week, irrespective of the hours at which the classroom periods are scheduled, totaling not less than the equivalent of 1,120 hours of classroom study, exclusive of examination time. A calendar week shall include three days of scheduled classes; however, no more than three two-day weeks per semester may be counted toward the 105-week minimum. A semester that includes successful completion of at least 8 credit hours per week of study shall be counted as 15 part-time weeks in residence toward the residency weeks requirement of this subdivision. As allowed under subdivision (h) of this section, a summer session that includes successful completion of at least 4 credit hours per week of study shall be counted as 7.5 part-time calendar weeks in residence toward the residency weeks requirement of this subdivision.