Bar Examinations

Bar Examinations

New York

In September 2009, the New York State Court of Appeals issued an order that allows graduates of the NYU@NUS program (initially the classes of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) to sit the New York Bar Exam. The class of 2011 commences studies in May 2010.

On August 16, 2011, the New York State Court of Appeals confirmed that the eligibilty of graduates of the NYU@NUS program in the years 2012-2014 to sit for the New York bar exam is subject to the September 2009 court order; the May 2011 amendments to Rule 520.6 will not apply to 2012-2014 NYU@NUS graduates.

Some students may sit the exam as of right

The Rules of the Court permit a person with an undergraduate law degree from most common law countries to take the bar examination in New York, depending on the length and nature of their legal education. Under the same section of the rules, students whose first law degree is from other countries and who have earned graduate law credits while studying law in the United States may qualify to take the bar examination. The precise language can be found in section 520.6 of the Court's Rules. This link will display all of the Court’s rules on bar admission.

Many students may therefore sit for the New York bar examinations as of right. Students interested in their eligibility to sit for the New York bar examination on the basis of their first law degree are advised to contact the New York State Board of Bar Examiners. The Board does not publish a country specific list; however the following first law degrees from common law jurisdictions may be accepted: Australia, Canada (common law degrees only), Ghana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Liberia, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa (after 1998), Tanzania, Uganda, and the United Kingdom. If in doubt, you should request an evaluation using the form available here.

Others must fulfill additional conditions

Pursuant to the September 2009 order, NYU@NUS students who are not otherwise entitled to take the exam may do so upon completion of the NYU LL.M. with the following additional conditions:

  1. Students must complete at least four courses, totaling at least 10 credits, designated as “basic American law courses,” one of which must be American Legal Ethics.
  2. At the end of the program, students must complete the 100-hour 12-week New York Seminar. This begins in May after Convocation and concludes in advance of the July sitting of the Bar Exam.

The complete text of the Court's order is available here.


Any person who is admitted as a lawyer and in active status and good standing in a foreign jurisdiction may take the California general bar examination. See this notice for more details.

If you are not presently admitted in another jurisdiction, permission to take the exam depends, among other things, on the nature of your undergraduate legal education and your LL.M. course of study. The rules on this were changed in 2008. Students wishing to sit for the California bar on this basis should review the rules and other documentation, available here. To avoid any difficulties, students pursuing this option should be certain to:

1.  Undertake a total 20 credits with NYU faculty (including global and adjunct faculty).

2.  Ensure that their courses include 12 NYU credits covering at least four subjects tested in the California bar examination. One of these must be professional responsibility focusing on the ABA and California rules. Students should include a letter attesting to the scope of this course, which can be obtained from the relevant professor.

For further information consult the very helpful State Bar of California site.  Additional information is available from Bar Review organizations such as Bar/Bri.

Additional Information

For a summary of requirements to take the bar in each U.S. jurisdiction, including the rules governing applicants whose law degree is from a foreign school, see the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, in particular the section on “Foreign Law School Graduates”.

Students with questions concerning the relative importance of taking the bar in relation to a specific job search or career goals should contact NYU's Office of Career Services. This office will organize practice interviews as well as the Asian Job Fair in Singapore, as well as being available by email, telephone, and videoconferencing to assist students with their career needs.

Additional information about the process for sitting the New York Bar Examination is available from the NYU Office of Academic Services.


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