New York Bar Exam Requirements
The State of New York has adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). The UBE is a bar exam uniformly issued in each of the UBE states. The resulting score is then transferrable to any UBE state, including the State of Illinois. For more information on the UBE, please visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners Website. UBE states have the right to set the qualifying UBE score for admission to their jurisdiction, as well as the right to include additional prerequisites, including state-specific courses, tests, assessments, and other prerequisites. Consistent with these UBE parameters, admission to the New York Bar carries with its state-specific requirements and reporting obligations, in addition to the UBE test. This summary is intended to help identify the more unique aspects of the New York Bar that require some degree of advanced planning. To ensure awareness of all elements of admission to the New York Bar, please refer to the comprehensive Rules and FAQs. Students who are contemplating applying for the New York bar exam are also strongly encouraged to consult with the offices of Student Services, Graduate and International Programs, and Student Records.
- Required New York Courses
In addition to the UBE exam, the New York Bar requires the completion of a special online New York Law course series and a specific online New York Law Exam. The online New York Exam is available on specific dates. More information may be found at: https://www.nybarexam.org/Content/CourseMaterials.htm.
- Required Pro Bono Services
Applicants to the New York Bar are also required to complete 50 hours of qualifying pro bono services prior to New York bar admission. This Rule may be found at: https://www.nybarexam.org/MPB.html.
- The College of Law Pro Bono Notation will not, by itself, satisfy the New York pro bono services requirement. However, if the incurred hours are separately submitted to New York, most of those hours will be eligible for satisfaction of the New York Bar pro bono services requirement.
- Pro bono hours may not be double counted to satisfy two of the New York admission criteria. Thus, pro bono hours applied to the New York Bar Skills Competency & Professional Values requirement shall not also be counted towards satisfaction of the pro bono hour requirement.
- Skills Competency & Professional Values Requirement
An additional specific rule for admission to the New York Bar, which is effective (1) for all JD students who began their JD studies in August of 2016 and thereafter and (2) for all LLM students who began their LLM studies after August 1, 2018, is the Skills Competency & Professional Values requirement. It ensures that applicants seeking admission to the New York Bar will “have acquired the skills and are familiar with the professional values necessary to competently practice law.” State of New York Court of Appeals Notice to the Bar. Those considering the New York Bar Exam should read these rules and the supporting FAQs carefully: https://www.nybarexam.org/Skills/skills.htm.
- 520.18 Skills Competency Requirement for Admission (a) General. Every applicant for admission to practice, other than applicants for admission without examination pursuant to section 520.10 of this Part, or applicants who quality tor the bar examination under section 520.4 or 520.5 of this Part, shall demonstrate that the applicant possesses the skills and values necessary to provide effective, ethical and responsible legal services in this State. . . .
In adopting the Skills Competency and Professional Values requirement, the New York Court of Appeals, recognized that these skills and values would be unique to each law school’s educational mission. Thus, law schools are charged with determining whether their graduates have acquired sufficient competency in the identified skills and professional values necessary for the satisfaction of these skills and values, by way of five different pathways articulated by the New York Bar.
The College of Law anticipates the use of Pathway 1 (for JD students and a select group of three-semester LLM students) and Pathway 4 and/or Pathway 5 (for LLM students). The College will certify its JD graduates for the Skills Competency & Professional Values requirement, verifying that the JD graduates (and a select group of three-semester LLM students) have satisfactorily “developed learning outcomes that guide the curriculum from which each JD will be choosing courses that meet this requirement” as required by New York for Pathway 1. In most instances, LLM students will not have the opportunity to take all the classes required to meet expectations for Pathway 1. For such students, the College of Law recommends the use of Pathway 4 (legal apprenticeship following a first law degree) and/or Pathway 5 (prior or post-LLM legal experience) to meet the Skills Competency and Professional Values requirement.
Because Pathway 1 requires the certification by the College based on legal studies undertaken at the College, additional details follow regarding the academic preparation and how it meets or exceeds Pathway 1 standards. At the University of Illinois, the College of Law is committed to preparing effective, ethical, and responsible members of the legal profession. It has established Learning Outcomes (articulated below), which ensure that each JD student, and select LLM students, who graduates from the College of Law has acquired basic knowledge of American substantive and procedural law, will use legal reasoning and legal analysis effectively, will demonstrate the practical legal skills required to competently participate in the legal profession, and will conduct themselves professionally and in keeping with the highest standards of civic virtue. The College of Law also provides a wealth of curricular offerings supporting these Learning Outcomes.
“Pathway 1 allows an applicant to satisfy the skills competency and professional values requirement by submitting a certification from the applicant’s law school confirming that (1) the law school has developed a plan identifying and incorporating into its curriculum the skills and professional values that, in the school’s judgment, are required for its graduates’ basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession, and has made this plan publicly available on the law school’s website; and (2) the applicant has acquired sufficient competency in those skills and sufficient familiarity with those values.”
The College of Law’s mission is to serve as a preeminent site for the study of law, legal institution, and legal culture; to educate our students effectively and comprehensively in legal principles and skills; and to advance justice and the public good. The relevant elements of this mission statement which relate to the New York Skills Competency & Professional Values requirement include:
- Advancing knowledge through research about law, legal institutions, and legal culture, bringing to bear insights from non-legal disciplines and reaching across national and cultural borders in recognition of rising global interdependence and the increasing need for cooperative responses to transnational problems and opportunities; and
- Developing in students the substantive legal knowledge, analytic methodologies, practical skills, moral commitments, and temperament necessary to achieve excellence in their professional and civic endeavors.
This excerpt of the College of Law’s Mission Statement is thus a framework for the Skills Competency & Professional Values education reflected in the learning outcomes that are outlined below.
Curricular Offerings supporting Learning Outcomes
The College of Law’s Learning Outcomes are fully supported by its robust curricular offerings. The rigor of these offerings fully prepares its students for admission to the bar and to become effective, ethical, and responsible members of the legal profession.
The College of Law requires JD students to secure passing grades in at least 90 credit hours in law school course or in courses for which law school credit is given. Of these 90 credit hours, 64 hours must be obtained in courses that involve regularly scheduled classroom sessions. Following the first-year exclusive curriculum of 31 credit hours, a student must complete 59 credit hours during the remaining semesters. In addition to the required first year courses, students must also successfully complete an upper level writing experience, additional experiential work beyond the first year, and a course focusing on professional responsibility. A single course may be used to satisfy only one of these requirements. For courses eligible to satisfy multiple academic requirements, the student will be required to elect which single requirement the course will be used to satisfy. As permitted by the New York rules, sufficient competency will be assessed by the College of Law’s grading system, as permitted by Rule 520.18(1)(ii).
The College of Law relies on its mandatory first-year courses to impart to students a basic understanding of American substantive and procedural law and to impart a basic proficiency in legal reasoning and legal analysis. To impart knowledge of additional legal subject matter areas and to enable students to reach an advanced level of proficiency in legal reasoning and analysis, the College of Law relies on the doctrinal and substantive components of its upper-division curriculum – courses and seminars like Evidence, Business Associations, and Income Tax.
To ensure that every student acquires the ability to bring practical skills and knowledge to bear in solving legal problems, the College of Law requires every student to complete required first-year courses on Legal Writing and Analysis, Introduction to Advocacy, Legal Research, and Fundamentals of Legal Practice. To the same end, the College of Law requires every student to complete no fewer than six credits in simulation courses, clinics, appellate advocacy, or field placements, and to satisfy the College of Law’s upper-level writing requirement.
To impart basic knowledge of the ethical rules governing the practice of law, and to develop the necessary professional values for effective, ethical, and responsible practice of law, the College of Law requires every student to complete a two- or three-credit course in professional responsibility. As for the more difficult task of fostering in students a genuine appreciation of these ethical rules, as well as of the lawyer’s distinctive role in American society, the Law School’s efforts begin in pre-orientation tutorials, then in the first-year orientation, and continue throughout the student’s legal education. At first-year orientation, for example, all students are required to attend a presentation and oath by an Illinois appellate judge, followed by a presentation on professionalism by the Associate Dean. The coursework at the College of Law also includes an overlay of ethics and professionalism throughout the curriculum. The College of Law’s clinical programs and trial advocacy program, for example, provide opportunities for instructors and students to explore ethical and professional responsibility issues within concrete real or simulated legal settings.
Upon successful completion of the College of Law’s requirements for JD graduation and a review of the graduate’s academic record, the College will certify the following, pursuant to Pathway 1:
“I, [school official name], am the [official’s title] at the University of Illinois College of Law, am American Bar Association-approved law school. I confirm: (a) that this law school has developed a plan identifying and incorporating into its curriculum the skills and professional values that, in the school’s judgment, are required for its graduates’ basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession, as required by the ABA standards and Rules of Procedure for the Approval of Law Schools Standard 302 (b), (c), and (d), and has made this plan publicly available on the law school’s website; and (b) that [applicant’s name] has acquired sufficient competency in those skills and sufficient familiarity with those values.”
This certification will reflect successful completion of the following required courses, in addition to upper-level doctrinal courses, which demonstrate that the College of Law New York Bar applicant “possesses the skills and values necessary to provide effective, ethical and responsible legal services….”
- Learning Outcome 1: Graduates will have acquired basic knowledge of American substantive and procedural law: Torts, Legal Writing & Analysis, Legal Research, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Civil Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Introduction to Advocacy
- Learning Outcome 2: Graduates will use legal reasoning and legal analysis effectively: Legal Research, Torts, Introduction to Advocacy, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Civil Procedure, Legal Writing & Analysis, Professional Responsibility
- Learning Outcome 3: Graduates will demonstrate the practical legal skills required to competently participate in the legal profession: Introduction to Advocacy, Legal Writing & Analysis, Fundamentals of Legal Practice, Legal Research, Torts, Contracts, Constitutional Law
- Learning Outcome 4: Graduates will conduct themselves professionally and in keeping with the highest standards of civic virtue: Constitutional Law, Fundamentals of Legal Practice, Legal Writing & Analysis, Professional Responsibility