To practice as an attorney in the State of New York, you must be admitted to the bar of the State of New York. You may apply for admission to the bar of New York either by Motion/Reciprocity or by taking the New York Bar Exam. One must then apply for approval from the Character & Fitness Committee before finally becoming admitted to the New York bar. This article will address how to gain admission to the New York State Bar and become licensed to practice as an attorney in New York.
Admission on Motion/Reciprocity
New York State permits admission on motion, without examination, for applicants who have practiced for 5 of the preceding 7 years, are admitted to practice in at least 1 reciprocal jurisdiction, and have graduated from an ABA approved law school. New York has reciprocity with the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virgina, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
If you meet these qualifications, you must obtain a Certificate of Legal Education from the NY BOLE. The application can be found at http://www.nybarexam.org/Docs/motion.pdf The fee for the certification is $400. The Bar Examination
If you are not eligible for Admission on Motion/Reciprocity, you must take the New York bar examin order to be admitted to the New York State Bar. The NY bar exam is given on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July annually. The application period for the July bar exam is typically the month of April and the application period for the February bar exam is typically the month of November. Applications can be found at http://www.nybarexam.org. You may apply either online or by mailing in a paper application. The application fee is $250 and an additional $100 if you would like to take the bar on an laptop. If you file an online application, the fee is paid via Mastercard or Visa. If you mail in a paper application, the fee is paid by certified check, cashier's check, money order or travelers check. All payments should be made payable to: "NYS Board of Law Examiners." Character & Fitness
All applicants to the New York State Bar must be evaluated for their character and fitness to practice law. Once an applicant has passed the bar exam, they may submit their application to the Character & Fitness Committee for review. The application may be found at http://www.nybarexam.org/Docs/AdmissionsPackage.pdf.
Depending upon your address, you will be admitted in either the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th department and send your application there. Each department may have their own additional forms or requirements. For instance, the 2nd department requires you to complete an Orientation to the Profession Program, information about which can be found at http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/ad2/orientation.shtml.
For more information for each specific department's requirements, see their own sites:
As part of your Character & Fitness application, you must have an interview with a member of the Character & Fitness committee. This will be scheduled after all of your paperwork has been submitted.
Finally, after everything has been completed and you have been recommended for admission to the bar of the State of New York, you will be given a date to be sworn in. You must attend your swearing in in order to be admitted to practice in the State of New York.