New York Bar Gives Priority to New York Law Schools

The New York Board of Law Examiners announced last night that its bar application and registration process will now give priority to applicants from the law schools located in New York:

Our efforts to seat as many candidates as possible remain ongoing. To that end, the Board of Law Examiners has been in contact with representatives of New York’s fifteen law schools, who have generously offered their facilities to accommodate test-takers. We remain hopeful that, with the assistance of these valued partners, it will be possible to administer the September exam in a safe and responsible manner.

However, given current conditions in New York – including ongoing public health concerns, social distancing guidelines, and limitations on large gatherings – it is clear that our seating capacity for the September exam will be sharply limited, and therefore the Board likely will not be able to seat all applicants who wish to take the exam. As a result, the application process for the September exam will proceed on a rolling basis as space permits. From Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 12:00 A.M. through Friday, May 15 at 11:59 P.M., applications will be accepted from any J.D. or LL.M. candidate who is sitting for the bar examination for the first time and who has graduated (or will graduate in Spring 2020) from one of the fifteen law schools located in New York State: Albany Law School, Brooklyn Law School, University at Buffalo School of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Columbia Law School, CUNY School of Law, Cornell Law School, Fordham University School of Law, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, New York Law School, New York University School of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, St. John’s University School of Law, Syracuse University College of Law, or Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. Registration will remain open for the duration of the May 5 to May 15 application period and priority will not be given based on the date a candidate registers within that period.At the close of the first application period, the Board will assess available seating in light of existing health and safety guidance. If seating remains available, the Board will then open the application period to a larger pool of candidates.

Given the constraints caused by the public health crisis, candidates are strongly encouraged to consider sitting for the UBE at a later date or in other jurisdictions that may be better positioned to accommodate test-takers. While our efforts to maximize seating are ongoing, the health and safety of all participants must remain our top priority.

Please continue to monitor this website for updates.

If this leaves you wondering where to take a bar exam instead of New York, you can consider taking it in other UBE jurisdictions, some of which offer “courtesy seating” for bar takers who won’t be applying for admission to that state’s bar. The NCBE Bar Admission Guide has a list of those states that was up to date at the time of publication several months ago. Given the rapid changes in jurisdictional processes recently, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vitally important that you check on a jurisdiction’s official bar website as to whether that option is still open and how to apply for it. The NCBE is also posting jurisdictional updates here: NCBE COVID-19 Updates. This blog is not designed to keep up with such rapid changes and does not purport to address all 50+ bar jurisdictions.

If you have a job offer that you have accepted or will accept, it is suggested that you contact that employer and ask if the employer has a preference for any particular alternative jurisdiction if you are unable to register for your first choice, presumably the jurisdiction where the employer is located.

New York Announces Limits on Bar Takers

From the website of the New York Board of Law Examiners:

SEPTEMBER BAR EXAM: The New York Court of Appeals announced on March 27, 2020 that the New York State Bar Examination will not be administered on July 28-29, 2020 as previously scheduled. Click here to read the press release from the Court of Appeals.

The examination has been rescheduled to WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9-10, 2020. The application period for the rescheduled examination is presently scheduled to open on May 5, 2020 at 12:00 AM and to close on May 30, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

HOWEVER, DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE BOARD DOES NOT EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO USE THE LARGE VENUES IT TYPICALLY USES TO ADMINISTER THE EXAM, THE BOARD WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TEST ALL THE CANDIDATES WHO WOULD TYPICALLY APPLY TO TAKE A JULY BAR EXAM. THE BOARD WILL BE REQUIRED TO PRIORITIZE GROUPS OF CANDIDATES AND EXPECTS TO ANNOUNCE A STAGGERED SCHEDULE FOR AND NECESSARY LIMITATIONS ON APPLICATIONS.

We are actively seeking details as to what the staggered schedule and limitations on applications will be, which have not yet been announced. Please keep checking your bar jurisdiction’s official website and read all communications from bar offices.

New York Removes Questions About Mental Health History From Bar Application

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The State of New York will change its character and fitness questionnaire to relieve applicants from worry that seeking mental health treatment might affect their admission to the bar, according to an announcement today:

New York State’s court system will remove questions about mental health history from its bar application, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced Wednesday.

After debate and study, the court system plans to revise the application, DiFiore said in her 2020 State of Our Judiciary address.

“The amended application will no longer ask intrusive questions about a candidate’s mental health conditions or treatment history,” she said in her prepared remarks. “Instead, the application will focus on disclosure of behavior and conduct that is relevant to a candidate’s fitness to practice law.”

The presence of mental health questions on the bar exam, and stigma around mental illness, have proven to be barriers to treatment within the legal profession, according to a New York State Bar Association report. DiFiore said the mental health and well-being of New York’s lawyers is of “paramount importance.”

Save the Date — Info Session with Bar Examiner and Director of Bar Admissions; Deadlines

Emory Law Bar Readiness State Bar Georgia

If you will graduate in May and take a bar exam in July, mark your calendar for March 27, when the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions will return for its annual spring visit. Unlike the fall visit, when the director of bar admissions speaks to students mostly about the character and fitness process, the spring visit includes one of the actual bar examiners, the lawyers who write and grade the essay questions on the Georgia bar. The presentation will be on March 27, from 12:15-1:45 pm, in Rm. 1E.

This session will be useful even if you plan to take the bar exam in a different state, as the director of bar admissions will speak generally about things like the MBE (Multistate Bar Exam) and MPT (Multistate Performance Test), which are included on the Georgia bar exam and most other states’ bar exams. She will also go into detail about the Georgia bar exam, so if you plan to take that, don’t miss this session. Also, if you have individual concerns or questions about the character and fitness review process, she normally makes herself available for private conversations with students after the main session.

Please visit www.gabaradmissions.org for detailed information, and remember to keep checking your bar applicant portal for any communications from the Office of Bar Admissions. You don’t want to miss any questions or deadlines from them, as they will strictly enforce all policies and deadlines. The very last deadline for submitting a character and fitness application for the July 2019 Georgia Bar is March 6, 2019. Review all Georgia deadlines here: Georgia Bar Admissions Deadlines and Fees.

If you will take the Uniform Bar Examination or another state’s bar exam, make sure you are tracking and meeting all relevant deadlines and requirements. You can review those at the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, www.ncbex.org, in the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements. NOTE: “The information in this publication is correct as submitted to NCBE by contributing jurisdictions at the time of publication. It should be used only as a general guide. Since jurisdiction rules and policies change, NCBE strongly advises consulting the jurisdiction’s bar admission agency directly for the most current information.”

Planning to Take a Bar Exam? Remember Fall Deadlines!

If you plan to take a bar exam the summer after you graduate, there may be a number of important deadlines you must meet in this fall semester, depending on each state. For instance, in Georgia, graduating students are supposed to complete their Character and Fitness paperwork and applications by early December. The specific date of that deadline varies from year to year, so you must check here: Georgia Fitness Application Deadlines.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners publishes a digest of all the states’ different bar admissions and exam requirements, updated annually: Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements. As they note on their webpage: “The information in this publication is correct as submitted to NCBE by contributing jurisdictions at the time of publication. It should be used only as a general guide. Since jurisdiction rules and policies change, NCBE strongly advises consulting the jurisdiction’s bar admission agency directly for the most current information.” Always double-check bar-related information directly with your bar state’s admissions office, through their website.

Most states require that you take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). That is offered nationally three times a year, in November, March, and August. The National Conference of Bar Examiners writes and oversees that exam too, and provides much information here: MPRE.

Now is a really good time to enter all the upcoming deadlines and dates into your calendar or planner, to make sure you stay on top of them. Bar admissions offices are very strict about their deadlines, so you don’t want to miss them!

Information session with bar officials TOMORROW, 9/6/17

If you will graduate this year and expect to take the bar exam in Georgia, come learn about the “character and fitness” application process directly from the Director of Admissions for the State Bar of Georgia, Mr. John Sammon. He and other bar staff will explain the process, which you do for Georgia in your fall semester and submit by the start of December. The information is generally relevant to most states’ character and fitness processes, so come even if you plan to sit for the bar in another state. The program starts at 12:15 pm in Rm. 1E; pizza and soft drinks will be served and you are welcome to bring your own lunch too if you wish.

Deadline for filing the SEPARATE Georgia Bar Examination Application is June 7!

If you have been certified through Georgia’s Character and Fitness process, you should have also received instructions on how to submit the SEPARATE bar examination application form, without which you cannot sit for the bar exam in July. Detailed information is here: https://www.gabaradmissions.org/deadlines-and-fees.  Please note that the Georgia Bar’s deadlines mean that materials and fees must be received, not postmarked, before 4 pm on the deadline date.

Bar Deadlines Approaching!

If you plan to take the bar exam in Georgia, remember that you must first file a Character and Fitness application and be certified through that process before you can sign up for the bar exam itself. In Georgia, the deadline to do that without a late fee penalty is in early December; the exact date changes from year to year, and you will find it here: Georgia Office of Bar Admissions. Bar deadlines are strict and include details such as: in Georgia, all materials and payments must be received IN THE OFFICE BY 4 P.M. on the deadline date, as the director of bar admissions explained when she spoke here in September: Georgia Bar Admissions Info Session.

If you plan to take the bar exam in a different state, go to the National Conference of Bar Examiners website and look up bar deadlines and requirements for that specific state. In some states, you register for and take the exam first, then you apply for Character and Fitness certification. You are expected to know the relevant deadlines and meet them.

Bar-related information was placed in all 3Ls’ mail files at the start of the semester. If you haven’t looked at it yet, now would be a good time. Additional bar-related information can be found on the webpage of the Office of Academic Engagement & Student Success, under the Bar Readiness tab. If you have any questions, please stop by and talk with one of us, we’ll be happy to help!

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Deadline For Regular Registration for November MPRE is 9/15

If you are planning to take the MPRE in November 2016 (it is offered three times/year), the deadline for regular registration is this Thursday, September 15. Detailed information about how and when to register, fees, deadlines, etc. is on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website. From that website:

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is a two-hour, 60-question multiple-choice examination developed by NCBE that is administered three times per year. It is required for admission to the bars of all but three U.S. jurisdictions (Maryland, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico). (In addition, Connecticut and New Jersey accept successful completion of a law school course on professional responsibility in lieu of a passing score on the MPRE.) Because MPRE requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another, examinees are advised to check with the bar admission agency in the jurisdiction to which they seek admission before registering for the MPRE. Passing scores are established by each jurisdiction.

Remember that from now on, you will have various deadlines and requirements to meet for purposes of registering for, preparing for and taking a bar exam. It is your responsibility to research and keep up with those requirements, including by getting information directly from official sources. The only authoritative official source of information about the bar exam and bar admission in a given jurisdiction is that jurisdiction’s own Office of Bar Admissions or Board of Examiners website. Please make sure to bookmark the one for the state where you plan to take a bar exam, create an online account if that is available, and check both regularly. If you’re taking the November MPRE, good luck!

Important Bar Information Session for Graduating Students

Sally Lockwood 78L, Director of Bar Admissions for Georgia, will explain the “Character and Fitness” review process to all graduating students who plan to take the bar in July 2017. In Georgia, the application deadline is in early December. The process is similar in most states, so come learn even if you do not plan to take the bar in Georgia. The first 100 students to attend and sign in will get a free copy of “Pass the Bar!”, a book I highly recommend for its detailed strategies for success on the bar, including action checklists you can start working on now. You must stay to the end of the program to claim your book.

For detailed, official information about Georgia bar applications, deadlines and fees, go to the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions website. For official information about admission to the New York bar, go to the New York Board of Law Examiners website. For official information about admission to the Florida bar, go to the Florida Board of Bar Examiners website, which also has its own official summary of Florida bar admissions information. For other states, it is simple to link to their bar admissions offices through the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Please remember that bar admissions officials will expect you, as the applicant, to know their requirements and meet their deadlines, and they will expect you to keep yourself informed and up to date, as it is possible for their information to change. Now is a good time to read through their rules and requirements thoroughly, set up an applicant account if that is available, bookmark their webpages and make a habit of checking those regularly. While this blog is an occasional source of reminders, it is NOT the final word on bar admissions, nor is it updated daily or even weekly, so please do not rely on it alone for tracking deadlines.