If You Plan to Take the New York Bar
In December 2015, the State of New York adopted a Skills Competency and Professional Values Requirement (“Skills and Values Requirement”) for admission to the New York bar. This requirement applies to all J.D. students entering law school in August 2016 or later and to all LL.M. students entering in August 2018 or later. There are several different “pathways” by which our students can fulfill this requirement. Please note that this requirement applies only to those graduates who intend to seek admission to the New York bar.
For J.D. Students
All of our J.D. students meet the requirements for Pathway 1, which “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 law school can certify all students as having acquired sufficient competency in skills and professional values that, in the law school’s judgment, are required for basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession if they complete and receive credit for the following courses, as part of the overall 88 credits required for the J.D. degree:
- LLEAP 1 and LLEAP 2 (6 credits total) - the first-year integrated research, writing, skills, and professionalism course;
- LLEAP 3 (transactional or litigation focus) (3 credits) - the second-year experiential research, writing, and skills simulation course
- Professional Responsibility (3 credits);
- 4 general education courses, to be chosen from among the following courses: Business Associations; Constitutional Law 2; Criminal Procedure 1; Evidence; Wills, Trusts & Future Interests; Payment Systems; Sales; and Secured Transactions. (At least one of the four courses must be Payment Systems, Sales, or Secured Transactions.);
- The J.D. Writing Requirement; and
- 12 credits of experiential education for most students; 6 credits of experiential education for dual degree students and students who spend a semester or year abroad.*
The faculty who teach these courses have established learning outcomes and designed assessment methods that will ensure you emerge with the necessary skills and values training to meet the New York Skills Requirement. These skills and values include knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law; critical thinking; writing ability; oral communication skills; client skills; legal and factual research and analysis; ethics and professionalism; leadership; collaboration with team members; self-awareness; and negotiation.
* For dual-degree students, an individualized plan is developed to ensure sufficient experiential education, taking into account field placement or other experiential requirements from the other degree program. For study-abroad students, the law school has determined that the exposure to the legal system and culture of another country brings students a unique perspective on professionalism and the law, justifying a reduced experiential education requirement.
In addition, most J.D. students will meet the requirements of Pathway 2, which allows an applicant to satisfy the Skills and Values Requirement by completing 15 credits of practice-based experiential coursework designed to foster professional competency training. Finally, any student who completes the New York Pro Bono Scholars program will meet the New York Skills and Values requirement under Pathway 3. For more information about the New York Pro Bono Scholars program, please see Senior Associate Dean Sarah Polly.
If you have questions about these requirements, please contact Jessie Hill or Sarah Polly.
For LL.M. Students
We expect that most of our LL.M. students will meet the New York Skills and Values Requirement via Pathway 4 or 5.
Pathway 4 allows an applicant to satisfy the skills competency and professional values requirement upon completion of a post-graduate, six-month apprenticeship in a law office in the United States, in a commonwealth or territory of the United States, or in a foreign country, under the supervision of an attorney authorized to practice in the jurisdiction where the work is performed. The apprenticeship can be paid or unpaid. The supervising attorney is responsible for certifying that the apprenticeship satisfied certain criteria.
Pathway 5 provides that an applicant who has been authorized to practice law in another state, or in a U.S. territory or commonwealth or a country outside the United States, and has practiced in that jurisdiction full-time for one year, or part-time for two years, will meet the skills competency and professional values requirement.
NOTE: Applicants using Pathway 4 or 5 need not complete those pathways before taking the bar exam, but must satisfy the requirements of the pathway before applying for admission in New York.
In some instances, L.L.M. students may be able to qualify for Pathway 2 by taking 15 credits of experiential education. This will require a total of at least 3 semesters of L.L.M. study, rather than the two semesters that are usually required.
If you have questions about these requirements, please contact Liz Woyczynski, Administrative Director of Admissions and Student Services for Foreign Graduate Legal Studies.