DC Bar vs NY Bar

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Bfalcon

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DC Bar vs NY Bar

Postby Bfalcon » Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:12 pm

Hi all,

As you may know, NY adopted the Universal Bar Exam (the UBE) last year, and this July will be implementing its new system. DC also adopted the UBE at the beginning of March. This changes things up a bit.

Me: I'll be starting work at a DC biglaw firm in a regulatory practice group. Plan is to do that for awhile (3-5 years) and then jump to federal government or an international governmental organization overseas. My firm has a big office in NY, but I have no desire to go there. Not a big fan of living in NYC. Firm will cover any bar and affiliated costs. My partners don't mind if I take either bar (I'm clerking with the firm part-time right now). Because I will be working in DC, I will have to either write the DC bar or waive into it from NY.

Question: is there any major reason why I should take NY over DC?

They write the exact same exam. If I take DC, I've heard that I could be called to the bar as soon as November. If I take NY, it will be longer. Plus, I would have to waive into DC, which takes forever. My 1st year associate friends are still waiting for the DC bar waiver and it could be another 6 months or longer.

If I take DC, I could still get admitted in NY for the next 3 years after I write the UBE. All I would have to do is submit the NY C&F application, proof of my 50 hours of pro bono work (I've crushed that already) and complete the NYLC and NYLE. For those who don't know, NY is now doing this online course called the NY Law Course (NYLC) that is mandatory. It is 15 hours of lectures on NY law. After that, you do the online NY Law Exam (NYLE). The NYLE is a 50 item, 2 hour, open book, multiple choice test (http://www.nybarexam.org/UBE/UBE.html). This seems pretty easy to me!

If I do take the DC bar and don't complete the above to be admitted to NY in the first 3 years, then I would have to re-write the whole bar exam for years 4 and 5 of my practice. On year 5, I would be able to waive into NY directly from DC with no problem (no requirements for any of the above).

The way I see it, I don't know why I would bother with NY. It's more effort right now, I would have to travel to Albany (firm is paying for it) and write the exam there, I wouldn't be admitted to the bar sooner (I would get admitted later), and I would have to wait for a heckuva long time to waive into DC. All this for the "prestige" of being called to NY and writing the exact same bar exam as DC. It seems like the UBE is really taking over and will change the game of bar exams in the US.

Thoughts, comments?

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jrthor10

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Re: DC Bar vs NY Bar

Postby jrthor10 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:14 pm

Facing the same decision, decided to switch to DC. Also, if your firm has the same policy as mine and won't pay waive-in fee, it's cheaper to waive into NY than DC.

dixiecupdrinking

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Re: DC Bar vs NY Bar

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:06 pm

Why do you want to be admitted in NY at all? As far as I know, most DC firm lawyers who expect to stay in the area usually take either MD or VA.

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Aeon

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Re: DC Bar vs NY Bar

Postby Aeon » Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:00 pm

Why would you take the DC bar exam when you could take the exam in any other state (except Louisiana) and waive in, especially if your firm will pay for it? It is useful to have two credentials, since statistically the chances are good that you'll end up lateraling sometime within the next 5 years. And it doesn't have to be the NY bar, even though it's beneficial since NY is the biggest legal market in the country. As already mentioned, most DC lawyers take the MD or VA exam. The advantage of Maryland is that it doesn't have a mandatory CLE requirement, and neither does DC (save for the day-long mandatory professional conduct course you have to take within a year of being admitted there).

If you'll be working in BigLaw, there's almost always no good reason why you would need to be admitted to the bar sooner rather than a few months later. Pretty much every BigLaw attorney takes the exam elsewhere and waives in to DC, as do many others not in BigLaw for that matter, so it's par for the course.

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SweetrollStealer

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Re: DC Bar vs NY Bar

Postby SweetrollStealer » Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:33 pm

FWIW work in DC and I've literally never heard of anyone taking the DC bar. Everyone I know took NY, MD, or VA and waived in. But that is totally unscientific/anecdotal evidence

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Aeon

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Re: DC Bar vs NY Bar

Postby Aeon » Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:35 am

Not to mention that until the rules were changed last year, you had to type your DC bar exam answers on a typewriter.

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Re: DC Bar vs NY Bar

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:38 am

Another thing to consider, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on this, would the curve be better (or more in your favor) in DC since there are less students? Also I'm no math geek, so please expect that my understanding of the curve is way off.

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Re: DC Bar vs NY Bar

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:02 pm

Just to add my two cents - at a V100 firm in DC, we have about 6-7 first years and all took DC.

FWIW I'm a midlevel associate and took NY then waived into DC - granted this was before UBE. My reasoning was to have the largest legal market as my backup option in case things didn't go well at my firm. Still here but glad I have the flexibility even though I have never used it. I'm not sure about the UBE waive-in rules, but if I could take DC and then just waive into NY if I ever needed to, then I would probably just do that.



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