LAW OFFICE STUDY/CLERKSHIP
New York is one of only a few jurisdictions that permits an applicant to qualify to take the bar examination on the basis of some law school study combined with law office study or clerkship. Section 520.4 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals sets forth the eligibility requirements for law office study. Interested applicants are urged to carefully review the requirements of Section 520.3 To qualify to take the bar examination on the basis of law office study under Section 520.4, the applicant must demonstrate:
that applicant commenced the study of law after applicant's 18th birthday; and
the applicant successfully completed the prescribed requirements of the first year of full-time study in a first degree in law program at an ABA approved law school, whether attending full-time or part-time, earning a minimum of 28 credit hours (the threshold period);
that applicant thereafter studied law in a law office or offices located within New York State under the supervision of one or more attorneys admitted to practice law in New York State, for such a period of time as, together with the credit allowed pursuant to this section for attendance in an approved law school, shall aggregate four years.
After carefully reviewing rule, the applicant should submit a written request for an evaluation of eligibility to the Board office. In addition to making this written request, an applicant must have his or her law school or schools submit the following directly to the board:
an original and official transcript; and
a written statement from an authorized official which includes verification that the applicant was in good standing, not on academic probation and was eligible to continue in its degree program at the conclusion of the threshold period and also at the conclusion of all subsequent semesters.
Upon receipt of the request for an evaluation together with the required supporting documentation, the Board will determine whether the applicant meets the threshold criteria under Section 520.4 and issue a written determination in due course.
If an applicant meets the threshold criteria, the Board will then determine how much credit toward the four year requirement the applicant should receive for their law school study, and notify the applicant how many weeks of law office study must be completed before the applicant may apply for the bar examination. Next, the applicant must obtain a position as a law clerk/student in a law office, and have the attorney with whom he or she is working complete and file a Certificate of Commencement of Law Office Study with the Court of Appeals.
The Court's Address:
Court of Appeals
20 Eagle Street
Albany, NY 12207
Please note: NO credit is given for any law office work that was engaged in PRIOR to the applicant's completion of the threshold period at law school OR the filing of the Certificate of Commencement.
The applicant must study law in the law office under the supervision of an attorney who is admitted to practice law in New York for a period of four years. (Credit toward this four year requirement is given for successfully completed semesters in an ABA approved law school.) Once the required period of law office study is completed, the applicant is eligible to apply for the New York State bar examination. When applying for the bar examination, the applicant and the attorney or attorneys responsible for the law office study both must complete affidavits.