2. New York Bar Exam Application for Foreign Candidate

Foreign Candidate’s eligibility in summary

  • Complete the “Foreign Evaluation Form
  • Submit supporting documents to New York State Board of Law Examiners (“NY Board“)
  • Satisfy NY Board that your education background is good enough, which generally means you have either:
    • (1) JD from an ABA-approved law school;
    • (2) bachelor law degree from common law jurisdiction (e.g. UK, Australia, Hong Kong); or
    • (3) bachelor law degree from civil law jurisdiction AND LLM from an ABA-approved law school.

Step 1: Create a BOLE account & Submit the “Foreign Evaluation Form”

Step 2: Ask your law school(s) to submit the supporting documents

  • NY Board only accepts supporting documents prepared and sent directly by your law school(s), but not by you personally. So be polite when asking your law school to do you a favour!
  • Supporting documents generally include at least:
    • (1) “Official Transcript
    • (2) “Proof of Fulfillment” 
  • The following supporting documents may or may not be required, depending on the situation:
    • (3) “Degree Certificate
    • (4) “Accreditation Statement
    • (5) “LLM Certificate of Attendance Form & LLM Transcript” (if you are a US LLM graduate)
  • Read more at Paragraph VII here: https://www.nybarexam.org/foreign/ForeignLegalEducation.htm

Wait…what does (2), (3) and (4) mean?

“Proof of Fulfillment” is a statement that proves your education background is good enough to let you apply for admission to practice law in your home country.

Most of the time, your law school probably knows what is a “Proof of Fulfillment” and will prepare it for you. But in case the contact person in your law school is unfortunately too dumb to understand, you may refer that person to Rule 520.6(b)(1) of the NY Court of Appeals

“Degree Certificate” is an additional document that states clearly your degree and the month/year such degree was awarded.

Most of the time, this document is not required, because “Official Transcript” probably already contains the requisite information

“Accreditation Statement” means a statement by your local government agency (that regulates the law profession) proving that your law school is well recognized.

Theoretically speaking and using Hong Kong as an example, I am supposed to ask the Law Society of Hong Kong to issue a statement proving that the University of Hong Kong is a well recognized law school.

However, practically speaking, the “accreditation statement” is not required because the NY Board has maintained an internal list of law schools (which probably already includes your law school) that it has considered to be proven as accredited already.

So, you can simply ignore it for the time being, unless the NY Board follows up and asks you. 

Step 3: Wait patiently

  • Confirm with your law school on the dispatch date and the delivery method (e.g. is there a tracking number?)
  • NY Board claims that it could take up to 6 months for the evaluation
  • Wait patiently for NY Board’s emails that acknowledge receipt of the supporting documents and determine that you are eligible to sit for the exam

After all steps above, you are good to go! You can apply for the NYBE!

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