LL.M. NYS Bar Applicants

Visit NY State Board of Law Examiners (NYS BOLE) for detailed information on the New York State bar examination application and requirements. We encourage you to obtain and carefully review the application materials as early as possible and make careful note of the NYS BOLE filing deadlines as there are no provisions for late filing.

All LL.M. candidates applying for the New York State Bar must complete the following steps:

The New York Law Course (NYLC) is an online, on demand course on important and unique principles of New York law in the following subjects: Administrative Law, Business Relationships, Civil Practice and Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Matrimonial and Family Law, Professional Responsibility, Real Property, Torts and Tort Damages, and Trusts, Wills and Estates. Completion of the NYLC is required in order to obtain a license to practice law in the State of New York.

The NYLC consists of approximately 17 hours of video lectures with embedded questions that must be answered correctly before you may continue viewing the lecture. You must view each lecture in its entirety. 

You may complete the NYLC up to one year before or any time after the date on which you first sit for the UBE, subject to the application filing deadline of Section 520.12(d) of the Rules of the Court of Appeals

You must complete the course in its entirety before you may register for the New York Law Examination (NYLE). 

The New York Law Exam (NYLE) is a 50 item, two hour, open book, multiple choice test administered online. It tests important New York rules on the topics of Administrative Law, Business Relationships, Civil Practice and Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Matrimonial and Family Law, Professional Responsibility, Real Property, Torts and Tort Damages, and Trusts, Wills and Estates.  

The NYLE is offered four times per year. Please note that the failure to take and pass the NYLE before the results of any given UBE are released may result in a delay in admission. Third-year law students taking a July UBE are particularly encouraged to take and pass the NYLE before the UBE results are released in late October. The future dates of the NYLE and the filing deadlines are:

  •         December 19, 2019, 12:00 pm ET (apply by November 19, 2019, 11:59 pm)
  •         March 12, 2020, 12:00 pm ET (apply by February 11, 2020, 11:59 pm)
  •         June 11, 2020, 12:00 pm ET (apply by May 12, 2020, 11:59 pm)
  •         September 24, 2020, 12:00 pm ET (apply by August 25, 2020, 11:59 pm)
  •         December 17, 2020, 12:00 pm ET (apply by November 17, 2020, 11:59 pm)

The deadline to register for the NYLE is 30 days before the test date and there is a $27 registration fee. For a complete list of NYLE test dates and registration deadlines, please check the NYS BOLE website.

The MPRE is a 60-question multiple-choice examination administered three times each year. A passing score on the test is required for admission to the bars of all but two U.S. jurisdictions (Wisconsin and Puerto Rico). Passing scores are established by each jurisdiction. Applicants are advised to contact the jurisdictions directly for the most current information regarding passing scores, rules, and policies. If you have questions regarding the MPRE, please visit http://www.ncbex.org/exams/mpre/registration/ or contact LSAC at 215-504-3886 or at [email protected].

All candidates seeking admission after January 1, 2015, with the exception of admission on motion candidates, will need to file an affidavit showing that they have completed 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work, as required by Rule 520.16 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals. 

For more information on the 50-hour pro bono requirement for admission to the New York State bar, visit the Law School's Social Justice Initiatives site at http://www.law.columbia.edu/social-justice/students/pro-bono or the New York State Unified Court System site at http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probono/baradmissionreqs.shtml.

Apply to Take the UBE
In order to apply for the UBE, you must provide your National Conference of Board Examiners (NCBE) number. For information on obtaining an NCBE number, select the tab "NCBE Account" at the NCBE website or visit https://accounts.ncbex.org/php/ncbe_number/goDashboard.

Provide a Handwriting Sample
You will need to provide a handwriting sample in the presence of a Registration Services Office staff member. Registration Services holds Handwriting Sample Certification events in April of each year (see below). If you are unable to attend one of these events, please make arrangements directly with Registration Services (212.854.2668 or [email protected]). Alternatively, you can arrange to send a notarized Handwriting Sample directly to the bar examiners by their stated deadline. 

Note: All applicants are required to submit a handwriting sample regardless if they registrar to participate in the laptop program.

All sessions take place from 12-2 pm in the lower level of William & June Warren Hall outside room L107. Please bring your Columbia ID, or a government-issued picture ID so that your handwriting can be formally witnessed.

  • Monday, April 6, 2020
  • Thursday, April 9, 2020 
  • Tuesday, April 14, 2020
  • Wednesday, April 22, 2020

NYS BOLE will mail this form to applicants after April 30. If you provided a handwriting sample at one of the above sessions, there is no need for you to resubmit the form to Registration Services.

Complete the LL.M. Certificate of Attendance Form
All applicants requiring an LL.M. degree to qualify for the examination must complete the LL.M Certificate of Attendance form. Applicants will need to answer specific questions about the number of credits they completed in various types of offerings, including professional responsibility, american legal studies, subjects tested on the NY Bar Exam, etc. Please review your transcript and the list of approved courses at Columbia Law School that satisfy Section 520.6 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law (22 NYCRR 520.6).

Guidelines for completing the LL.M. Certificate of Attendance form:

Once complete, sign and date the form, and submit it to the Law School's Office of Registration Services by not later than Friday, May 1, 2020.  

  1. Certification of LL.M. Certificate of Attendance
  2. Transcript 
  3. Mailing deadlines

The Office of Registration Services will certify your eligibility to take the July 2020 bar exam once your degree is conferred on May 20, 2020 and will send the certified form, an official copy of your University transcript, and your Handwriting Specimen to the NYS BOLE before June 15, 2020, the deadline for school certifications. 

You will receive email confirmation when this has taken place.

This evaluation will require you to provide current and historical education, employment, residential and financial information. It will also ask questions about criminal and school discipline, as well as disability. In addition, you will have to provide law-related employment affidavits and character references. Failure to be completely honest and display full candor is a grounds for not being admitted or being disbarred.

  1. Application
  2. Moral Character and Fitness. The New York Lawyer Assistance Trust has prepared a brochure regarding the character and fitness requirements for admission to the practice of law in New York State. All law students and graduates are encouraged to review it carefully and to contact the Law School’s Dean of Students if they need to discuss issues related to their admission to practice law.
  3. Law Related Employment
  4. Form Law School Certificate. The Office of Registration Services will complete the Form Law School Certificate. You may email the form to [email protected] or mail to: 

    Office of Registration Services
    Columbia Law School
    Box A-25
    435 West 116th Street
    New York, NY 10027 

    Please be sure to sign and date the first page and indicate the correct department on the second page before submitting.

  5. Pro Bono Affidavit
  6.  Skills Form Affidavit