U.S. Bar Exams

Lawyers with a foreign law degree who wish to take a bar examination after graduation should familiarize themselves with the eligibility and general requirements of the bar exam they wish to take.

Completion of the LL.M. degree in itself does not guarantee eligibility to take a bar examination. Most states will require a J.D. degree from a U.S. law school in order to sit for the bar exam.  In cases where a state does allow foreign law graduates to sit for the bar exam, including in New York, as a general rule, at least three years of legal study, not including the LL.M. degree, are required for eligibility.

The Law School’s Office of Registration Services is responsible for the bar certification of any LL.M. student intending to sit for a U.S. bar examination.

For information on the New York State bar examination, contact the New York State Board of Law Examiners directly. The rules which govern the eligibility of foreign-trained lawyers who can qualify for the bar examination by earning a U.S. LL.M. are governed by Section 520.6 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law (22 NYCRR 520.6).

It is your responsibility to write to the Board of Law Examiners to determine your eligibility to sit for the bar exam. Only the Board can make that determination, and it is best to send your requests early.  It is also your responsibility to make sure you meet all deadlines for applying to take the bar exam and to submit all of the required materials to the Board. Columbia Law School and the Office of Graduate Legal Studies are not responsible for monitoring bar exam deadlines or for updating you if the deadlines or rules for applying change.

The Office of Graduate Legal Studies cannot make copies of your foreign law school transcripts, nor can we give you the copies we have on file. No exceptions will be made. It is your responsibility to obtain additional copies of your transcripts if you plan to take the bar exam. We recommend that you do this as soon as possible during the fall semester, if you did not request them prior to arriving at Columbia (as we recommended in our pre-arrival materials).

The courses below have been approved by the New York State Court of Appeals as satisfying the requirements of Rule 520.6(b)(3)(vi)(a)-(d). This list is comprehensive and accurate as of July 2019.

  1. Rule 520.6 (b)(3)(vi)(a): The following courses satisfy the requirements of subsection (3)(vi)(a) – Professional Responsibility.  These courses also satisfy subsection (d), but the same course cannot be used for both requirements.

•                 L9039 – Legal and Ethical Obligations in Complex Litigation

•                 L6274 – Professional Responsibility

•                 L9274 – Professional Responsibility: Becoming a Lawyer

•                 L6367 – Professional Responsibility for the Transactional Lawyer

•                 L6359 – Professional Responsibility in Criminal Law

•                 L6362 – Professional Responsibility Issues in Business Practice

•                 L6363 – Professional Responsibility Issues in Public Interest Practice

•                 L6366 – Professional Responsibility: Representing Business Organizations

    1. Rule 520.6 (b)(3)(vi)(b):  L6561 – LL.M. Legal Research and Writing satisfies the requirements of Rule 520.6 (b)(3)(vi)(b).
       
    2. Rule 520.6 (b)(3)(vi)(c): The following courses satisfy subsection (3)(vi)(c) – American legal studies:

    •                 L6132 – American Constitutional Law

    •                 L6131 – American Litigation Practice

    •                 L6101 – Civil Procedure

    •                 L6133 – Constitutional Law

    •                 L6560 – Introduction to American Law

    1. Rule 520.6 (b)(3)(vi)(d): The following courses satisfy the requirements of subsection (3)(vi)(d):

    •                 L6204 – Administrative Law

    •                 L6246 – Advanced Administrative Law

    •                 L8669 – Advanced Civil Procedure

    •                 L6478 – Advanced Constitutional Law: Equal Protection

    •                 L6407 – Advanced Constitutional Law: First Amendment

    •                 L6408 – Advanced Constitutional Law: Religious Liberty

    •                 L6737 – Advanced Torts

    •                 L6132 – American Constitutional Law

    •                 L6106 – American Contract Law

    •                 L8082 – American Jurisprudence: Judicial Interpretation and the Role of Courts

    •                 L6131 – American Litigation Practice

    •                 L9331 – Church and State

    •                 L6101 – Civil Procedure 

    •                 L6214 – Civil Rights

    •                 L6422 – Conflict of Laws

    •                 L6133 – Constitutional Law

    •                 L6105 – Contracts

    •                 L6231 – Corporations

    •                 L6238 – Criminal Adjudication

    •                 L6109 – Criminal Investigations

    •                 L6108 – Criminal Law

    •                 L6241 – Evidence

    •                 L6252 – Family Law

    •                 L6425 – Federal Courts

    •                 L9350 – First Amendment and the Press (previously called First Amendment and the Institutional Press)

    •                 L6229 – Ideas of the First Amendment

    •                 L9039 – Legal and Ethical Obligations in Complex Litigation

    •                 L6169 – Legislation and Regulation

    •                 L6981 – Modern Constitutional Interpretaion & Scholarship

    •                 L6386 – Payment Transactions

    •                 L9328 – Political Theory and the First Amendment

    •                 L8187 – Pretrial Commercial Litigation

    •                 L6274 – Professional Responsibility

    •                 L9274 – Professional Responsibility: Becoming a Lawyer

    •                 L6367 – Professional Responsibility for the Transactional Lawyer

    •                 L6359 – Professional Responsibility in Criminal Law

    •                 L6362 – Professional Responsibility Issues in Business Practice

    •                 L6363 – Professional Responsibility Issues in Public Interest Practice

    •                 L6116 – Property

    •                 L6483 – Real Estate Transactions

    •                 L6245 – Remedies

    •                 L6538 – Secured Transactions

    •                 L8996 – The Constitution

    •                 L6118 – Torts

    •                 L6294 – Trusts, Estates and Estate Planning

    In addition to the bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

    For answers to questions regarding bar admissions in other jurisdictions and contact information for each state's board of bar examiners, the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements provides an excellent resource.