Monday, 18 August 2008

NY Bar questions

Legally Ginge asked me a couple of questions re the New York Bar qualification which I thought I would answer in a new post rather than in the comments thingy in case it was helpful to anyone else. By the way, if anyone has any questions feel free to ask. Not that I'm holding myself out as knowing anything about anything!

Here goes:

1. After qualifying are you now able to practise in the states, immediately or do you need to do some kind of TC/Pupillage equivilent.

  • After taking and passing the New York Bar Exam and the MPRE - the Professional Responsibility exam, which is held 3 times a year (to the NYB's twice a year) you then need to apply to be admitted to the New York Bar by showing fitness, character etc, much in the same way as joining an Inn.

    After that point you are free to work as an attorney, and subject to professional responsibility rules you can even set up shop as a sole practitioner - if you so desire. So, no, no TC pupillage element is required.

2. Is there a time limit after doing the qualification by which time you must have practised?

  • I actually don't know this one - I don't think so, but there is a requirement to keep up CPD points and pay Bar fees and the such in order to stay a member of the Bar.

3. Do you need a visa sponsor as a Brit to work there?

  • Yes you do, that's where the tricky part comes in - finding someone to sponsor you. In the main it'll be a H1B type visa, which is valid for 3 years and starts every October. It can be extended for 3 year periods, and the employer bears all the costs. Or you can find yourself an american boy and become a citizen that way!
4. You mentioned the course you did was mainly DVDs etc, does this mean the course held in London by BarBri is the same?

  • I had a friend taking the course in Hong Kong by video, in New York you had the live or video option, but I imagine the Barbri course would be the same - you'd have to ask them for specifics, I didn't really look into the course in London much before I signed up.

5. When you took the exam was it the level you expected or harder?

  • Well I found the exam really hard physically 'cos I had a stonking cold, but it varied in difficulty. There's an essay portion, a legal writing portion, and multiple choice portion. The Multiple choice stuff was hard, the legal writing ok, and the essays were ok as well. I think the course prepares you fairly well for the exam, so it wasn't too much of a surprise on the day. The multiple choice questions I remember being much harder than anticipated on the morning, but then the essays were easier - so I guess it evens out.
    If you follow the course you should be fine, it has a really high success rate. The NY Bar itself in July has a 80% pass rate, which is high. In the main the people that fail are those that study on their own, that don't study at all, that have been practising for years and so know old law, and I imagine a fair few foreign students.
  • Conceptually the exam isn't hard, it's just a case of memorising everything - which is dull but not hard. Having said that, I don't know if I passed or not!
Hope that helps.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for that. Very helpful. I have been swithering for a while as to what to do after the BVC (eternal student)!

I am sure you will have passed etc so no worries there :)


Mel said...

I aim to please! :)