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New York Bar Exam

www.BarPlus.com

 

Format, Content, & Grading of the New York Bar Exam

 


All data provided below are subject to change by a decision at any time by the NYS Board of Law Examiners.  When any changes are made, they will be posted on this site.

The New York Bar Exam is a two-day exam -- Tuesday and Wednesday -- with the New York essays and MPT on Tuesday and the multiple-choice Multistate Bar Exam on Wednesday.

First Day (Tuesday) morning session:  
3 hours, 15 minutes 
Three Essay Questions
50 New York Multiple-Choice (NYMC) questions
Recommended time allocation: 
40 minutes per essay question, 1 minute 30 seconds per NY Multiple-Choice question.

First Day (Tuesday) afternoon session: 
3 hours 
One Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
For details on the MPT, click here.
Two Essay Questions
Recommended time allocation: 
90 minutes for the MPT and 45 minutes for each essay.

For information on taking the local portion of the NY Bar Exam by laptop computer, click here.

Second Day (Wednesday) morning session: 
3 hours
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) 
100 Multiple-Choice questions.

Second Day (Wednesday) afternoon session: 
3 hours
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) 
100 Multiple-Choice questions.

For details on the MBE, click here.
For details on transferring an MBE score, click here

If you take two bar exams at the same time (local in New York on Tuesday, local in the other jurisdiction on Thursday, MBE in either state on Wednesday), New York will accept the score of the MBE taken in either state.  

The most popular combinations are NY-NJ, NY-CT, and NY-MA.  The requirements keep changing, so check first with BOTH states.

Subjects Tested on the New York Local Portion:

Agency
Commercial Paper
Conflict of Laws
Corporations
Domestic Relations
Equitable Remedies (Equity) 
Estate Taxation
Federal Jurisdiction
Future Interests
Mortgages
No-Fault Insurance
New York Practice & Procedure
New York Professional Responsibility
Partnership
Personal Property
Secured Transactions
Trusts
Wills
Workers' Compensation.

Plus New York distinctions for the six MBE subjects:
Constitutional Law
Contracts/Sales
Criminal Law/Procedure
Evidence
Real Property
Torts


Grading of the NY Bar Exam:


The New York essays, the New York multiple-choice, the performance test, and the MBE are each graded separately.

The raw score for each of the four parts is then scaled, by converting each raw score to a 0-1,000 grid (thus equating the scoring of each part).

But each part has a different weight.

So the scaled score for each part is weighted, by multiplying it by its percentage weighing factor.

Five Essay Questions -- 40%
NY Multiple-Choice (NYMC)  -- 10%
Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)  --  40%
Multistate Performance Test (MPT) -- 10%

See:  Sample New York Grading Sheet


The New York results are generally released in mid-November for the Summer exam, and in early May for the Winter exam.

 

New York Bar Exam Pass Rates
For First-Time Takers
From New York State Law Schools*

(Pass rates are generally lower, and sometimes much lower, for all candidates)

Law School

July 2004

July 2003

July 2002

July 2001

July 2000

July 1999

July 1998

Albany

78

66

77

77

75

76

81

Brooklyn

84

84

80

82

74

78

85

Buffalo

80

73

73

71

73

73

75

Cardozo

80

88

83

86

75

74

80

Columbia

94

96

94

94

92

92

92

Cornell

92

94

97

96

94

91

94

CUNY

67

55

50

69

74

64

65

Fordham

88

86

89

93

85

86

89

Hofstra

69

66

79

77

63

74

80

NYLS

68

72

72

72

72

58

70

NYU

97

97

96

96

94

94

97

Pace

74

74

71

69

67

67

73

St. John's

87

85

83

82

78

78

81

Syracuse

76

84

70

72

58

65

75

Touro

69

63

58

62

69

62

63

NY State Average

77

78

76

79

75

75

78

*These pass rates are NOT official. 
They were supplied by the law schools themselves and were published in the New York Law Journal.


Overall New York Bar Exam Pass Rates

Bar Exam Bar Candidates Number Passing Number Failing Overall Pass Rate First-Timer Pass Rate
Summer 2004 9,555 6,448 3,107 67.5 76.6
Summer 2003 9,407 6,532 2,875 69.4 77.6
Summer 2002 9,693 6,546 3,147 67.5 76.5
Summer 2001

9,194

6,664

2,530

72.5

79.6

Summer 2000

8,896

6,006

2,890

67.5

75.0

Summer 1999

8,541

5,846

2,695

68.4

75.3

Summer 1998

8,788

6,160

2628

70.1

77.9

Summer 1997

8,520

6,029

2,491

70.8

78.1

Summer 1996

8,070

5,743

2,327

71.2

78.0

Summer 1995

8,064

5,776

2,288

71.6

78.5

Summer 1994

7,737

6,091

1,646

78.7

85.6

Summer 1993

7,375

5,506

1,869

74.7

82.0

Summer 1992

7,436

5,493

1,943

73.9

82.0

 

Bar Exam Bar Candidates Number Passing Number Failing Overall Pass Rate First-Timer Pass Rate
Winter 2005

3,215

1,528

1,687

47.5

62.6

Winter 2004

3,251

1,479

1,772

45.5

58.1

Winter 2003

3,293

1,531

1,762

46.5

61.9

Winter 2002

3,167

1,338

1,829

42.2

57.6

Winter 2001

3,515

1,548

1,967

44.0

58.2

Winter 2000

3,025

1,359

1,666

44.9

60.1

Winter 1999

3,073

1,556

1,517

50.6

64.4

Winter 1998

2,979

1,427

1,552

47.9

64.5

Winter 1997

2,685

1,380

1,305

51.4

66.7

Winter 1996

2,569

1,433

1,136

55.8

69.4

Winter 1995

2,148

1,109

1,039

51.6

70.8

Winter 1994

2,249

1,187

1,062

52.8

70.0

Winter 1993

2,200

1,105

1,095

50.2

67.0

Winter 1992

2,232

1,152

1,080

51.6

68.0


Relative Importance of Subjects Tested
On the Essay Portion of the New York Bar Exam 

Since New York Incorporated the MBE in 1979*

Subject

Number of Questions

Number of NY Bar Exams

1 New York Practice & Procedure

97 of 289

48 of 49

2 Contracts/Sales

49 of 289

48 of 49

3 Wills

48 of 289

44 of 49

4 Criminal Law / Criminal Procedure

47 of 289

43 of 49

5 Torts

45 of 289

42 of 49

6 Domestic Relations

42 of 289

41 of 49

7 Corporations

41 of 289

38 of 49

8 Real Property

31 of 289

29 of 49

9 Evidence

29 of 289

26 of 49

10 Trusts

23 of 289

24 of 49

11 Partnership

19 of 289

19 of 49

12 Federal Jurisdiction & Procedure

16 of 289

17 of 49

13 Conflict of Laws

13 of 289

12 of 49

14 Agency

11 of 289

12 of 49

15 Commercial Paper

11 of 289

11 of 49

16 Mortgages

10 of 289

10 of 49

17 Estate Tax

8 of 289

8 of 49

18 Equitable Remedies (Equity)

7 of 289

7 of 49

19 Future Interests

7 of 289

7 of 49

20 Professional Responsibility**

9 of 289

9 of 49

21 No-Fault Insurance

6 of 289

5 of 49

22 Workers' Compensation

6 of 289

5 of 49

23 Constitutional Law

4 of 289

4 of 49

24 Secured Transactions

3 of 289

3 of 49

*Through the Winter of 2001, there were six essays on the New York Bar Exam.
Beginning with Summer 2001, the New York Bar Exam has had five essays on the local day.
Before the Summer 1979 New York Bar Exam, there were 12 essays on the exam.

**Professional Responsibility has been on each exam since Summer 2001.

MPT Themes Tested on the New York Bar Exam

Winter 2007

 

Summer 2006

Prepare a Memo on a Proposed Real-Estate Transaction

Winter 2006

Prepare a Brief for the State's Attorney's Office

Summer 2005

Prepare a Memo on a Proposed Zoning Change

Winter 2005

Draft a Memo on Attorney Fee-Splitting

Summer 2004

Draft a "Case-Planning Memo"

Winter 2004

Evidentiary Brief for the State of New York

Summer 2003

Memo About an Employer's Liability for Allegedly Tortious Acts by Its Employee

Winter 2003

Letter to Opposing Counsel About Enforcing a Lease

Summer 2002

Memo From an Assistant District Attorney

Winter 2002

Opinion Letter for Joint Venture

Summer 2001

Brief Supporting a Motion to Quash a Subpoena

For MPT themes tested in other jurisdictions, click here.


New York Bar Exam Details


Admission to the New York Bar on Motion 
(i.e., without having to sit for the bar exam)


1. You must be a graduate of an ABA-accredited law school.

2. You must be admitted to the bar of at least one other jurisdiction.  

3. You must have practiced law for at least five of the prior seven years.

4. At least one of the other jurisdictions to which you are admitted must have a similar policy by which New York attorneys can be admitted without taking that jurisdiction's bar exam.

You must obtain a Certificate of Legal Education, and pay a filing fee.

NY Court of Appeals Rules for Admission on Motion 

New York currently has reciprocity with: 

Alaska  /  Colorado  /  District of Columbia  /  Illinois  /  Indiana  /  Iowa  /  Kentucky  /  Massachusetts  /  Michigan  /  Minnesota  /  Missouri  /  Nebraska  /  North Carolina  /  North Dakota  /  Ohio  /  Oklahoma  /  Pennsylvania  /  Tennessee  /  Texas  /  Virginia  /  Washington  /  West Virginia  /  Wisconsin  /  Wyoming   /  Colorado  /  District of Columbia  /  Illinois  /  Indiana  /  Iowa  /  Kentucky  /  Massachusetts  /  Michigan  /  Minnesota  /  Missouri  /  Nebraska  /  North Carolina  /  North Dakota  /  Ohio  /  Oklahoma  /  Pennsylvania  /  Tennessee  /  Texas  /  Virginia  /  Washington  /  West Virginia  /  Wisconsin  /  Wyoming 

Graduates of non-U.S. Law Schools, click here.

Mandatory CLE (Continuing Legal Education)
For each of the first two years after your admission to the New York Bar, you must complete 16 hours of Continuing Legal Education. Six of these hours must be in "skills," three in "ethics," and seven in "practice management." 
After your first two years, you must complete 24 hours of CLE every two years.
LawTV will be providing CLE credits, in cooperation with BarPlus.

For further information, contact:

NY State Board of Law Examiners
Building 3 - Corporate Plaza
254 Washington Avenue Extension
Albany, NY 12203-5195
518-452-8700  /  800-342-3335 (in NYS)
Calls are accepted 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM M-F.
Voice messages are broadcast 24 hrs. a day.
Fax: 518-452-5729 (24 hours a day)


Exam Dates: 
Test Sites
/ NYBE Security Policy

Winter 2008
Tuesday & Wednesday, 
February 26 & 27, 2008

Summer 2008
Tuesday & Wednesday, 
July 29 & 30, 2008
Manhattan, Albany, Buffalo

Candidates from New York's Fourth Department (roughly, Syracuse and west) generally take the exam in Buffalo. Candidates from New York's Third Department (roughly, Ithaca and east) generally take the exam in Albany. Candidates from the First and Second Departments (NYC, LI, and Downstate) generally take the exam in Manhattan. Candidates who do not have a New York State residence generally take the exam in Albany.

Filing deadlines and fees are subject to change.  Contact the New York State Board of Law Examiners to learn the rules in effect at the time of your application.

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