Does The New York Bar Exam Test New York Law?
Students often ask if they need to know New York law for the New York Bar Exam. The short answer is no, but we discuss this topic in further detail below!
Does the New York Bar Exam Test New York Law?
New York administers the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE)
Effective beginning with the July 2016 bar exam, New York administers the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) drafts the multiple-choice and written portions of the UBE. These sections test federal, general, and majority law but are not written with state-specific rules in mind.
Each jurisdiction has the discretion to grade the essay portion as it sees fit. In other words, New York graders are reading the answers to the essays. As such, they are permitted to give credit to examinees who acknowledge particularly relevant or applicable New York laws. While this should not drastically change your answer to any essay question, if you know that New York, for instance, follows the minority approach on a particular legal issue, it may be more important to mention that minority approach than it would be in a jurisdiction that clearly follows the majority approach.
Prior to its adoption of the UBE, the New York Bar Exam contained both multiple-choice questions and essay questions specifically about New York law. New York law is no longer tested on the New York Bar Exam and those sections were removed.
The New York Law Exam
Before you breathe a sigh of relief thinking that you do not need to know New York law to be licensed in New York, there is another licensing requirement: the New York Law Exam (NYLE).
New York Bar requires applicants to take the New York Law Course (NYLC). This is an online, on-demand course that teaches state-specific law on 13 subjects. The course includes approximately 17 hours of recorded lectures.
Applicants can take the New York Law Exam upon completing the NYLC. The Exam is a two-hour, open-book, 50-question, multiple-choice exam that tests the New York law covered in the NYLC. The NYLE can be taken up to one year before the examinee sits for the UBE, or within 3 years after sitting for the UBE. Be sure to check New York’s jurisdictional requirements for the exact timing requirements of the NYLE.
The NY Board of Law Examiners notes
The NYLC and NYLE focus on important principles of New York law that are either different from the prevailing views of law tested on the MBE and the MEE, or are unique to New York and important for new practitioners to know. The subjects covered are: 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.
While the UBE administered in New York does not require any knowledge of state-specific law, the NYLE does require applicants to the New York Bar to have some knowledge of its law in order to become licensed.
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