In December of 2015, the New York Court of Appeals adopted Rule 520.18, modifying the requirements for admission to the New York Bar, by creating a Skills Competency and Professional Values Requirement (“Skills Requirement”). This requirement is in effect for all JD students who begin their studies in August of 2016 or thereafter, and all LLM students who began their program of study in August 1, 2018 or later.
There are five pathways by which law students can qualify for admission to the New York Bar under the Skills Requirement: (1) law school certification of competence in skills and professional values; (2) 15 credits of experiential learning; (3) completion of the Pro Bono Scholars Program; (4) completion of a post-graduate apprenticeship; or (5) practice in another jurisdiction for a specific period.
All Scalia Law JD students will be able to satisfy the Skills Requirement under Pathway 1 or 2.
LLM students may be able to satisfy the Skills Requirement under Pathway 4 or Pathway 5. Please note that it is possible for LLM students to satisfy the Skills Requirement under Pathway 2. However, electing this pathway will most likely result in the addition of extra coursework.
These pathways represent requirements for admission solely to the New York Bar; they are not additional requirements for a Scalia Law degree.
Skills Competency Requirement for JD candidates
This section summarizes the requirements of New York Court of Appeals Rule 520.18 for JD students entering the JD program on or after August 2016; it does not displace an individual’s responsibility to read, understand, and comply with any of the New York Bar rules and regulations, including Section 520.18. Moreover, only the New York Board of Law Examiners (and ultimately the New York Court of Appeals) can determine eligibility to sit for the New York Bar exam.
Pathway 1 allows applicants to satisfy the skills competency requirement by submitting a certification from their law school confirming that (1) the school’s curriculum incorporates the teaching of skills and professional values required for participation in the legal profession, and (2) that the applicant has acquired sufficient competency in those skills and sufficient familiarity with those values.
Scalia Law School’s JD requirements offers all JD students, including transfer students, the means to acquire and graduate with the skills and values required for legal practice and qualify for admission to the New York Bar under Pathway 1. The Law School faculty is committed to ensuring that the intent of Pathway 1 of the Skills Requirement is met, and has developed learning outcomes that guide the curriculum from which each JD student will be choosing courses that meet this requirement.
Scalia Law has determined that graduates are prepared for “basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession” (22 NYCRR 520.18[a][i][a]) if they:
- Satisfy the degree requirements for the JD, and
- Achieve a passing grade in the coursework specified below.
Successful compliance with both requirements will be taken as satisfactory evidence that the JD student has demonstrated compliance with Section 520.18’s Pathway 1 requirement under our plan of curriculum.
For information on course requirements, see JD Curriculum.
For information on individual courses, see Course Descriptions.
Pathway 2 permits an applicant to submit proof that the applicant has satisfied 15 credits of practice-based experiential course work, as defined by American Bar Association Standards for the Approval of Law Schools, of practice-based experiential coursework designed to foster the development of professional competencies.
New York has provided an illustrative list of categories that can be used as guide to help applicants determine whether or not a course will satisfy this requirement:
“Examples of offerings that constitute practice-based experiential courses satisfying the skills and professional values competency requirement include, but are not limited to: Client Service and Business Development; Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration and other alternate dispute resolution methods; Cultural Competency; Collaboration or Project Management; Financial Analysis (e.g., accounting, budgeting, project management and valuation); Use of Technology, Data Analyses, or Predictive Coding; Business Strategy and Behavior.”
Given Scalia Law’s list of required courses, JD candidates will satisfy at least 11 of the required 15 credits. For a list of these courses, and suggestions on how to fill the remaining requirements, visit the New York Admissions page.
Skills Competency Requirement for LLM Candidates
This section summarizes the requirements of New York Court of Appeals Rule 520.18 for LLM students entering the LLM program on or after August 1, 2018; it does not displace an individual’s responsibility to read, understand, and comply with any of the New York Bar rules and regulations, including Section 520.18. Moreover, only the New York Board of Law Examiners (and ultimately the New York Court of Appeals) can determine eligibility to sit for the New York Bar exam.
LLM students seeking admission to New York will most likely be able to satisfy the Skills Requirement under Pathway 4 or Pathway 5. Although LLM applicants must meet specific academic credit load and coursework requirements, due to the program’s 1-year duration, LLM students cannot meet the requirements under Pathway 1. Additionally, while Pathway 2 (explained above) may be an option, given the requirements to satisfy Pathway 2, LLM students should expect to extend their course of study at Scalia Law for at least one more semester. For this reason, Pathway 4 or Pathway 5 is likely a better option.
Pathway 4 (“Apprenticeship”)
Pathway 4 allows an applicant to meet the Skills Requirement by completing a full-time paid or unpaid apprenticeship after completion of their foreign law degree. The apprenticeship must be for at least a continuous 6-months duration in a law office in the United States, under the supervision of one or more attorneys who have, for at least two years, been admitted to practice and in good standing in the jurisdiction where the apprenticeship occurs.
For an applicant who is unable to secure an apprenticeship in the United States, the applicant may complete the apprenticeship in a law office in another country, territory or commonwealth outside the continental United States, under the supervision of one or more attorneys who have, for at least two years, been in good standing and authorized to practice law in that country, territory or commonwealth.
In countries, territories or commonwealths that permit the practice of law without formal admission, supervision by a law graduate who has not been formally admitted to the bar may suffice as long as the supervisor is authorized to engage in the relevant practice under the jurisdiction's rules, is in full compliance with the jurisdiction's rules, and has had at least two years of experience in the relevant practice.
Pathway 5 (“Authorized Practice of Law in Another Jurisdiction”)
Pathway 5 allows an applicant who has been authorized to practice law in another state, or in a commonwealth, territory or country outside the United States, to meet the skills competency requirement by establishing that the applicant has been in good standing and practiced law full-time for one year or part-time for two years. Prior legal practice may qualify even if it occurred without formal admission to the bar if the applicant engaged in lawful practice in a country, territory or commonwealth that permits legal practice without formal admission to the bar, and if the prior practice was for at least one year or half-time for two years, in full compliance with the jurisdiction’s rules.
Questions regarding the information on this page can be directed to Amanda E. Compton, Director of Bar Support and Instructor.
- Skills Competency Affidavit Form (to be completed for Pathways 1-5)
- Skills Competency Requirement Frequently Asked Questions
- NY Bar Exam Information Guide
Page updated: December 2018