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The Law School’s Certification of its Graduates for Satisfying the NYS Skills Competency Requirement for Admission

The New York Court of Appeals requires that every applicant for admission to practice (with exceptions specified in Section 520.10 or 520.5 or 520.5) shall demonstrate that the applicant possesses the skills and values necessary to provide effective, ethical and responsible legal services in this State.  Please consult the Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law, Part 520.8, available at here. There are five possible pathways to comply with this requirement.

At Brooklyn Law School, all JD students beginning their studies after August 1, 2016 and all LLM students beginning their studies after August 1, 2018, who plan to apply for admission to the New York State Bar must certify that they have achieved basic competence in the skills and values of the legal profession.  Brooklyn Law School is committed to preparing effective, ethical and responsible members of the legal profession and will certify compliance under Pathway 1 as follows:

Pathway 1:  for JD students beginning their studies as of August 1, 2016

Students will be certified under Pathway 1 as having basic lawyering competence and the ability to practice ethically if the student satisfactorily completes the requirements below. Satisfactory completion is achieving a grade of C or higher in a graded course or a Pass in a course graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

  • The Law School’s orientation program for entering students which introduces students to the legal profession and values necessary for ethical practice and the skills required to be an effective attorney.
  • The following classes:
    • At least four-credits in a course or courses during the first year of law school that teach fundamentals of legal research, legal writing and lawyering skills including negotiation and oral argument.
    • Six additional credits in experiential courses of which at least one course must be a clinic or externship that will expose students to oral and written communication, problem solving, fact investigation, research and writing and case theory/planning.
    • A professional responsibility course.
  • Opportunities and encouragement to engage in pro bono service in excess of the 50 hours required which exposes students to oral and written communication, problem solving, fact investigation, research and writing and case theory/planning.

Pathway 1:  for JD students beginning their studies as of May 1, 2019

Students will be certified under Pathway 1 as having basic lawyering competence and the ability to practice ethically if the student satisfactorily completes the requirements below. Satisfactory completion is achieving a grade of C or higher in a graded course or a Pass in a course graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

  • The Law School’s orientation program for entering students which introduces students to the legal profession and values necessary for ethical practice and the skills required to be an effective attorney.
  • The following classes:
    • At least seven credits in a course or courses during the first year of law school that teach fundamentals of legal research, legal writing and lawyering skills including negotiation and oral argument.
    • Six additional credits in experiential courses of which at least one course must be a clinic or externship that will expose students to oral and written communication, problem solving, fact investigation, research and writing and case theory/planning.
    • A professional responsibility course.
  • Opportunities and encouragement to engage in pro bono service in excess of the 50 hours required for NYS bar admission which exposes students to oral and written communication, problem solving, fact investigation, research and writing and case theory/planning.

This is the form that must be completed for certification of completion of Pathway 1.

Pathway 1:  for LL.M. students beginning their studies as of August 1, 2018

LL.M. students will be certified under Pathway 1 as having basic lawyering competence and the ability to practice ethically if the student satisfactorily completes the requirements below. Satisfactory completion is achieving a Pass.

  • The Law School’s orientation program for incoming LL.M. students.
  • The following classes:
    • At least five-credits in a course or courses during the first semester that teach fundamentals of U.S. law, legal research, legal writing, legal analysis and reasoning, problem-solving, written and oral communication in the legal context, and lawyering skills including negotiation and oral argument.
    • Faculty-taught skills workshops scheduled throughout the academic year that focus on document drafting, interviewing, counseling and fact development and analysis.
    • A professional responsibility course.
  • Opportunities and encouragement to engage in pro bono service in excess of the 50 hours required which exposes students to oral and written communication, problem solving, fact investigation, research and writing and case theory/planning.

LLM students who cannot satisfy the requirements of Pathway 1 also should consider completing the requirements of either Pathway 4 or 5 neither of which necessitate certification by the Law School. [See below]

Pathway 2:  for JD students beginning their studies as of August 1, 2016

Students will be certified under Pathway 2 upon completion of fifteen [15] credits of experiential coursework, of which

  • Up to six academic credits must come from experiential courses of which at least one course must be a clinic or externship that will expose students to oral and written communication, problem solving, fact investigation, research and writing and case theory/planning.
  • Up to six “credits” may come from a paid or unpaid non-credit bearing summer employment supervised by an attorney in good standing in any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia. 

The employment "credits" are used solely for the purpose of meeting the Pathway 2 Skills Requirement. They will not appear on a transcript and will not count towards the overall graduation requirements. A maximum of three (3) summer employment credits may be obtained in a single summer.  Fifty (50) hours of work constitutes one summer employment credit.

This is the form that must be completed by both the student and the supervising attorney in order to ensure that summer legal employment counts toward Pathway 2. It is recommended that you alert the supervisor about this form and the supervision requirements during the first week of summer employment. Please submit all completed form(s) to the Registrar's office.

Pathway 3:

Any student who satisfactorily completes the NYS Pro Bono Scholars Program is eligible for certification under Pathway 3.

Pathway 4:

Any applicant, both JD and LL.M, may complete a six-month full-time paid or unpaid apprenticeship 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. The apprenticeship shall be continuous for the six-month period, and shall commence after the conclusion of the applicant's law studies, except that an applicant who is required to complete an LL.M. program at an approved law school pursuant to section 520.6(b) of this Part may complete the apprenticeship before commencing the LL.M. program. The apprenticeship must be completed in its totality within the three-year application filing deadline provided in section 520.12(d) of this Part.

Pathway 5:

An applicant who has been authorized to practice law in another United States jurisdiction or any other country, territory or commonwealth outside the continental United States may satisfy the skills competency requirement by establishing and submitting proof that the applicant has been in good standing and practiced law in that jurisdiction full-time for at least one year or half-time for two years following the applicant's authorization to practice. 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.

Contact

For additional information, please consult the NY Court of Appeals website.

Frequently Asked Questions, available at here