New York’s New Skills & Values Requirement

If you want to practice law in New York, then be prepared to do more than just pass the bar exam. Over the past few years New York has instituted several new requirements for becoming licensed to practice law. In addition to the passing the Uniform Bar Exam, applicants must also do the following:

The latest requirement is the Skills Competency and Professional Values Requirement. It applies to everyone who begins law school after August 1, 2016.

There is no specific list of skills and values. According to the State of New York Court of Appeals (the governing body for becoming licensed to practice law), “[skills and values] are ever-evolving and should further each law school’s educational mission for its students…” Therefore, each law school should determine the skills and values with which its students should be familiar. However the Court does recommend the MacCrate Report as a good starting point for a law school to determine the skills and values.

Although there no specific list, there are specific “pathways” by which an applicant can satisfy the Requirement:

  • Pathway 1: law school has a plan that identifies and incorporates into the curriculum the skills and professional values required for basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession; this plan is publically available on the school website; and the law school can certify that the applicant has sufficient competency in the skills and familiarity with the values.
  • Pathway 2: applicant submits proof that he or she completed 15 credits of practice-based experiential coursework. 6/15 credits can be earned through non-credit summer employment that the law school certifies as equivalent.
  • Pathway 3: completes the NY Pro Bono Scholars Program.
  • Pathway 4: complete a post-grad 6-month fellowship.
  • Pathway 5: for applicants authorized to practice full-time for one year and part-time for two years.

Click here for more information on the Skills and Values Requirement.

-KSK