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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I had applied for a foreign lawyer eligibility certification

Customer Question

I had applied for a foreign lawyer eligibility certification for taking the New York Bar in November 2012.

The Board of Bar Examiners in New York has written to me that my LLM (obtained from an ABA approved US law school, after my basic degree in law from outside the USA) does not satisfy the Section 520.6(b)(1)(ii) requirement of successfully completing a full-time program of study consisting of a minimum of 20 semester hours of credit in professional law subjects, including basic courses in American law. They have noted that my LLM did not comprise of any courses that could be considered as basic courses in American law, on the basis of which they have rejected my application for qualification to sit for the New York State Bar examination.

They have further indicated that the Board does not have the authority to waiver any of the requirements of the Rules, such power being vested solely in the Court itself. They have asked me to petition the New York Court of Appeals under Section 520.14 for a waiver of strict compliance with Section 520.6 and for an Order admitting me to take the NY Bar examination.

Now there is a saving clause, 520.1(b) which states that the provisions of the Rules for admission that prescribe the qualifications for admission to the New York State bar examination, which were in effect at the time an applicant for admission commenced the study of law, to the extent that the application thereof was or would have been less restrictive or burdensome, shall determine the applicant's eligibility for admission to such examination.

At the time I did my LLM (2003 - 2004) the states of New York and California freely allowed foreign lawyers to take the bar examination without these additional requirements that have only come into force in the past couple of years or so. Ordinarily, the saving clause should apply to me and mine should be treated as an application (if one were to be made) at the time I graduated from the LL.M. I am admitted in two foreign jurisdictions, one being the UK, and both being common law jurisdictions. I have also taken and passed the MPRE and scored a 94 - above the requirement in New York.

I need help / professional legal advice from someone experienced in this area, and help on drafting this petition. Unfortunately I am based overseas and cannot travel at the moment, so interactions will need to take place over the phone / email.

Grateful for your help, in advance.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

Please be aware that we cannot draft legal documents for you or conduct legal research, as both of those things are outside of the scope of this service (the scope of this service is to merely provide general legal information to the public).

With the above in mind, is there something a bit more specific on the lines of information we can assist with or were you looking for a NY lawyer to actually represent you in this appeal?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, I'd firstly like to know whether it makes sense to appeal / petition for a waiver or if there has been a precedent in the past of such a waiver being granted. I think I have a good case. If the answer is yes, I would need a reference of a (not too expensive) NY lawyer to assist. If this is not within the scope, no issues.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
I apologize. I must opt out here because as I said, we cannot do legal research and I do not know of a case off hand for you. I will opt out and you are not charged and I will open this to other experts who may have knowledge of some case off the top of their head for you. Please do not respond to me and if another expert has information they will jump in and reply to you.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your post. A different professional here. I have been trying to find case law on point for you but so far I am not seeing anything closely aligned with your unique fact pattern. My take on this situation is not just based on the potential grandfathering claim but also a reasonable extension of the exceptions under statute. Since graduation and the sitting for the bar are about 8 years apart, the Board of Bar Examiners can claim that the clause is no longer binding since the extension is now unreasonable based on the period of time between the program and the test. Still, it would not invalidate the LLM which itself should be sufficient to permit parties to sit for the exam based on Bar Examiner limitations. I am afraid that their decision, legally, appears sound. I would suggest that you consider browsing for competent counsel--it is the site attorneys use to rate each other and for internal referrals if they have no direct links to a specific jurisdiction or a specific specialization.

Good luck and please take care. I do apologize but I could not find any direct law that would assist you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Not a problem, Dimitry. Thanks for your help, both, Paul and Dimitry.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

You are most welcome, truly. This is definitely a most unique occurrence and I truly hope that you will be able to prevail, since it really does not make sense other than to attempt to ensure that foreign attorneys that are otherwise educated and qualified are unable to practice locally. It is highly unlikely that you would be pursuing US Constitutional law here.

Good luck.