Bar Examination Information for LL.M. Students
Every year, a few of our LSU Law LL.M. students sit for state bar exams immediately after they graduate. However, it is the responsibility of the LL.M. student to familiarize him/herself with the requirements of the bar exam he/she wishes to take. Eligibility to sit for a particular state bar exam varies from state to state. Completion of the LL.M. degree in itself does not guarantee eligibility to take a bar examination. In some states, including New York, California, and Louisiana, the completion of an LL.M. degree along with certain other criteria will allow attorneys with a non-U.S. law degree to sit for the bar exam.
Given the rapidness with which bar examination and admissions Rules can change, we encourage students to consult the particular website of the New York State Board of Law Examiners in addition to the websites of any other U.S. bar jurisdictions in which students are particularly interested in order to have the most accurate and up-to-date information.
For more information, please refer to Chart 4 in the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE).
New York Bar Examination
New York Bar Skills Competency Requirement for Admission to the Bar – Applicable to students commencing the LL.M. in August 2018 or later
This section summarizes the additional requirement for admission to the New York Bar found in Rule 520.18; it does not displace an individual’s responsibility to read, understand, and comply with any of the NY Bar rules and regulations, including other eligibility and admissions requirements.
Beginning in August 2018, candidates for admission to the New York bar must show competency to provide legal services in the state of New York in order to meet the Skills Competency and Professional Values Bar Admission Requirement under rule 520.18. Please note that this requirement is a requirement for admission (finalizing bar membership) and is not a prerequisite for eligibility to take the New York bar exam.
Applicants to the bar may satisfy this requirement by completing one of five separate pathways contained in §520.18. Pathways 1 through 3 focus on courses and work experiences completed during an applicant’s legal education, while pathways 4 and 5 allow an applicant to rely on practical experiences outside of law school.
At this time, LSU LL.M. students must use pathways 4 and 5 (described in subsections 520.18(a)(4) or 520.18(a)(5) of the rule); these pathways allow candidates to establish competence before or after the LL.M. through legal apprenticeship or legal practice in the U.S. or another country prior to admission to the bar. Pathways 1 through 3 are not available to LSU Law LL.M. students.
Pathway 4 (Apprenticeship)
To satisfy the requirement under Pathway 4, an applicant must complete a six-month full-time paid or unpaid apprenticeship in a law office in the United States or in a law office in another country. The apprenticeship must be for a continuous six-month period and must start after the conclusion of the applicant’s first degree in law program.
The apprenticeship must be 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 the country, territory or commonwealth where the apprenticeship takes place.
Pathway 5 (Practice in another jurisdiction)
To satisfy the requirement under Pathway 5, an applicant who has been authorized to practice law in another U.S. jurisdiction or another country must submit 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. Formal admission to another country’s bar is not a requirement under this pathway as long as all of other requirements are met.
For additional details and to check for updates, please see the New York State Board of Law Examiners page. You may also want to consult FAQs for New York’s Skills Competency and Professional Values Bar Admission Requirement.
Louisiana Bar Examination
LL.M. graduates under proper visa status (this includes J-1 visa status, which can be prolonged for a period up to 18 months for academic training: see LL.M. Employment section) are eligible to sit for the Bar Exam in Louisiana.
Students who are thinking of sitting for the Louisiana Bar Exam, should consider the following requirements set by the Louisiana Supreme Court when selecting their courses. To be eligible to sit for the Bar, 14 credit hours must be earned in professional law subjects in any of the following categories: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Corporations or Business Organizations, Evidence, Federal Jurisdiction, Federal Civil Procedure, Intellectual Property, Legal Research and Writing, Louisiana Civil Procedure, Louisiana Family Law, Louisiana Obligations Law, Louisiana Successions, Donations and Trusts, Professional Responsibility, Property, Sale and Lease, Security Rights, Taxation, and Torts, provided that no more than 4 credit hours in any one subject shall be counted toward this requirement.
We will be happy to provide comprehensive course recommendations for students who are considering taking the bar exam after the LL.M.
LSU Law LL.M. Bar Passage Rate
Though our LL.M. is not primarily designed to be a preparatory program leading to legal practice in the United States, some of our graduates decide to sit for a U.S. bar exam. In the past seven years, our LL.M. New York Bar passage rate has been close to 100%, as compared to the national average of foreign-educated candidates, which is less than 50%! Our passage rate for the Louisiana Bar is also close to 100%.