Whether you’re a 1L, a 3L, or you’re simply just thinking about one day becoming an attorney, it’s never too early to learn about the process of becoming an admitted attorney in the State of New York. To become an attorney in New York, you must:
- Graduate from law school
- Score an 85 or higher on the Multistate Professional Responsibility and Ethics Exam (MPRE)
- Complete the New York Law Course (NYLC)
- Pass the New York Law Exam (NYLE)
- Score a 266 or higher on the Uniform Bar Exam
- Submit an application to the character and fitness committee (and ultimately be approved)
As of today, I’ve done all of the above and am currently waiting to hear back from the character and fitness committee, hence my status as a law clerk pending admission here at Linden Law. Of all those steps, unsurprisingly, passing the bar was the hardest part of the process.
Here are a few of the things that I did to prepare that might be helpful to you:
Start Studying After Graduation
I graduated from law school on a Friday and started my prep program the following Monday. Starting right after graduation was helpful because my mindsight was already in study-mode following my finals, and it ensured I had enough time to complete 100% of my program. This also allowed me enough time to evaluate how my studying was working for me and make any changes I needed to.
Treat Studying Like Your Full Time Job
This one is a privilege to be able to do and might not be possible for everyone. I was fortunate enough to be able to leave my job to study full time for the bar. If you have to work or have other obligations, such as childcare, make sure to make a feasible study schedule for yourself before you start studying to accommodate your schedule.
Know What You Don’t Know
One of the hardest parts about studying is knowing what you don’t know. It’s important to stay engaged with your studying so you know which topics and subtopics you’re struggling with. This allows you to work some extra review time into your schedule. For me, I really struggled with Contracts when I first started studying. I took time every day to drill extra Contracts questions, focusing on learning from the questions I got wrong, which really improved my practice scores.
Intense studying, like the studying required for taking the bar exam, is physically and emotionally draining. It’s beneficial to take a break in the middle of the day to eat something and step away from the material. I also tried my best to take a 24 hour break every six to seven days. It’s really important to take care of your physical and mental health during this time so you can perform at your best.
Studying for the bar is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it’s gotten me one step closer to my goal of becoming an attorney. Study hard, stay resilient, and make sure to use any mistakes or failures as an opportunity to learn.
About the author
Jillian McDonald graduated with a Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law school where she participated in the Criminal Defense and Advocacy Clinic. During law school, Jillian participated in internships with unemployment law, mental hygiene law, and civil rights law. Prior to law school, Jillian worked in personal injury law firms Jillian holds a Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY New Paltz.