Bill S2992-2011

Relates to the rule-making power of the court of appeals as to admission of attorneys and counsellors

Relates to the rule-making power of the New York state court of appeals as to admission of attorneys and counselors.






TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the judiciary law, in relation to the rule-making power of the New York state court of appeals as to admission of attorneys and counsellors

PURPOSE OF THE BILL: To allow graduates of law schools who have achieved a juris doctorate from a law school accredited by a national accrediting agency and who have passed the bar exam and been admitted to practice in another state, to sit for the bar exam in New York State.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Amends subdivision 3 of §53 of the Judiciary Law to allow a person to sit for the bar exam in New York State if:

(1) he or she has received a juris doctorate from a law school which:

(a) is accredited by a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education whose scope of authority includes first professional degrees in law; and

(b) which law school qualifies for participation in the federal student loan program under Title IV; and

(2) he or she has passed the bar exam and been admitted to practice in another state.

JUSTIFICATION: * Ian is a professor at the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota where he teaches business ethics and international business. He holds a B.A. from Oxford university, a Ph.D from Columbia University and J.D. from Concord Law School.

* Kent is a licensed attorney and partner at a California firm. He is a graduate of William Howard Taft University's Witkin School of Law. He was named a Southern California Rising Star by Southern California Super Lawyers, 2005-2007.

* Larry was a managing director at Apple Computer International in Hong Kong. He later founded his own graphics business. He earned an MBA earlier in his career, and later became a graduate of Concord Law School and was admitted in California. In June of 2007, he was honored by the LA Bar Assn. for his work with victims of domestic violence.

* Joy had a 30-year medical research career. While continuing her work, she was able to attend Concord Law School, and ultimately was admitted to practice in Wisconsin where she applies her medical knowledge to assist the disabled apply for social security benefits.

What these people have in common is that none of them are permitted to sit for the Bar Examination in New York; and their legal and professional achievements elsewhere will not change that. Why?

Because the law schools that they attended are on-line institutions and, under existing law, are deemed to be "correspondence', schools. As such, are their graduates, unlike the graduates of ABA, other non-ABA, and even foreign law schools, have no pathway to sit for the Bar or practice in New York. Ever.

Bar admission rules are essentially a creature of the 19205 when states were encouraged to defer to the American Bar Association (ABA) to develop clearinghouse standards by which a law school, and its graduates, should be judged. This had the effect of reversing a centuries of admission practices that sought to verify that an applicant to the Bar had learned the law, not the method he or she had chosen to learn it. While well-intended, these rules have become virtual dogma, and in the context of today's learning environment, are clearly out of touch with changes in the way we teach and learn.

Technology has changed the fabric of every aspect of our lives. Yet we do not embrace those technological advancements when it comes to teaching and learning the law. As such, New York rules prohibit graduates of even the most challenging, interactive law school programs if they utilize an on-line or distance education backbone, notwithstanding the fact that distance education, in synchronous, asynchronous, hybrid and blended program formats is well integrated into traditional higher education with positive results. These non-traditional teaching environments provide significant benefits. that, in the case of legal education in particular, puts it within in the reach of a non-traditional population -- most of which would otherwise have no opportunity to gain a legal education or enter the practice of law.

This measure balances the equities, by opening the door to alternative methods of delivering legal education, but requiring that in order for a person to sit for the Bar Exam in New York: (1) the underlying institution has been accredited by a nationally accredited accrediting agency recognized by USDOE to issue a juris doctorate and (2) any such graduate must have passed the Bar Exam of and been admitted to practice law in another state.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.7792A. 2009-10 - Same as A.11339


EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the 180th day after it becomes law.


STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2992 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 4, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. ADAMS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the judiciary law, in relation to the rule-making power of the New York state court of appeals as to admission of attorneys and counsellors THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 3 of section 53 of the judiciary law, as amended by chapter 450 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read as follows: 3. (A) The court shall prescribe rules providing for a uniform system of examination of candidates for admission to practice as attorneys and counsellors, which shall govern the state board of law examiners in the performance of its duties. The court shall not by its rules cause to be barred from examination or, upon successful completion of the examina- tion process, subsequent admission to the state bar, provided he or she shall otherwise meet any requirements for admission, any person who is currently admitted to practice in the jurisdiction of another state and has received a degree from a law school which qualifies such person to practice law in such state, other than a law school which grants credit for correspondence courses, provided that such person has been engaged in the actual practice of law in the state in which they are admitted for no less than five years. (B) NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVI- SION, THE COURT SHALL NOT BY ITS RULES CAUSE TO BE BARRED FROM EXAMINA- TION, OR UPON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF THE EXAMINATION PROCESS, SUBSE- QUENT ADMISSION TO THE STATE BAR, ANY PERSON WHO HAS SUCCESSFULLY PASSED THE BAR EXAMINATION OF ANOTHER STATE, HAS BEEN ADMITTED TO PRACTICE IN ANOTHER STATE, AND WHO HAS RECEIVED A JURIS DOCTORATE DEGREE FROM A LAW SCHOOL WHICH IS ACCREDITED BY A NATIONAL ACCREDITING AGENCY RECOGNIZED BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WHOSE SCOPE OF AUTHORITY
INCLUDES FIRST PROFESSIONAL DEGREES IN LAW AND WHICH LAW SCHOOL QUALI- FIES FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM UNDER TITLE IV OF THE FEDERAL HIGHER EDUCATION ACT OF NINETEEN HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE, AS AMENDED. S 2. The court of appeals shall promulgate rules necessary to effectu- ate the provisions of this act. S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law; provided, that section two of this act shall take effect immediately.


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