Guide for Law Students About the Character and Fitness Process

Applying for Admission to Practice

What you need to know while still in Law School

Here are some important tips designed to help you navigate the admission process as efficiently as possible and avoid delays that may be incurred because of a failure to timely obtain and provide required and accurate information. This information is generally applicable in all four Departments of the Appellate Division.

During law school

  • Carefully review the application for admission to the New York Bar. Read the application questionnaire and the instructions on how to fill out the application and familiarize yourself with the forms and the various documents that you will need to gather and submit.
  • Continue to update your law school application as needed (you have a continuing obligation to do so). This means making prompt changes to any information previously on file and/or disclosing new information that you would have been required to disclose when you applied to law school. Be sure to memorialize your disclosures and retain copies with all related documentation, including any responses from your law school so that you may attach them to your application for admission.

  • On your application for admission to the NY Bar, you will be required to disclose any criminal offenses and interactions with law enforcement, including all tickets for moving violations for the past 10 years. Traffic infractions that are alcohol- or drugrelated must be disclosed even if they occurred more than 10 years prior to the date of your application.
    • If you do not remember details or dates, obtain a lifetime driving history (not an abstract) from each state where you have been licensed to drive and/or where you have received tickets, and submit a copy with your application. If the lifetime history discloses matters that you should have disclosed to your law school, but failed to, be sure to take steps to amend your law school application.

  • In reviewing the application for admission, pay particular attention to the instructions and forms related to law-related employment and your required pro bono service. The best practice is to begin compiling affirmations and/or affidavits related to your lawrelated employment and pro bono service requirement as you complete them.
    • You will be required to submit affirmations associated with any law-related employment since you turned 21 or in the 10 years prior to your application for admission, whichever is the lesser period of time.
    • Note that law-related employment is defined broadly and includes internships, externships, teaching assistant or research assistant positions, law school clinics and private employment, whether or not you received pay or law school credit.
    • As you complete each law-related employment position during law school, ask the supervising lawyer/professor to fill out the required Form Affirmation of Law Related Employment. Be sure the dates of your employment are stated accurately on the form.
    • For any law-related employment that you undertook prior to law school, request that each employer send you the Form Affirmation of Law-Related Employment. If you fail to receive a timely response, send the employer follow-up requests in writing and retain copies so that you can submit, if necessary, proof of your unsuccessful efforts to obtain the affirmation.
    • As you complete your required pro bono service, ask the supervising attorney to fill out the required Form Affidavit as to Applicant’s Compliance with the Pro Bono Requirements.

As you prepare to submit your application

  • After you have taken the bar examination, each Judicial Department's respective Admissions Office will send you helpful and important information. Retain and review all correspondence, whether received in hard copy or electronically, from the Department where you intend to apply for admission.  

  • Before starting to compile your application for admission, be sure to carefully read all application instructions, including any supplemental instructions specific to the Judicial Department in which you will submit your application.  

  • Re-read your law school application. All of the information you provide on your application for admission should be consistent with information contained in your law
    school application.  

  • Mail the Form Law School Certificate to your law school.