new york city bar admission lawyer

Committee on Character and Fitness

Maria Matos, Esq., Executive Secretary
Committee on Character and Fitness
41 Madison Avenue (at 26th Street), 26th Floor
New York, NY 10010
*Phone: ( 646) 386-5893
FAX: (212) 779-1889


Attorneys are admitted to the practice of law in New York State through one of the four departments of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, based upon the applicant’s address. The First Department covers Manhattan and the Bronx. All individuals who pass the New York State bar examination and the M.P.R.E., as well as those seeking admission on motion (from reciprocal jurisdictions), and foreign attorneys seeking to be licensed as foreign legal consultants in the First Judicial Department, must pass through an application process administered by the First Department’s Committee on Character and Fitness (“the Committee”).

All applicants must file an application questionnaire, with supporting documentation. Only complete applications will be accepted for filing. A complete application consists of the application questionnaire, all required accompanying forms and supporting documentation, including two Affidavits of Good Moral Character, and Legal Employment Affidavits from every law-related position you have held, including paid or unpaid internships, summer associate positions, volunteer work in law school clinics or elsewhere. The application materials also include law school certificates for you to fill out and send to every law school you attended. The law school then fills out its portion of the form and sends it directly to the Committee.

Create your own “admission file” to retain all notices and information you receive from the Committee and keep a copy of any document or correspondence you send to the Committee including your completed application and all attached documents.

Admission By Bar Examination
If you pass the Bar Exam and the M.P.R.E., the State Board of Law Examiners ("the Board") then officially certifies you for admission to one of the four departments of the Appellate Division in the State, based upon your address. The Board will send you a "Notice of Certification."

The Application Package for admission to the bar includes General Instructions, the Application Questionnaire, Form Affidavit as to Moral Character, Form Affidavit as to Legal Employment and Form Law School Certificate. Read the General Instructions first, then type in the required information on each form, print out the typed forms, obtain relevant signatures and mail the entire package in the order directed in the General Instructions.

A fillable applicant checklist is also included as is a fillable rider if additional space for answers is necessary. Do not reformat the questionnaire or accompanying forms. Reformats will be returned.

If you are certified to the Appellate Division, First Department, you may then file an application to the above address. Do not file with us until you receive your “Notice of Certification” from the Board. Once we receive your completed application, a tentative interview date with the Committee is assigned and a notice will be mailed to you. Once your application is reviewed, you will receive a notice from the Committee confirming the date, time and location of your interview, mandatory orientation program and admission ceremony, where the oath of office is administered in open court. This notice will also inform you if additional documentation is required to complete your application. This cycle of application, interview, orientation and oath is conducted regularly throughout the year.

Admission On Motion (Reciprocity)

Attorneys admitted in other jurisdictions seeking admission in New York without examination (reciprocity) should refer to the applicable court rules [22 NYCRR Part 520]. All applicants must first apply to the New York State Board of Law Examiners for certification that a motion candidate has the legal education required under 22 NYCRR 520.10. Candidates with addresses in Manhattan and the Bronx are assigned to the First Department; those applicants without a New York State address are certified to the Third Department. Upon payment of a fee to the State Board and the completion of the application, the State Board will inform the Committee, via copy of the letter of certification, of motion candidates assigned to the First Department. Upon our receipt of this notification, a packet containing instructions and application materials will be mailed to you. Carefully review 22 NYCRR 520.10 before seeking certification and completing and filing the application.

License as a Foreign Legal Consultant
Foreign attorneys seeking to apply for a license as a foreign legal consultant should refer to the Rules of the Court of Appeals [22 NYCRR Part 521] and the Rules of the First Department [22 NYCRR Part 610].

Once you have carefully reviewed the above Rules for eligibility, send a written request for the application materials to the Committee on Character and Fitness (mailing address indicated above). The request should include:

• Full Address, Telephone and Fax Numbers
• E-mail Address

In-house Counsel

Part 522 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals, effective April 20, 2011, permits attorneys in good standing in certain other U.S. jurisdictions to act as in-house counsel for a New York organization without satisfying traditional admission requirements.

Attorneys seeking to register as in-house counsel should refer to the Rules of the Court of Appeals [22NYCRR Part 522]. The application form (and instructions) for registration pursuant to Part 522 is uniform among the four Appellate Division Departments in New York State. An attorney may apply for registration to the Department in which he or she resides, works or plans to work. Applications for registration in the First Judicial Department should be filed with or mailed to:

Clerk of the Court
Appellate Division, First Department
27 Madison Ave,New York, New York 10010

Currently, no fees are assessed for application or registration as in-house counsel in New York State.