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Bar Admissions

California

State Bar Registration

Every applicant for admission to practice law in California must file a registration application with the Committee of Bar Examiners. This registration must be completed before you will be allowed to take the bar exam in California.

Students should submit the registration application during their first year of law school. Completing this registration early will ensure that there are no delays when applying for the bar exam during the third year of law school. The registration form is available online at the California State Bar's website.

While completing the online registration please note the following:

  • Students may be asked if you are exempt from the First Year Law Students' Examination (FYLSX). This exam does not refer to your law school exams. The FYLSX is an exam that is administered by the California Board of Law Examiners to certain students. All USC Law students enrolled in the JD program are exempt from the FYLSX.
  • Students will be required to pay the registration fee at the time you submit your Application for Registration. Payment must be made by either a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card. The current registration fee is $119.00. This fee is likely to increase on Jan. 1, 2019.
  • Students must have a social security number to register with the Committee of Bar Examiners. If you do not have a social security number please contact the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

If students are unsure whether or not they plan to seek admission to the State Bar of California they may delay submitting their registration. If they submit the registration but later decide not to seek admission to the California Bar, they will not receive a refund of registration fees.

Resources

A number of online resources are available to answer questions about California Bar admission and registration. Students may wish to begin reading the basic general information available on the Law School Registrar's website.

This information will help students understand the application process for California. Additional details about the California Bar is available online.

New York

Information regarding the New York State Bar exam may be found online.

The New York Bar has a Skills Competency Requirement for Admission. There are five pathways through which applicants for admission to practice in New York may satisfy the New York Court of Appeals Skills Competency Requirement for Admission to the Bar. JD students commencing their studies after Aug. 1, 2016 must fulfill one of the five pathways, as described by Section 520.18 of the NY Court of Appeals Rules for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law.

Students are advised to closely review the information provided by the New York Court of Appeals.

Please note: These links may be updated by the New York Courts website at any time. Students are advised to refer directly to the New York Courts page.

JD candidates may fulfill this requirement through either Pathway 1 or 2.

Pathway 2

Pathway 2 can be satisfied through certification that the applicant enrolled in and successfully completed 15 credit hours, as defined by the American Bar Association Standards for the Approval of Law Schools, of practice-based experiential coursework designed to foster the development of professional competencies. JD candidates who have successfully completed 15 credits of experiential learning coursework at USC Gould School of Law can demonstrate satisfaction of the requirement through Pathway 2.

Pathway 1

For students who seek certification for the New York Bar through Pathway 1, the Registrar's Office will review an applicant's record to ensure that the student has acquired sufficient competency in the skills and sufficient familiarity with the professional values that USC Gould School of Law identifies as being required for graduates' basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession, as described in the following Plan.*

*As defined by the American Bar Association Standards and Rules of Procedure for the Approval of Law Schools Standard 302(b), (c), and (d).

USC Gould School of Law's Pathway One Plan for fulfilling New York Bar's §520.18 Skills Competency Requirement for Admission

There are a number of factors that, taken together, allow USC Gould JD students to fulfill the Skills Competency Requirement as they fulfill their JD Degree Requirements and complete their education at USC Gould.

USC Gould JD students must complete: the foundational first year curriculum, including a choice of three electives in the spring semester; 88 total units, 65 of which must come from regularly scheduled classes; 35 upper-division graded units; six semesters of full-time attendance; an upper-division writing requirement; and a 6-unit upper-division experiential learning requirement.

In addition to fulfilling a 6-unit upper-division experiential learning requirement, students gain practical lawyering experience through externships and jobs. Each year, 75% of USC Gould students work in the public sector the summer following their first year of law school including in public interest, government, and judicial externships, clinic positions, and other academic-focused jobs. Almost all students, over 95% each year, are employed in the summer following their second year of law school in a variety of settings including the public sector, large corporate firms, small to mid-sized firms, and in-house legal departments.

The first year foundation, in addition to providing the theoretical foundation for all legal scholarship, helps develop the lawyering skills for any legal career students choose. The upper division courses help students master legal writing and practical lawyering skills.

The following chart indicates (I) what skills and professional values JD students will be exposed to during their professional career at USC Gould, and (II) what courses and experiences contribute to their competency in those skills and familiarity with those professional values.


I. Skill II. Courses that Instruct and Assess Competence in Skill
Legal analysis and reasoning Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy; Doctrinal, writing-based, and experiential learning courses (including clinics and practicums)
Legal research Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy
Problem-solving Legal Ethics; Doctrinal, writing-based, and experiential learning courses (including clinics and practicums)
Written and oral communication Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy; Writing requirement; Writing-based and experiential learning courses (including clinics and practicums)
Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system Legal Ethics; Experiential learning courses (including clinics and practicums)
Litigation procedures Procedure
Transactional and negotiation skills Contracts
Working collaboratively with a diverse community (of students, faculty and/or clients) Doctrinal, writing-based, and experiential learning courses (including clinics and practicums); Career Services Office's programming and counseling; Office of Experiential Learning's programming and counseling
Professional Value Courses and Offerings that Instruct and Assess Competence in Professional Value
Diligence in representation Legal Ethics; Experiential learning courses (including clinics and practicums)
Confidentiality of information & building trust with clients Experiential learning courses (including clinics and practicums)
Developing collegial and professional relationships (candor toward Tribunal; fairness to opposing party and counsel) Experiential learning courses (including clinics and practicums)
Truthfulness in communications Legal Ethics
Pro bono commitment Office of Experiential Learning's public service programming and counseling on pro bono opportunities
Integrity of the profession Legal Ethics
Professional development Career Services Office's programming and counseling; Office of Experiential Learning's programming and counseling

All of these offerings have the following Learning Outcomes which, through assessment, ensure that graduates of USC Gould will:

  • possess knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law
  • demonstrate the ability to engage in thorough legal analysis, reasoning, research and problem-solving, and to conduct effective written and oral communication in the legal context
  • exercise proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system
  • have experience working in and collaborating with a diverse community of students, faculty, and/or clients
  • be aware of life-work balance and wellness issues, and of strategies and resources for addressing them

Other states and Washington, D.C

Each jurisdiction has its own rules regarding Bar admission. In addition, those rules change from time to time. Thus, the rules in one state may not be the same as the rules in another state. It is therefore advised that students investigate these issues with respect to each state where they are likely to practice. Keep in mind that the rules may also change between now and when students graduate (and are ready to seek admission to the Bar).

The Bar Administration in each state is an autonomous quasi-governmental entity and the Bar administrators expect to have a direct relationship with students individually, not with the law school on your behalf. USC Gould has no authority to make or change the rules of Bar admission.

Students interested in being admitted to practice in states other than California are encouraged to contact the Committee of Bar Examiners directly in each state where the Bar is to be taken. Contact information for each state is available online. Students may select your bar exam jurisdiction from the pull-down menu on the right side of the page.

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