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Attorney Matters

Application Process for Admission to the Bar and for Licensure as a Foreign Legal Consultant

Introduction

The law requires that before admitting a person to the bar of the State of New York, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court must be satisfied that he or she “possesses the character and general fitness requisite for an attorney and counsellor-at-law” (Judiciary Law § 90[1]) and it directs the creation of committees for the purpose of investigating the character and fitness of every applicant for admission to practice (CPLR 9401). Unless otherwise ordered by the Appellate Division, no person may be admitted to practice without having received a certificate from the proper committee attesting that it has carefully investigated the character and fitness of the applicant and that he or she is of good character and is fit to practice (CPLR 9404).

The Committees on Character and Fitness

In the Second Judicial Department, the Appellate Division has created two Committees on Character and Fitness , one for the Second, Tenth, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts and another for the Ninth Judicial District. Committee members are not salaried but are reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties (Judiciary Law § 90[1][c]). The committees are supported by a full-time Executive Secretary and central staff with offices in Brooklyn. The committees may be contacted at:

Committees on Character & Fitness
Second Judicial Department
335 Adams Street, Room 2404
Brooklyn, NY 11201
AD2CCF@nycourts.gov
(718) 923-6360

The Review Process

Every person who is a candidate for admission to the bar of this state based upon taking and successfully passing the New York State Bar Examination (see 22 NYCRR 520.2), or for reciprocal admission on motion based, inter alia, upon admission to practice before the court of last resort in another state, territory, or the District of Columbia (see 22 NYCRR 520.10), and every person seeking licensure as a legal consultant (see 22 NYCRR parts 521, 692), must undergo an investigation of her or his character and fitness. The process requires the candidate to complete an application questionnaire, to complete or secure the completion of several additional forms, to submit required documentation, and to appear for a personal interview before a member of the Committees on Character and Fitness.

See the following guides for further information:

The instructions and forms necessary to complete an application for admission to practice are: