How to Become A Lawyer in New York

The practice of the legal profession is generally controlled at the state level. The New York State Board of Law Examiners has the authority to license lawyers, and it is supervised by the New York State Court of Appeals. Law is a diverse field and if your goal is to become a lawyer, you should know that becoming a lawyer requires being licensed by the state to practice law.

Should I Become a Lawyer in New York?

The New York State Bar requires lawyers to have earned a Juris Doctorate from a law school that has been accredited by the American Bar Association. In addition to that, they must take and pass the New York State Bar Exam to earn their license and practice law in the state of New York. Additional details on this career are listed as follows.

Education Required

Doctoral or professional degree (J.D.)

Major Requirement



Pass the New York State Bar Exam to become licensed


It is recommended that you complete an internship or do volunteer work

Key Skills

Communication, Research, Interpersonal, Analytical, Critical-thinking, Attention-to-detail, and Problem-solving skills, etc.

Annual Mean Salary (2019) -

New York


Annual Mean Salary (2019) -



Job Outlook (2018-2028)


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Outlook

According to the data reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers are expected to see a 6% employment increase from 2018 to 2028. Moreover, a total of 657,170 Lawyers were employed in the US in 2019, and 77,060 of them were employed in the state of New York.

Steps to Becoming a Lawyer in New York

Do you want to become a licensed lawyer in the state of New York? This detailed career guide can help you achieve your goals. So, let’s get started!

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

The career of a lawyer begins with the completion of a 4-year bachelor’s degree. This degree can be in any subject. However, it is better to complete courses in law as they build a foundation for an advanced curriculum of law school.

  1. Clear the LSAT Exam

The Law School Admission Test is mandatory for all prospective candidates who want to become lawyers in the future. This test must be cleared with a good score if you aim to enroll in a well-renowned law school since the competition in this field is fierce.

  1. Graduate from a Juris Doctorate (J.D.)

To become a lawyer, aspiring candidates must complete a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from an ABA-accredited law school. Several prestigious law schools in New York offer an ABA-accredited J.D., such as the New York Law School, and New York University.

  1. Take the New York State Bar Exam

The New York State Board of Law Examiners is responsible for conducting the New York Bar Exam. It is a set of 3 different exams that all lawyers must clear to become licensed. All lawyers must get permission from the New York State Board of Law Examiners to take this Bar Exam. Once you obtain the license to practice law in New York, you must renew it every 2 years by applying to the New York State Unified Court System.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Lawyer in New York?

It takes 4 years to complete an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree and 3 years to complete a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree. In addition to these milestones, it is important to consider the time needed to clear the LSAT and the New York State Bar Exam (approximately. 6 months or more). So, the overall duration becomes about 7-8 years.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Lawyer in New York?

To work as a Lawyer in the state of New York, all aspiring lawyers must:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree (4 years)
  • Clear the Law School Admission Test (the LSAT)
  • Earn an ABA-accredited Juris Doctorate (3 years)
  • Pass the New York State Bar Exam
  • Be of good moral character
  • Get the New York lawyer’s license

How Much Can I Make as a Lawyer in New York?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Lawyers in the state of New York had an annual mean salary of $168,780 in 2019. Moreover, the state of New York was reported to have the 2nd highest employment level and was also named as the 3rd highest paying state for this career.

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