Hi friends! Following on from my last blog outlining the whole licensing process in New York State, the next few blogs in this series will cover the various exams and elements of the New York State licensing process in detail.
Today I'll be discussing the New York Law Course (NYLC) and New York Law Exam (NYLE). As two parts of the same requirement, the NYLC and NYLE both cover all the New York State-specific law that you are required to know to practice in the state. You must complete the NYLC before you will be eligible to sit the NYLE.
Both the NYLC and NYLE are offered four times a year and can be completed fully online from anywhere in the world. It doesn't matter whether you do this before or after the other parts of the New York Licensing process but I personally recommend completing it before you take the formal Multi-State Bar exam as long as you have basic common-law understanding of the topics (e.g. you know the elements of a tort, you understand the different types of corporate structures, etc.).
What Topics are Covered
Both the NYLC and NYLE cover the specifics of New York Law across nine subjects: Administrative Law, Business Law, Civil Practice and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Professional Responsibility, Real Property, Torts, and Trusts, Wills & Estates.
Format & Study Materials
The NYLC involves 40 hours of online videos on the nine subjects mentioned above. There is no formal test portion to the NYLC but you will be asked a series of review questions after each video to ensure you have paid attention and understood the video content; if you do not answer these questions correctly you will be made to re-watch the specific video preceding the questions (e.g. not ALL the videos; just the ones the question demonstrate you failed to understand.
The NYCL must be fully completed before you will be able to sit the NYLE. You will be provided with a link to the videos and your deadline for completing the NYLC upon registration for the NYLC; once you have completed the course, you will be permitted the register for the NYLE. As the NYLC must be completed before the NYLE registration deadline it is wise pay attention to dates and plan your time accordingly.
The NYLE is a 2-hour, 50-question, open book, online exam testing the nine subjects equally. Upon registration you will be provided a non-searchable PDF of all the materials you need to read to pass the exam; in 2019 this PDF was 159 pages of single-column, 12pt font text. You are also welcome to have a printed copy of this PDF with you in the exam but you are not permitted to search it electronically while in the exam (e.g. have it open on your computer and search/find terms).
I personally found the NYLC videos and NYLE text quite distinct. While watching the NYLC videos helps you develop a broad understanding of the nine subjects, it will still be necessary to read the NYLE text to pass the exam.
Additionally, the questions on the NYLE are not at all similar to the ones you are asked during the NYLC. You cannot use the NYLC questions as a benchmark for how to prepare for NYLE questions. A better comparison is the types of questions asked on the Ontario Bar or UK QTLS.
The best way to prepare for the NYLE is by simply reading the materials and making notes in the margins which will quickly help you find things on exam day. Since the materials are not very long and are broken down into small subject-specific segments, I would not suggest making an index; you can simply use the table of contents provided in the materials. Additionally, I recommend creating subject-specific bundles and tabbing each chapter so you can use the table of contents most effectively.
Overall, the NYLE is not a very difficult hurdle to pass. As long as you are organized and calm, on exam day you will not have a problem passing this exam. For more information and to register, you can visit the New York Bar Examiner's website here.