As we previously reported, on July 1, 2020, the New York Court of Appeals issued a new rule permitting most law school graduates to practice law temporarily under the supervision of a New York lawyer.  That rule went into effect on July 22, and now each of the four judicial departments has published relevant application forms and instructions for filing. 

Under the new rule, law school graduates must meet the following criteria to qualify for limited practice:

  • Earned a J. D. or L.L.M. from an ABA accredited law school;
  • Be qualified to take the New York bar exam under 22 NYCRR Part 520;
  • Not have previously failed the bar exam in any US jurisdiction;
  • Be employed to engage in the practice of law in New York.

Once approved, the graduate may perform legal services under the supervision of a New York lawyer who has been admitted for at least three years and is in good standing.  

There are several limitations on the graduate's scope of practice, including:

  • For court cases, a supervising lawyer must be present to supplement or correct any of the law graduate's statements or actions at depositions and most court appearances and the jurist must be notified of the law graduate's appearance;
  • A supervising attorney must approve final versions of all legal and litigation documents drafted by the law graduate and the supervising attorney's name must appear on the documents.  Where a signature is required under 22 NYCRR Part 130, the document must be signed by the supervising attorney;
  • The law graduate may not open, maintain or be a signatory on an attorney escrow account;
  • The law graduate may not finally dispose of any matter without the supervising attorney's prior approval; and
  • The law graduate must get prior court approval before appearing before the Court of Appeals or one of the Appellate Divisions.

The rule imposes several additional limitations, so graduates and supervising lawyers should review the rule carefully before proceeding.

Here are links to each judicial department's application process: