Supreme Court of the State of New York
Hon. Dianne T. Renwick, Presiding Justice
Susanna Molina Rojas, Clerk of the Court

Committee on Character & Fitness

News & Updates

The Office of the Committee on Character and Fitness accepts digital applications and submissions only.

Office Information

Verónica Guerrero

Counsel to the Committee on Character and Fitness


Attorneys are admitted to the practice of law in New York State through one of the four departments of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, based upon the applicant’s address. The First Department covers Manhattan and the Bronx. All individuals who pass the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) and the New York Law Examination (NYLE), as well as those seeking admission on motion (from reciprocal jurisdictions), and foreign attorneys seeking to be licensed as foreign legal consultants in the First Judicial Department, must pass through an application process administered by the First Department’s Committee on Character and Fitness (“the Committee”).

All applicants must file an application questionnaire, with supporting documentation. Only complete applications will be accepted for filing. The application materials also include law school certificates for you to fill out and send to every law school you attended. The law school then fills out its portion of the form and sends it directly to the Committee.

Important tips designed to help an applicant navigate the admission process may be found in A Short Guide for Law Students About the Character and Fitness Process.

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Applications for Admission By Bar Examination

If you pass the UBE, MPRE and NYLE, the State Board of Law Examiners (Board) officially certifies you for admission to one of the four departments of the Appellate Division in the State, based upon your address. The Board will send you a "Notice of Certification."

The Application Package for admission to the bar includes General Instructions, the Application Questionnaire, Form Affirmation as to Moral Character, Form Affirmation as to Legal Employment, Form Affidavit for 50-hour Pro Bono Requirement, Skills Form Affidavit and Form Law School Certificate.

Read the General Instructions first, then type in the required information on each form. To assist you in the process, please review the applicant checklist.

If additional space for answers to any question is needed, use the fillable rider. Do not reformat the questionnaire or accompanying forms. Reformatted forms will be returned.

If you are certified to the Appellate Division, First Department, upload your completed application, in a PDF, on the online portal. Do NOT mail in the hard copies unless requested by the Committee.

  • Once your complete application is received, it will be assigned to a staff member for review.
  • When the review is completed, you will receive an e-mail notice from the Committee providing further information and instructions regarding your admission file. This notice will also inform you if additional documentation is required to complete your application.
  • If the Committee requires you to submit a General or Lawyer's Assistance Form you may download each individually.
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Orientation to the Profession Program

Every applicant to the First Judicial Department seeking admission to the practice of law must successfully complete the Orientation to the Profession Program before being admitted (see 22 NYCRR 602.3). The two-hour program is addressed to the subject of professional ethics and related topics and must be taken within one year prior to the date of admission. Applicants must complete the program by viewing an on-line video presentation that may be accessed via the Court's web site in accordance with the Instructions for Completing the Orientation to the Profession Program.

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Continuing Education Requirements

Newly admitted Attorneys must earn a total of 32 C.L.E. credit hours.

Click the following link for further information: CLE Requirement for Newly Admitted Attorneys.

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Application for Admission On Motion (Reciprocity)

Attorneys admitted in other jurisdictions seeking admission in New York without examination (reciprocity) should refer to the applicable court rules [22 NYCRR Part 520]. Carefully review 22 NYCRR 520.10 before seeking certification and completing and the application.

All applicants must first apply to the New York State Board of Law Examiners for certification that the applicant seeking admission by motion has the legal education required under 22 NYCRR 520.10. Additional information and detailed instructions are provided on the Board’s website: NYS BAR EXAM ADMISSION ON MOTION (

Upon satisfaction that an applicant possesses the requisite qualifications for admission, the Board will issue a Certificate of Educational Compliance and will inform the Committee of motion candidates assigned to the First Department.

Once you are certified to the First Department, complete the application for admission. In addition to the application questionnaire and forms, you must also prepare and submit a "verified petition." (Sample Form).

Candidates with addresses in Manhattan and the Bronx are assigned to the First Department; those applicants without a New York State address are certified to the Third Department.

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Certificates of Good Standing

A Certificate of Good Standing attests that an attorney was licensed and admitted to practice in the courts of this state on a given date, has registered with the Office of Court Administration (“OCA”), and is in “good standing,” that is, the attorney is not currently suspended or disbarred. Certificates of Good Standing will only be issued by the Appellate Division department where the attorney was admitted.

Requests for Certificates of Good Standing will be processed electronically via a statewide online portal for all four departments of the Appellate Division. Simply complete and submit the application form. (Once you click on the link, you will be on the application page). There is no fee for obtaining a certificate. Upon submission, the applicant will receive an email confirmation that the request was successfully submitted. Once the request is reviewed and approved, the certificate will be emailed to your Attorney Services e-mail. If you do not have an account, please create one at Attorney Registration: Sign In (

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License as a Foreign Legal Consultant

Attorneys admitted in other countries who seek to apply for a license as a foreign legal consultant should review the Rules of the Court of Appeals [22 NYCRR Part 521] and the Rules of the First Department [22 NYCRR Part 610] to determine where they meet the eligibility requirements.

Once you have carefully reviewed the rules for eligibility, email the Committee at to request the application materials. The request should include your full name, address, and telephone number.

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In-house Counsel

Part 522 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals, effective April 20, 2011, permits attorneys in good standing in certain other U.S. jurisdictions and members of a recognized legal profession in foreign non-United States jurisdictions, to act as in-house counsel for a New York organization without satisfying traditional admissions requirements. Attorneys seeking to register as in-house counsel should refer to the Rules of the Court of Appeals [22NYCRR Part 522].

The application forms and instructions for registration pursuant to Part 522 are uniform among the four Appellate Division Departments in New York State. An attorney may apply for registration to the Department in which he or she resides, works or plans to work.

NEW - Applicants for registration in the First Judicial Department should submit the completed application package, including all required documents, in digital (pdf) format, by e-mail to: Applicants shall preserve the original documents as the Court reserves the right to request the production of said documents.

An attorney previously approved for registration as in-house counsel who becomes employed by another employer for which the attorney will perform legal services as in-house counsel, must reapply using the re-registration formback to top in accordance with the instructions. Note that if the re-registration occurs within 30 days of ceasing prior employment, certificates of good standing, attorney disciplinary letters, and or optional affidavits are not required.

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Name Change

Upon admission to practice law in New York State, attorneys are admitted under a certain name, which, from time to time they change for reasons such as marriage, divorce or by court order.

In order to practice under a name different from the name under which you were admitted, you need approval from the Appellate Division Department in which you were admitted, regardless of where you currently live or practice.

The following procedure must be followed if you were admitted in the First Department:

If the reason for which you seek to practice under a new name is not covered by the affidavit, add a rider detailing the reason, and attach any relevant documentation.

You may NOT practice law under a name other than which you were admitted until you obtain a name change approval from the Appellate Division.

If your Name Change application is approved, you will receive notice of the approval by return email from sender We will notify the Office of Court Administration of an approved name change; however, you should include a copy of the notice approving your name change in your next registration renewal.

Please be advised that if the attorney seeking the name change is not in good standing for any reason or, if other circumstances warrant, the attorney may be required to proceed by formal motion to the Court.

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Non-disciplinary (voluntary) Resignation

Persons admitted to the bar sometimes seek to resign as attorneys. Often the resignation is occasioned by an attorney's move to a different state, his or her cessation of practice in New York, or the voluntary desire to avoid the continued payment of the biennial registration fee required by Judiciary Law § 468-a. If you are presently under suspension or are disbarred, or you are the subject of a disciplinary investigation or proceeding, you are not eligible for a non-disciplinary resignation; you must seek a disciplinary resignation, which is processed through the Attorney Grievance Committee.

Please do not confuse non-disciplinary resignation with "retirement," as that term is defined in 22 NYCRR 118.1(g).

Non-disciplinary resignations pursuant to 22 NYCRR §1240.22(a) are sought from the First Department by way of a motion, supported by an affirmation of the resigning attorney. To obtain an order granting a non-disciplinary resignation, please submit electronically, via the Digital Submission Portal, one PDF bookmarked document consisting of the following:

  • A notice of motion, with a Monday return date;
  • the required affidavit, in the form prescribed in Appendix E to the Rules of Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) Part 1240; please note: some of the paragraphs in the form affidavit provide alternative passages – select the passage that is applicable to you; do not include both;
  • proof of service on the (1) Office of the Chief Attorney for the Attorney Grievance Committees and (2) the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. For personal service, the motion must be served at least eight (8) days prior to the return date; for service by mail, five (5) days must be added for a total of 13 days; the day of service is not counted. Example: If you personally serve your papers on the Attorney Grievance Committee on May 1st, the earliest you can make your motion returnable is May 9th; if the motion is served by mail on May 1st, the earliest you can make the motion returnable is May 14th. You may contact the Grievance Committee if you need short service.

Once the documents are received and processed by the court, you will be instructed to submit the original hard copy and $45 filing fee (check or money order) payable to “Clerk, Appellate Division,” to the following address:

Appellate Division, First Department

27 Madison Avenue NY, NY 10010

Attn: Motion Clerk

PLEASE NOTE: A resignation in New York State would prohibit you from practicing law in this State in the future. Should there come a time when you wish to be reinstated in New York, you must make a motion to the Court and meet any other requirements in force at that time. back to top