What Happens if You’re Accused of Cheating on the Bar Exam
Although New York has adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) (which is administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners), the attorney admissions for the state are handled by the New York Board of Law Examiners (BOLE).
In addition to coordinating logistics for the administration of the bar exam in New York, BOLE also administers the supplemental New York Law Courts (NYLC) and New York Law Exam (NYLE), implements rules regarding the bar exam and attorney admissions, and investigates and prosecutes allegations of misconduct related to the bar exam.
If BOLE believes that misconduct, like cheating, unauthorized disclosure of exam information, or possession of contraband materials during an examination, has occurred, during the UBE, the NYLC, or the NYLE, they will send a Notice of Charges to the applicant.
The Notice of Charges will advise the applicant that following an investigation, BOLE has determined to charge the applicant with a violation of the rules. The Notice of Charges will state the relevant rules or laws, allege facts, and state that the alleged facts constitute a violation of the rules. The Notice of Charges may include some of the evidence that led to their conclusion that a rule was broken, or it may be more barebones.
After receiving the Notice of Charges, the applicant will be instructed to submit a notarized answer, addressing each and every paragraph of the Notice of Charges. The answer will also state whether the applicant is requesting a hearing.
If, after the matter is concluded (with or without a hearing), BOLE determines that misconduct has indeed occurred, it can impose discipline including nullification of the score, a bar on taking subsequent exams for a given time period, and notice of the determination to the Committee on Character and Fitness.
Anyone who has received a Notice of Charges from BOLE should contact a lawyer who handled attorney admissions matters immediately.
Whether the applicant is guilty of misconduct or not, an experienced and skilled attorney can help guide them through the process to achieve a more favorable outcome. Keep in mind that, since BOLE determinations are sent to the Character and Fitness Committee, such matters affect not only the bar exam process, but also the attorney admissions process at large.
The attorneys at Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP are experienced in handling attorney admissions matters, including before the Board of Law Examiners and Character & Fitness Committee. Call us today at (212) 754-9000 for a consultation.