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Academics

Advanced-Standing Two-Year Juris Doctor for Internationally-Trained Lawyers

 NYC

If you hold a law degree from a non-U.S. jurisdiction (a J.D. or its equivalent), you may qualify for our Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. for Internationally-Trained Lawyers  program.

The Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. for Internationally Trained Lawyers is intended for students who:

  • already hold a law degree from a jurisdiction outside the United States;
  • would like to earn a Juris Doctor degree from SUNY Buffalo Law School;
  • and wants to take the New York State Bar.

In this new and innovative program, they can receive advanced standing, and therefore can finish the J.D. degree in just two years.

About the Program

These students are just like the traditional three-year J.D.s – they join the entering class, take all the classes required of J.D. students, and form all the bonds that constitute the U.S. legal profession. Through the Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. program, appropriately qualified students may be granted advanced standing for up to 30 credits in recognition of their prior studies.  As a result, students may complete their J.D. in approximately two years of full-time study.

Although the program takes only two years, Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. program participants are true J.D.s.  Participants in the program are fully integrated into the entering J.D. class, where they learn "how to think like a (New York) lawyer."  Perhaps as importantly, participants have the chance to foster the social skills and personal and professional networks so critical to the successful practice of law. 

Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. students are generally expected to take the New York bar exam and to become licensed to practice New York law.  Courses are recommended accordingly.

The program is competitive; applicants are encouraged but not required to take the LSAT.

Course of Study

First-Year Curriculum (required)
Students in the Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. program are completely integrated into the first-year curriculum. The first year begins in August, and students will take Legal Profession, Torts, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Legal Analysis, Writing and Research I & II, Property, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Law.

Upper-Division Curriculum
In the fall OR spring semester of their second year, students in the program must take the following: a 3-credit course in ethics, a 3-credit course in Advanced Legal Analysis, Writing & Research, a 3-credit seminar, and a skills course. It is highly recommended to take a section of the New York Practice course but it is not required. A total of 29 credits must be taken in the second year to reach the required 90 credits (more if students do not use the maximum 30 credits from their prior degree).

Note: Students enrolled in the New York City Program in Finance & Law must take Legal Ethics, Advanced Legal Analysis, Writing & Research, and 8 additional elective credits (including recommended subjects for the New York bar exam) during the fall semester. During the spring semester they are in New York City. Students can apply for Early Placement in the New York City Program when they submit their application to the Law School.

Students in the Advanced Standing Two-Year program are expected to pass the New York State bar exam, and therefore certain courses are strongly recommended, such as Corporations.  At the same time, prior studies, intellectual interests and future professional goals must also be considered in course selection. Students will receive individual counseling on course selection and scheduling.

After Graduation

Completion of the J.D. degree from SUNY Buffalo Law School satisfies the degree requirement for eligibility to sit for the bar examination not only in New York, but in any state in the United States.

Students will complete the Advanced Standing Two-Year program in May of their second year and then sit for the July bar exam (most likely in New York). Students in the United States on an F-1 student visa are eligible to work in the United States for up to 12 months under a program called Optional Practical Training. The Law School’s Office of Career Services helps all students connect with potential employers, and the University at Buffalo Office of International Student and Scholar Services advises all students on visa procedures and assists students in obtaining the appropriate government authorization for work.

Bar admission in New York, and in all U.S. jurisdictions, involves consideration of each applicant’s character and moral fitness for the practice of law. In addition, New York now requires all applicants for bar admission to complete 50 hours of pro bono legal service. Applicants should acquaint themselves with the requirements for admission in the jurisdiction in which they intend to be licensed.