New York Bar Exam Is Tough, Even for Japanese Royalty

Japanese media has closely tracked the legal career of Kei Komuro since he became engaged to Princess Mako, the niece of Emperor Naruhito, in 2017, and moved to New York to attend Fordham University Law School.

Komuro took the New York Bar Exam in July and the couple was just married on October 26th. Unfortunately, however, Komuro was not on the bar pass list released by the New York Board of Law Examiners.

But Komuro is hardly alone. The pass rate for New York’s July Bar Exam was 63%, and the two-day attorney licensing exam has always proven especially difficult for foreign-trained attorneys, who made up almost a third of all July examinees.

New York is among just five states that permit attorneys with an LL.M., a one-year degree for non-U.S. lawyers known as a Master of Laws, to sit for their bar exam. The pass rate for foreign-trained attorneys on New York’s July test was 31%.

Though Komuro began his legal studies in 2018 in Fordham’s LL.M. Program, he is not considered a foreign-trained attorney because he went on to earn a J.D. from Fordham in May. But he likely dealt with some of the same exam challenges that many foreign attorneys face when taking the test.

One issue that the test includes complex, timed writing and reading comprehension questions, which can be difficult for people whose first language is not English. Additionally many law students and attorneys from other countries are not used to taking multiple-choice style exams like the MBE.

Komuro is currently a law clerk at Lowenstein Sandler but the firm’s spokesperson declined to comment on Komuro’s status.

You can read more about this story here.

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