AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF WAIVER OF STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH 22 NYCRR § 520.6
STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF __________
Ms. Linda W, being duly sworn, deposes and says:
- I am the petitioner herein and submit this affidavit in support of my Petition for waiver of strict compliance with 22 NYCRR § 520.6, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 520.14. I also petition this Honorable Court for an Order admitting me to the New York State bar examination held in February 2022, or July 2022.
- I enrolled for a four-year undergraduate study from August 2010 to June 2014, where I received two bachelor degrees from University A, a first-tier university in XX. My first degree is Bachelor of Arts and the major is English with a concentration in linguistics, for which I earned 164 credit hours (See Attachment 6, 7). My second degree is Bachelor of Law, for which I earned 60 credit hours; it is a program for second major students with a length of three years commencing from the sophomore year. I commenced it from September 2011 to June 2014 (See Attachement 4, 5). The credit hour of the Bachelor of Law degree is 60, which was fixed. Notably, all courses were mandatory and no student was allowed to sign up for more courses. Therefore, no student could earn any credit hour exceeding 60.
- Although the total of credit hours in the LLB program was limited, we were offered a variety of clinical and internship opportunities just like the first law major students, which were highly similar to the clinical courses and field placement programs mentioned in Section 520.3(c)(2) and (c)(3). Among these activities, I participated in the moot court presentations and the moot arbitration competition held by the Faculty of Law of my university. In the competitions, we were grouped into teams; met regularly for discussions and preparations; drafted memos; and engaged in mock arguments and debates among ourselves. One of our professors guided to us throughout the whole process and gave us lectures on court argumentation skills. It took me about four weeks to complete each activity and I devoted nearly 100 hours in total to both of them. Besides, I also joined two one-month internship programs, working as a judge assistant in a district court during summer vacation of my sophomore year, and in a provincial court during winter vacation of my junior year. The cap on credit hour for internship is two, which I earned through joining one of the programs; the second program I joined supplemented to my legal experience.
- My pursuance of legal studies did not stop at University A. I joined the LL.M. program of University B School of Law from August 2014 to May 2015, where I graduated with a LL.M. degree with a concentration in business. In my first semester at the law school I received 24 credit hours in total from this program, and 6 of them were earned by courses in professional responsibility; legal research and writing; and the American legal system, which satisfied the requirements of Section 520.6(3) (See Attachment 8, 9). The receipt of LL.M. degree from University B School of Law further demonstrated my legal professional capability, potentiality and Legal English skills.
- While I was taking the LL.M program, I applied to the New York State Board of Law Examiners for the evaluation of my foreign legal education in order for a qualification to take the New York State bar examination in July 2015. However, I was later denied due to the reason that the credit hour of my Bachelor of Law degree program could not meet the durational and substantive requirements of 22 NYCRR § 520.3 and 520.6. My completion of the LL.M. program of law study may cure one but not both of these requirements, which barred me from qualification to sit for the New York State bar examination.
- After graduating from the LL.M. program, I returned to my home country China and prepared for the Chinese bar examination. In order to pass it, I attended an intense training program similar to Barbri in the United States, which could also be a supplement to the durational deficiency of my Bachelor of Law degree. The training program I attended was from March to September in 2016. During the first three months, I spent about 25 hours per week on taking online and offline classes; and doing exercises. In the remaining three months, my study hours went up by 10 more hours. I also took a more comprehensive training session, in which I attended offline classes and took mock exams. As a result of the devotion, I passed the Chinese bar examination held in September 2016, whose passing rate was around 15%. Thus, I received the Qualification Certificate for Legal Occupation, a certificate required in China to practice law (See Attachment 10).
- After passing the Chinese bar, I started my legal career as a trainee lawyer in March, 2017, in one of the first class law firms in China: XXX Law Offices, at the address of XXXXX. I worked there for three and a half year until October 2020. In the first year, I worked as a legal assistant (trainee), and from August 2018, as a licensed junior associate for the rest of the period (See Attachment 11, 12). My practicing areas were dispute resolution and general corporate. I have also been involved in two merger and acquisition projects. During my career as a legal assistant and as a junior associate, I handled more than 60 civil or criminal cases and provided consulting services to more than 15 company clients, alone or in cooperation with senior colleagues. My work included inter alia, drafting Petitions, Answers and Legal Opinions that would be submitted to court; conducting investigations and collecting evidence; attending court hearings; and answering legal queries from clients. Nearly one third of the clients I worked with were from the United States or had investors from the United States. I also worked with companies from Hong Kong, Singapore, Britain and Australia whose legal systems are based on English Common Law. I took a lot of time dealing with legal issues directly or indirectly related to American law; contrasting between Chinese and American law; and the English Common Law principles. Therefore, I found it necessary to acquire an in-depth knowledge on American law and decided that sitting for the New York State bar examination will definitely help further my career advancement.
- The yearning to obtain knowledge on American law grew even stronger after I left the law firm. On or about December 2020, I started my current job as an in-house counsel focusing on foreign-related legal issues. My job title is Senior Foreign Legal Affairs Specialist (See attachment 13). My employer is XX Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., a top-ranked pharmaceutical company in China, located at XXX. The Company adheres to the development scheme of product globalization and cross-border collaboration, such as establishing research centers in United States and Europe; opening multi-country clinical trials to make New Drug Applications to FDA; and licensing in/out potential drugs from/to foreign pharmaceutical enterprises. All the said areas of operation increased my work contact with subsidiaries and partners all around the globe. I have assisted my employer to negotiate businesses, draft due diligence reports and conclude contracts with global partners, ranging from startups to large multinationals, for cooperation in research and clinical trials, drug patent licensing and product commercialization. These duties motivated me to pursue a deeper understanding of the English Common Law.
HARDSHIP TO BE INCURRED BY STRICT COMPLIANCE
- Such strict compliance with Section 520.6 and 520.3 would cause undue hardship to me, since the credit hour of my Bachelor of Law degree was fixed and not open for addition. Strict compliance with the rules will bring to naught all the time and effort(s) I have spent to get expertise in legal practice. Notably, I have extra clinical and intern experience. I devoted a lot of time preparing for the Chinese bar examination. Besides, I have a three-and-a-half-year work experience as a Chinese licensed lawyer an ongoing more-than-nine-month experience as an in-house legal counsel. Compliance with the strict requirements would therefore fail to recognize and/or appreciate my efforts, experience and expertise earned so far.
- In light of the foregoing, I earned additional legal clinical and internship experience during my undergraduate years which supplemented to my Bachelor of Law degree I also spent more than 1,200 hours preparing for the Chinese bar examination; worked as a trainee and licensed lawyer for three and a half years dealing with dozens of cases and clients; I have been an in-house counsel for nine months, responsible for non-litigation and foreign related matters; and I have achieved the LL.M. degree from University B School of Law, thus meeting the requirements set out in Section 520.6(3). All these factors are worth considering for my qualification to sit for the New York State Bar Examination, which is significant and essential to my future career. Although my bachelor of law degree in China may not meet the durational and substantive requirements of Section 520.3 and 520.6, my legal knowledge, skills and experience are substantially equal to or may even exceed a candidate who fulfills the requirements of Section 520.3 and 520.6.
- WHEREFORE, I humbly and sincerely petition this Honorable Court for a waiver of strict compliance of Section 520.6 and 520.3. Your decision will be significant to my future career. I am looking forward to sitting for the New York State Bar Examination.
True copies or photocopies of the following documents with regard to my academic records and professional certificates are attached for your kind reference:
- Denial Letter from the New York State Board of Bar Examiners received on March 31, 2015;
- Certificate for Double Bachelor Degree issued by University A (true copy);
- Diploma of my Bachelor of Law Degree issued by University A;
- Transcript of my Bachelor of Law Degree issued by University A (true copy);
- Diploma of my Bachelor of Arts (English linguistics) Degree issued by University A;
- Transcript of my Bachelor of Arts (English linguistics) Degree issued by University A (true copy);
- Transcript of my Master of Laws Degree issued by University B School of Law (true copy);
- Diploma of my Master of Laws Degree issued by University B School of Law;
- Notarial Certificate for my Qualification Certificate for Legal Occupation in the People’s Republic of China (certificate of admission to Chinese bar, true copy);
- Notarial Certificate for my Lawyer’s License issued by Ministry of Justice in the People’s Republic of China (true copy);
- Certificate of Lawyers’ Good Standing issued by Shanghai Bar Association in the People’s Republic of China;
- My latest name card issued by employer, XX Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.
I declare under penalty of perjury that everything that I have stated in this document is true and correct.
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that on _____________, I sent the foregoing to the address stated herein below:
Hon. John P. Asiello
Chief Clerk and Legal Counsel
New York State Court of Appeals
20 Eagle Street
Albany, New York 12207
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