Paul L. Caron

Monday, January 19, 2009

19 States to Sign on for Uniform Bar Exam?

National Law Journal: Uniform Bar Exam a Reality? A Total of 19 States Positioned to Implement UBE, by Leigh Jones:

The possibility of a uniform bar exam that would help standardize attorney licensing state-to-state is inching closer to becoming a reality. Currently, 19 states are positioned to implement the uniform bar exam, or UBE as it is called. The exam, designed to create a consistent competency measure for admission to practice, would be a three-component test, all with the same questions, administered in each jurisdiction.

Although many states historically have held onto their testing autonomy by developing some of their own exam questions and by using their own pass scores, legal professionals say that a single exam — such as those utilized for physicians, architects and accountants — is an increasing likelihood for lawyers. ...

The uniform bar exam would consist of three components, all developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners: the MBE; the Multistate Performance Test; and the Multistate Essay Examination. The uniform test score would include performance on these components only and would not incorporate a state law portion. Each state would continue to do its own grading and, at least initially, each state could set its own minimum pass score. Individual states would continue to conduct their own character and fitness screening for bar admission.

The 19 jurisdictions that could most readily begin using the uniform exam already include the three components developed by the National Conference on their bar exams. Illinois, Missouri and Colorado are among those states.

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There's no need for a national MCLE system - perhaps you don't know, but some states have no CLE requirement, showing it isn't even necessary to have.

Posted by: | Jan 20, 2009 7:44:04 PM

The UBE will be useless in fulfilling its ultimate purpose, to standardize state-to-state licensing, if states don't also increase and ease reciprocity options. This means moving toward a national MCLE system as well as lowering the cost and waiting period for reciprocity admission.

Posted by: Lawyer | Jan 20, 2009 6:10:44 PM

North Dakota has already implemented this.

Posted by: | Jan 20, 2009 2:23:22 PM