By Mary Goza, BARBRI Vice President
The trend is underway to reduce the need for new lawyers to take another bar exam in order to become licensed in another state. With the advent of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), an applicant may sit for one bar exam and become licensed in several jurisdictions. With proper planning, you can enhance your marketability through the UBE.
UBE SCORES ARE UNIFORMALLY ACCEPTED
The UBE is a two-day exam drafted by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), consisting of the Multistate Essay Exam (30%), Multistate Performance Test (20%) and Multistate Bar Exam (50%).
The components of the UBE are not new and have long been part of the bar exam format in many states. However, the UBE rests upon an agreement, whereby a state agrees to give full faith and credit to a score achieved on the bar exam in another jurisdiction because that jurisdiction uniformly administers, grades and scores the exam. Currently 13 states have adopted the Uniform Bar Exam:
- Minnesota (February 2014)
- New Hampshire (February 2014)
- North Dakota
WHAT IS NOT UNIFORM ABOUT THE UBE
Each UBE state sets its own passing score. The score is portable to another UBE state as long as you sit for the entire exam at one time in the same location. You may transfer the score, even if you “fail” the bar exam.
For example, a student who takes the UBE in Colorado and fails to achieve the required passing score of 276 out of 400 may transfer the score to Utah, a UBE jurisdiction for which the passing score is 270 out of 400. The UBE score is not valid beyond a set period of time and each state sets its own deadline, varying between three and five years.
The essay and performance test component is graded locally and not by a set of national graders. The testing entity provides grading guidelines and training for each state in order to promote consistency.
Because the grading process and size of the applicant pool varies by state, not all states are prepared to release results on the same day. The date when bar exam results are released is determined by each state and can vary between six to 10 weeks.
You may transfer your UBE score but you may not transfer your approved status from one state to another. The decision as to who may sit for the bar, including the educational and character requirements, is up to each state. To acquire a law license in a UBE state other than the one in which you sat for the bar, you need to submit an application, pay the necessary fees and meet the other state’s character and fitness requirements. In addition, most UBE states require an additional local component to be completed before, or soon after, becoming admitted to practice law.
BARBRI KNOWS THE UBE, SINCE ITS INCEPTION
BARBRI has been preparing students for each of the components of the UBE since their inception: 1972 for the MBE, 1988 for the MEE and 1997 for the MPT. The BARBRI bar review course in each state is uniquely tailored to the needs of the bar exam, accommodating the subtle grading differences among UBE states.
Click here for more information about the UBE.