Bar Exam

ABA Group Backs Uniform Bar Exam


One country, one bar exam? That is far from the situation in the United States right now, and that is not likely to be the reality at any point in the foreseeable future.

Yet while individual states regulate the activities of their own lawyers and administer their own bar exams, an ABA group is weighing in to support making it easier for lawyers to become licensed in multiple states.

In a resolution (PDF) that was adopted by the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar last month and finalized Tuesday, the group “urges the bar admission authorities in each state and territory to consider participating in the development and implementation of a uniform bar examination.” The Conference of Chief Justices adopted a similar <a href=http://www.abajournal.com/files/CCJ_Resolution_4–Uniform_Bar_Exam_2010_AM_Adopted.pdf”>resolution (PDF) last month.

In April, Missouri became the first state to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination, and the National Conference of Bar Examiners reported in June that North Dakota was the second state to do so.

Other jurisdictions considering the idea include Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C.

Even states that adopt the UBE would still continue to conduct their own bar exams, which could include testing on that individual state’s law. However, the UBE would allow lawyers to transfer a standard bar exam score between jurisdictions.

“Portable” UBE scores, which are recognized in all UBE jurisdictions, make it easier for recent law graduates facing an uncertain legal job market to be flexible in pursuing career opportunities throughout the country. And, as far as lawyers at all levels of experience are concerned, they open the door to uniform licensing requirements that would potentially ease the way for multistate practice, explains Dean Veryl Victoria Miles of the Catholic University of America’s law school, in a Bar Examiner article (PDF) last month.

A National Conference of Bar Examiners article (PDF) provides additional information.

Also see:

Legal Rebels: “Erica Moeser: A Bar for All”

Last updated at 4 p.m. Thursday to correct a link to the section’s resolution.

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