Over the last two years, I have reported countless instances of US jurisdictions adopting the uniform bar exam (UBE). In fact, the last tally I took on behalf of the Commission in 2016 was 24 out of all 56 US jurisdictions.
Today, that number is 30 – meaning more than half of all of the jurisdictions in the United States have adopted a form of the UBE.
The most recent jurisdiction to jump on the bandwagon was North Carolina. Two weeks ago, North Carolina announced it would administers the first UBE test starting with the February 2019 exam. It will begin accepting transferred UBE scores from US jurisdictions as soon as June 30, 2018.
North Carolina opened the discussion at the start of 2017, and sought public comment on the matter. However, it wasn’t until November that the Board of Law Examiners of the State of North Carolina voted to adopt a rule change.
Following the announcement of North Carolina, other US jurisdictions have expressed their interests in the UBE as well, including Tennessee. In fact, on the same day that North Carolina announced its adoption, the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Tennessee to adopt the UBE.
According to the proposal, the Board of Bar Examiners hope to begin administering the UBE as soon as July 2018. The petition notes the 90.4 percent increase in requests for admission without examination.
In addition to this, the current Tennessee Bar Exam already uses the MBE multiple choice questions, one MPT task and nine Tennessee-specific essay questions, so the Board of Bar Examiners believe there wouldn’t too dramatic of a shift to the UBE.
The public comment period is currently open, and will close on January 5, 2018.
The profession is changing. The law is no longer static, and jurisdictions are reflecting that change. It’s clear that multijurisdictional practice is the new normal, and with more US jurisdictions switching to the uniform bar exam, more states are considering the switch – even Illinois.
The question is who will be next? And at this rate will every state adopt the exam? What will come of the state-specific exam? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.