The UBE has been up for discussion in Illinois for the last few years. In 2016, the Illinois Board of Admission to the Bar held public hearings in Springfield, Carbondale, and Chicago. The Illinois State Bar Association’s Assembly also unanimously voted in support of the Uniform Bar Exam at its Mid-Year meeting in 2017.
Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier spoke in favor of Illinois adopting the UBE for its practicality in today’s ever-changing legal climate.
With a majority of jurisdictions in the United States now administering the Uniform Bar Exam, the time seemed right to adapt to a legal landscape that demands more flexibility and recognizes multi-jurisdictional practice. The switch to a portable bar examination acknowledges the changing reality while maintaining Illinois’ high standard of legal competency.
The first Uniform Bar Exam will be administered in July of 2019.
Lawyers looking to transfer their scores to practice in Illinois will be allowed to practice so long as the attorney meets the following guidelines, laid out in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 704(a):
- The scaled total score was achieved by taking all portions of the Uniform Bar Examination in the same jurisdiction and in the same exam administration and was attained within the four years immediately preceding the date the application for admission in this state is properly submitted.
- The applicant meets the educational requirements of Rule 703.
- In the event the Board of Admissions to the Bar shall find that an applicant has achieved a passing Uniform Bar Examination score as determined by the Board through transfer from another jurisdiction, a required minimum score on professional responsibility examinations as required, meets the requirements of these rules, and has received from the Committee on Character and Fitness its certification of good moral character and general fitness to practice law, the Board shall certify to the Court that these requirements have been met; the Board may also transmit to the Court any additional information or recommendation it deems appropriate.
- The applicant is in good disciplinary standing before the highest court of every jurisdiction in which ever admitted.
- A person applying for admission under this Rule shall not be eligible for admission prior to November 7, 2019.
- For all persons transferring a Uniform Bar Examination score, the transferred score is valid for four years from date of the properly submitted application for admission with a transferred Uniform Bar Examination score. An applicant for admission under this Rule who is not admitted to practice in Illinois within four years of that date must either:
- repeat and pass the Illinois bar examination after filing the requisite character and fitness and bar examination applications, and paying the fees therefor, in accordance with Rule 706, or
- submit a transferred Uniform Bar Examination score attained after the expiration of the previously submitted score.
For more information about the Uniform Bar Exam adoption and questions about admission please contact the Illinois Board of Bar Admissions at (217) 522-5917.