Friday, June 25, 2021

High Water Mark for UBE?

Hat tip to Greg Bordelon for sending out the link to New York's report on the UBE.  You can find the report here:

I found this paragraph interesting:

The Task Force reaffirms its central recommendation that applicants for admission to

practice law in New York be required to demonstrate basic knowledge of New York law. It

remains our view that, if passage of a Bar Examination is either the exclusive, or an alternative,

pathway to practice in New York, that examination should include a rigorous test on matters of

New York law. We strongly believe that persons seeking admission to practice law in New

York must be required to demonstrate that they are able to do so competently. Given the unique

complexities of the New York legal landscape, including an elaborate court structure, a

complicated civil practice code, and distinctive rules governing evidence, family law, and trusts

and estates, among a myriad of legal principles unique to New York, it is not enough that an

applicant show competence solely with reference to the “law of nowhere.”


This paragraph is the reason I erroneously believed New York would never adopt the UBE in the first place.  Many argue NY adoption is what led many other states to follow, including Texas.  Texas adoption is what led to Oklahoma, etc.  If this is a concern, NY probably shouldn't have adopted the UBE.  

The other interesting conclusion from the report is the worry that the new bar exam in 5 years will be even worse than the UBE.  I will admit to being skeptical of the entire bar task force process, but I was actually impressed with a few of the choices on the drafting committee (I am sure I would be impressed with others, I just didn't know everyone).  The new bar exam may be the best measure of minimum competence the legal profession has seen, and we may also see states flee from it.  The next 4-5 years will be interesting.

(Steven Foster)

Bar Exam Issues | Permalink


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