Thursday, January 24, 2019

Courts Offer Help To D.C. Bar Exam Takers

We reported earlier this week that the federal government shutdown places the administration of the February District of Columbia Bar examination into jeopardy.

I am pleased - to put it mildly - to see a number of state bars responding by providing an opportunity to affected applicants to sit in their state.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an Order today allowing the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners to reopen bar exam applications for the February 26-27, 2019 exam to allow applicants who had applied to take the exam in Washington, D.C. to take the exam in Tennessee. Around 900 law graduates had planned to take the D.C. bar exam, which may be canceled because of the federal government shutdown. By reopening the applications for the Tennessee exam, the Supreme Court will extend an opportunity for up to 70 February D.C. exam applicants, many of whom are from Tennessee, to take the exam in Nashville. The bar exam is administered in February and July on the same dates in all states. The D.C. applicants who cannot take the exam in February must wait until July 2019 to take the exam.

The D.C. exam is given by federal employees of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Committee on Admissions, who have been furloughed since December 22, 2018. If the federal government reopens soon, it is unclear whether the furloughed employees will be able to process and review applications in time for the exam. "Tennessee is in a position to help bar exam applicants adversely affected by the federal government shutdown," said Chief Justice Jeff Bivins. "We are known as the Volunteer State, and the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Board of Law Examiners are ready to step up and do what is needed."

Lisa Perlen, Executive Director of the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners, said the Board and its staff "are glad to make room for the D.C. applicants at our Nashville exam site and will immediately begin reviewing applications as they are received." Both Tennessee and Washington, D.C. administer the Uniform Bar Exam. This means that a bar exam score earned in Tennessee may transfer to the District of Columbia for admittance to the bar after the government reopens. Applications will be accepted for the reopened Tennessee bar beginning January 25 and will close February 6. Applicants must have timely applied to take the February D.C. exam and are subject to the same rules as all other Tennessee applicants.

For more information on the extension and application process, please visit www.tnble.org.

Missouri

The Supreme Court of Missouri issued an order, dated January 23, 2019, extending the deadline in Missouri to apply for the February 2019 bar examination for eligible applicants who previously applied to take the exam in the District of Columbia (DC).  To be eligible, an applicant must be affiliated with Missouri, as defined in the order, and have submitted an application with the DC Committee on Admissions prior to December 22, 2018, to sit for the February 2019 bar examination.  Unless specifically exempted by the order, eligible applicants must comply with all applicable requirements of Missouri Supreme Court Rule 8 for admission to The Missouri Bar pursuant to Rule 8.07.

Eligible applicants will need to take the following steps in order to sit for the February 2019 bar examination in Missouri:

  1. Register on the Missouri Board of Law Examiners (MBLE) website (www.mble.org); 
  2. Once registered, contact MBLE by at mble@courts.mo.gov to complete the application process and submit documentation proving eligibility under the Court’s order.  Applicants must include in the email a phone number where they can be reached during business hours.  Applicants should contact MBLE at the email address above prior to January 26, 2019, to  provide sufficient time for the board to determine eligibility to apply under the Court’s order;
  3. Provide documentation proving an application to sit for the February 2019 bar examination was submitted to the DC Committee on Admissions prior to the office closure on December 22, 2018;
  4. Provide documentation proving Missouri residency, graduation from a Missouri Law School, current employment as a licensed attorney for an employer located in Missouri, or an offer of employment as a licensed attorney for an employer located in Missouri;
  5. Properly file an application on or before January 28, 2019, which means submitting all required electronic application forms, paying the filing fee, uploading proof of eligibility under the order, and providing the signed and notarized Authorization and Release, on or before January 28, 2019;
  6. Pay the $910 nonrefundable filing fee by credit card through the online application process.  Checks will not be accepted [The amount does not include the laptop fee of $105, which must be submitted no later than February 7.];
  7. If requesting non-standard testing accommodations, submit a completed Petition for Test Accommodations, with supporting documentation as described on the MBLE website, on or before January 28, 2019, by uploading through the electronic application process. 

The February 2019 Missouri Bar Exam will be held February 26-27 in Jefferson City at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center.

New York

Due to the shutdown of the federal government and the uncertainty of the District of Columbia Bar Examination (the DC Bar Exam), the New York State Board of Law Examiners (Board) is extending an opportunity to applicants who have applied to take the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) in the District of Columbia to instead take the UBE in New York.

New York has a limited number of available seats and will consider requests to take the UBE in New York on a first come-first serve basis. Preference will be given to District of Columbia applicants who are either residents of New York State, graduates of New York law schools, currently employed in New York, or have an offer of employment in New York. Should seats remain after accommodating applicants with a New York connection the Board will then consider requests from District of Columbia applicants without a New York connection on a first come-first serve basis.

Applicants must submit a verified petition under Board Rule 6000.15 seeking a waiver of the deadline to submit an application for the February 2019 bar examination. The petition must be in writing, verified and include the following documentation: (1) proof of application for the February 2019 District of Columbia Bar Exam (i.e., copy of email confirming application and payment); and if the applicant has a New York connection (2) proof of one or more of the following: (a) New York residency; (b) graduation from an ABA-approved law school in New York; (c) current employment in New York; (d) an offer of employment in New York. Please also provide a valid email address and a phone number in your waiver petition.

Verified petitions accompanied by the above-required documentation must be mailed to the New York State Board of Law Examiners at 254 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY 12203 or faxed to (518) 452-5729 and must be received by no later than 5:00 pm Eastern on Wednesday, January 30, 2019.

If your waiver petition is granted, the Board will provide you with instructions for the filing of an online application for the February 2019 New York bar examination, which must be completed by the close of business on January 31, 2019. The application fee is $250 for applicants who graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from an ABA-approved law school and $750 for applicants who graduated from a foreign law school.

After you file the application you will need to submit proof of eligibility to sit for the New York bar examination under Section 520 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law and a handwriting sample.

If your waiver petition is granted you will be required to take all parts of the UBE (MEE, MPT & MBE) in Buffalo, NY on February 26 and 27, 2019. You may not transfer in a previously earned MBE score.

We regret that we are unable to waive the deadline for the filing of Applications for Test Accommodations for the February 2019 New York bar examination.

Minnesota

The Minnesota Board of Law Examiners (Board) is aware of the uncertainty related to whether the District of Columbia will be able to administer the Uniform Bar Examination in February 2019 due to the federal government shutdown. Additional information on the status of the exam administration may be found here.

The Board has received inquiries from applicants currently registered to sit for the Uniform Bar Examination in DC about the possibility of sitting for the examination in Minnesota. In light of the current situation in DC, the Board will permit a limited number of applicants who are currently registered in DC an opportunity to sit for the February 2019 bar examination in Minnesota.

Please review the following information and follow the instructions provided below.

  1. All application materials must be RECEIVED in our office no later than 3 P.M. on Monday, Feb. 4th . Click here to register and access the application. This includes:
    1. Portal Registration form. Please select July 2019 and after printing the registration form, cross out July 2019 and hand write February 2019.
    2. Completed application including all signatures and notarizations. You must complete the entire application, including supplemental forms. To expedite the process, you do not need to submit the supporting documentation (i.e. police reports, court records, certificates of good standing and other documents listed in Rule 4D, etc.) at this time. If you will be seeking admission in Minnesota, you will need to provide those documents prior to the character and fitness determination.
    3. Timely application fee ($500 – not previously admitted in another jurisdiction / $950 – if admitted elsewhere for more than 6 months) and the ExamSoft registration form and fee ($100) if using your laptop to take the examination. We do not have the ability to accept electronic payments.
    4. Your signed photo ID card.
    5. A letter (1) affirming that you have a pending DC application and (2) indicating whether you intend to seek admission in Minnesota on the basis of your UBE score or intend only to transfer your UBE score. Please note that due to the timing of your application that if you do intend to seek admission in Minnesota, it is unlikely that the Board will be able to provide you with the character and fitness determination at the same time as the UBE score release.
  2. Verification of your J.D. conferral must be received in our office, directly from the law school, by February 8th (this is an extension from the deadline of January 25th). See 4C for requirements.
  3. Applicants must meet the educational requirements listed in Rule 4A(3)(a).
  4. Application fees are not refundable except as described in Rule 12I.
  5. The deadline to request testing accommodations for the February 2019 bar examination was December 1, 2018.

If you have any questions, you are encouraged to call the Board office prior to submitting your application.

This response is in the best traditions of the legal profession. (Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2019/01/we-reported-earlier-this-week-that-the-federal-government-shutdown-places-the-administration-of-the-february-bar-examination.html

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Comments

Unfortunately, persons who registered for the DC bar exam who have disability-related needs and require accommodations still appear to be out of luck. Most of these States are not accepting candidates' applications for testing accommodations, leaving them at a material disadvantage. Although these States will argue that they are not required to do this, and that they lack the resources to review applications for accommodations at this time, it leaves students with disabilities at a material disadvantage and without any recourse.

These States should not be applauded for stepping in unless they allow students with disabilities to receive the accommodations they require to take the exam.

Posted by: SG | Jan 24, 2019 2:30:18 PM

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