Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Massachusetts adopts Uniform Bar Exam

Massachusetts joins 24 other states in adopting the Uniform Bar Exam beginning in 2018. The UBE consists of essay questions, multiple choice and "skills" assessments (such as asking students to draft documents based on the supplied materials). Bloomberg's Big Law Business News has more details:

Massachusetts Adopts New Bar Exam


Passing the bar in Massachusetts may soon carry a little more weight.


That’s because this week, Massachusetts adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, a standardized test that consists of multiple choice questions, essays, and skills assessments, now used in 24 states and the District of Columbia.


The move comes amid growing support for a national standardized bar exam: In February, the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates approved a resolution from the ABA Law Student Division that called for all jurisdictions to adopt the UBE as quickly as possible. The Division argued that the current exam structure needlessly burdens mobility throughout the country.


In New York, bar exam students take the UBE for the first time this month.


According to Erica Moeser, president of the NCBE, “The UBE is under study in a number of places.”


Oregon appears to be moving forward, though the State has not released a formal order at this time. In June, the Supreme Court of Texas ordered the creation of a task force on the Texas Bar Examination, which will consider, among other things, whether to adopt the UBE.


Examinees in Massachusetts will sit for the UBE beginning in July 2018, and it will include a Massachusetts-specific component to ensure that newly-licensed attorneys are familiar with key state laws and procedures. It is the ninth jurisdiction to adopt a local law component.


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