Law.com has posted an article entitled Uniform Bar Exam Inches Closer To Reality by Leigh Jones which says that at least 10 states are expected to switch to the so-called Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and that 22 other jurisdictions may adopt the test in the next few years. Proponents of the UBE say that its use will standardize attorney licensing across the country and would provide financial relief for states by relieving them from having to create their own test questions. Historically, states have retained their own testing autonomy by developing their own exam questions and by using their own pass scores.
The Bar Examiner, the journal of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, has several prominent legal professionals writing Essays on a Uniform Bar Examination advocating the UBE in Volume 78, Number 1 from February 2009. Among them is Diane Bosse, chairwoman of the New York State Board of Law Examiners, who wrote: “The benefits the UBE can bring to the lawyer-licensing are clear; what has been uncertain is whether, in adopting a common set of test instruments, we would need to abandon our long-standing position that a person seeking to become a member of the bar in our state should be required to demonstrate competence in our state-specific law.”
The UBE would have three components: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). Individual states would continue to perform their own grading. The Law.com article points out that the UBE still has hurdles to overcome as big states like New York, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois and Texas have yet agree to the idea. However, the article quotes John J. McAlary, executive director of the New York State Board of Law Examiners which administers some 15,000 bar examinations each year, as considering the uniform exam.