New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

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JCougar
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New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby JCougar » Wed May 06, 2015 2:15 am

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/06/nyreg ... 9773522000

This is really, really good news for law grads. Now that NY is on board with the UBE, there will probably be an avalanche of other states that follow.

One thing that gets under-complained about on TLS (as amazing as that concept might be) is how law hiring is still overwhelmingly local. Even from a T6 school, "national portability" is difficult when it comes to a market where you have no ties. And once OCI is over and you don't have a job and you have to take the bar somewhere, that really makes it difficult for you to get anything in any of the other 49 states where you're not barred. At that point, it's kind of like a Catch-22: no firm wants to hire you because you're not guaranteed to pass their state's bar and don't want to babysit you in the meantime, and you don't want to move to another state and pay another $2000 and spend a month not working to study for a second or third bar exam that still might not get you a job.

While this obviously won't change the total ratio of JDs to lawyer jobs (which is still far too high), it will very likely help firms and law grads find better matches and take a lot of the pointless makework, unproductive time, and stress out of the post-JD job hunt.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby JCougar » Wed May 06, 2015 2:35 am

Here's a link to a draft of the committee's final report:

http://www.nycourts.gov/ip/bar-exam/pdf ... ril_28.pdf

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby bonerjamz » Wed May 06, 2015 2:52 am

Come on, California. Let's kill the 3 day bar exam 8)

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iShotFirst
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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby iShotFirst » Wed May 06, 2015 7:17 am

This is huge, UBE transfer is still too expensive though. At least 1000 including a new C&F review for every state.

But a 4-6 month delay to a new license is definitely far better than a year + studying for a huge exam + waiting with nails bitten down to the bone to see if you pass.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed May 06, 2015 7:59 am

I wish I was taking July 2016 bar exam rather than 2015.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby kay2016 » Wed May 06, 2015 8:13 am

iShotFirst wrote:This is huge, UBE transfer is still too expensive though. At least 1000 including a new C&F review for every state.

But a 4-6 month delay to a new license is definitely far better than a year + studying for a huge exam + waiting with nails bitten down to the bone to see if you pass.


What's another 1,000 bucks at this point?

I hope more states quickly jump in on this, I'm planning on taking a UBE Bar Exam in 2016 and would love for it to have some portability.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby WahooLaw24 » Wed May 06, 2015 9:00 am

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but assuming one passes the UBE next year, would they be able to practice in states that subsequently adopt it (say, a few years down the road)? I'm assuming yes and just hoping that's not very wishful thinking :D

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby iShotFirst » Wed May 06, 2015 11:47 am

WahooLaw24 wrote:Sorry if this is a dumb question, but assuming one passes the UBE next year, would they be able to practice in states that subsequently adopt it (say, a few years down the road)? I'm assuming yes and just hoping that's not very wishful thinking :D


Other jurisdictions seem to be retroactive but there is always a limit. For example for Montana you must have taken the UBE with the correct score within the last 3 years.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby sublime » Wed May 06, 2015 11:55 am

..

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JCougar
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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby JCougar » Wed May 06, 2015 12:02 pm

WahooLaw24 wrote:Sorry if this is a dumb question, but assuming one passes the UBE next year, would they be able to practice in states that subsequently adopt it (say, a few years down the road)? I'm assuming yes and just hoping that's not very wishful thinking :D


I hope so, because I'm taking a UBE exam in a few months and outside of Washington, Colorado, and Missouri, none of the current UBE states have even a medium-sized legal market.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby LeDique » Wed May 06, 2015 12:06 pm

sublime wrote:So this is definitely good right? Any downside that I'm not seeing?


I don't know man, above the law ran a hard hitting piece about the potential consequences: "But will there be unintended consequences? Passing the New York bar exam was a special achievement, something unique. That panache will be lost. (But who wants to be snobby anyway?) More importantly, will this make for an even tougher job market in New York? A person can sit for the exam in Arizona and apply for jobs in New York. The job market may be better for the rest of the country, but will it make the New York market impossible to get employed in? Further, what is the incentive to come to a school in New York? Why pay the high cost of tuition at an unranked New York law school when you can study in Colorado? Can these schools in New York survive the UBE?"

Just asking the tough Qs here

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby -dasein- » Wed May 06, 2015 12:18 pm

LeDique wrote:
sublime wrote:So this is definitely good right? Any downside that I'm not seeing?


I don't know man, above the law ran a hard hitting piece about the potential consequences: "But will there be unintended consequences? Passing the New York bar exam was a special achievement, something unique. That panache will be lost. (But who wants to be snobby anyway?) More importantly, will this make for an even tougher job market in New York? A person can sit for the exam in Arizona and apply for jobs in New York. The job market may be better for the rest of the country, but will it make the New York market impossible to get employed in? Further, what is the incentive to come to a school in New York? Why pay the high cost of tuition at an unranked New York law school when you can study in Colorado? Can these schools in New York survive the UBE?"

Just asking the tough Qs here


My thought is that the main driver for getting a job at a NY firm is the school you go to, not the accessibility/universality of the bar itself. However, this could create more competition in the lateral market, where school prestige matters less if you have the requisite experience.

I'd be more worried if I was a lawyer in a small market. Now it'll be easier for the hordes of NY trained lawyers with biglaw experience to lateral into their markets once they decide they are over NY. If I was running such a market I would not sign up for the UBE, even though it makes great sense for the country.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby JCougar » Wed May 06, 2015 1:27 pm

That's a good point. NYC up n' outs so many young attorneys that I can see this benefiting mainly NYC biglaw castoffs to the detriment of mid-market mid-levels. NYC attorneys shouldn't forget the portability knife cuts both ways. NYC is severely overcrowded as it is.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby LeDique » Wed May 06, 2015 1:41 pm

It is to an extent – is there really a multitude of lawyers out there looking to transfer states but aren't because they're afraid of the bar exam? I don't think I buy the bar exam as being the prohibitive factor. But do remember that there's a window between your UBE score expiring and reciprocity with most states. UBE scores are good for only a few years, depending on the state. I think we're at 3 years here in CO.

Other thing it changes a bit is people who might have been torn between NY v. non-UBE taking NY so they'll feel less trapped. But end of the day, these changes are at the margins and don't influence the big picture at all.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 06, 2015 2:15 pm

UBE scores remain as eligible qualifying scores for as long as 5 years in some UBE states. (No real need to go beyond 5 years for a few reasons including reciprocity eligibility typically kicks in at the 5 year mark.)

The current UBE states which keep scores good for 5 years are: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado ( 2 years but up to 5 years if in the full-time practice of law), & Nebraska. (I'm not sure about Kansas).

Utah has an 18 month limit (within 3 prior bar exams). Utah also has a 5 year provision for those continuously engaged in the full-time practice of law.

Missouri is 24 months.

Alabama is 25 months
.
Wyoming is 3 years but has a very restrictive MPRE requirement (which can be waived by motion to the Wyoming Supreme Court).

Washington state is 40 months.

North Dakota is 2 years.

Minnesota is 36 months.

New Hampshire has 3 year & 5 year provisions.

Idaho is 37 months.

All the above info. is about one year old.

Passing UBE scores vary by jurisdiction as do MPRE scores.

Some jurisdictions require supplemental state law specific tests or seminars.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed May 06, 2015 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 06, 2015 2:21 pm

UBE passing scores:

Alaska 280
Idaho 280

Colorado 276

Arizona 273

Montana 270
Nebraska 270
New Hampshire 270
Utah 270
Washington State 270
Wyoming 270

Kansas 266

Minnesota 260
Missouri 260
North Dakota 260

Alabama 256

MPRE score requirements vary. Utah requires an 86--which is the highest among all UBE states. Colorado requires an 85. Arizona is at 85 as well. Washington, Minnesota, Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho & Nebraska also require an 85 on the MPRE. Alaska, Missouri & Montana are all at 80. New Hampshire is at 79. Alabama was, & still may be, at 79 but they told me changes were coming in either late 2014 or in 2015.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 06, 2015 2:38 pm

If you sit for the bar exam in one UBE state but fail to achieve a qualifying score for that state, one may apply for admission by transferred score to any other UBE jurisdiction. For example, if one sits for the UBE bar exam in Colorado but fails to score a 276 or higher, and, in fact, gets a 270, that person can apply--subject to C&F qualification--for admission to Utah, Washington, Nebraska or any other UBE state that considers 270 or less as a passing UBE score.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 06, 2015 2:40 pm

OP: Has New York stated what the minimum passing score will be for the UBE ?

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2015 2:43 pm

JCougar wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/06/nyregion/new-york-state-to-adopt-uniform-bar-exam.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&bicmp=AD&bicmlukp=WT.mc_id&bicmst=1409232722000&bicmet=1419773522000

This is really, really good news for law grads. Now that NY is on board with the UBE, there will probably be an avalanche of other states that follow.

One thing that gets under-complained about on TLS (as amazing as that concept might be) is how law hiring is still overwhelmingly local. Even from a T6 school, "national portability" is difficult when it comes to a market where you have no ties. And once OCI is over and you don't have a job and you have to take the bar somewhere, that really makes it difficult for you to get anything in any of the other 49 states where you're not barred. At that point, it's kind of like a Catch-22: no firm wants to hire you because you're not guaranteed to pass their state's bar and don't want to babysit you in the meantime, and you don't want to move to another state and pay another $2000 and spend a month not working to study for a second or third bar exam that still might not get you a job.

While this obviously won't change the total ratio of JDs to lawyer jobs (which is still far too high), it will very likely help firms and law grads find better matches and take a lot of the pointless makework, unproductive time, and stress out of the post-JD job hunt.


First off, NY adopting the UBE is a very good thing. With that said, this isn't as big of a deal as you make it out to be, though. If you're barred in NY (I say NY, because SDNY and EDNY are mother fuckers about letting outsiders into their courts' bars), you can get admitted to most federal courts in the country (most fed courts only require bar admission to some state), so that gives you quite a bit of portability assuming you're entire practice is in federal court. After 5 years of practice experience, there's actually quite a bit of reciprocity between states (unless you're licensed somewhere like Cali that doesn't do reciprocity; although, you could always get admitted to DC and then use that bar admission for reciprocity into most other states).

JCougar wrote:That's a good point. NYC up n' outs so many young attorneys that I can see this benefiting mainly NYC biglaw castoffs to the detriment of mid-market mid-levels. NYC attorneys shouldn't forget the portability knife cuts both ways. NYC is severely overcrowded as it is.


Again, I don't think it's quite the situation you make it out to be. There's quite a bit of reciprocity between states with 5 years of experience, so getting barred into another jurisdiction doesn't necessarily mean taking another bar exam. Moreover, a lot of big firms will hire the right person without being barred in their jurisdiction, so whether or not someone is already a member of a certain state's bar isn't quite the limiting factor you envision it is.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 06, 2015 2:46 pm

Costs for admission by transferred UBE score varies by jurisdiction. Missouri is the most expensive at $1,240. Montana is the lowest cost at $150 in some situations or $400 for others. Hidden costs include travel to the jurisdiction & seminar fees for that state. Most states require in-person, in-state swearing in--which can add travel costs.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby LeDique » Wed May 06, 2015 3:15 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:If you sit for the bar exam in one UBE state but fail to achieve a qualifying score for that state, one may apply for admission by transferred score to any other UBE jurisdiction. For example, if one sits for the UBE bar exam in Colorado but fails to score a 276 or higher, and, in fact, gets a 270, that person can apply--subject to C&F qualification--for admission to Utah, Washington, Nebraska or any other UBE state that considers 270 or less as a passing UBE score.

Yes

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby Miss_Sunshine » Wed May 06, 2015 4:10 pm

What does this mean for people taking the NY bar exam this July (myself included)? If we wanted the advantage of better mobility across the states, is there a way to transfer our July 2015 score to a UBE score without having to take an entirely different exam?

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby JCougar » Wed May 06, 2015 5:37 pm

Miss_Sunshine wrote:What does this mean for people taking the NY bar exam this July (myself included)? If we wanted the advantage of better mobility across the states, is there a way to transfer our July 2015 score to a UBE score without having to take an entirely different exam?


I don't think so. If you take it this July, you're kind of screwed.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby JCougar » Wed May 06, 2015 5:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:First off, NY adopting the UBE is a very good thing. With that said, this isn't as big of a deal as you make it out to be, though. If you're barred in NY (I say NY, because SDNY and EDNY are mother fuckers about letting outsiders into their courts' bars), you can get admitted to most federal courts in the country (most fed courts only require bar admission to some state), so that gives you quite a bit of portability assuming you're entire practice is in federal court. After 5 years of practice experience, there's actually quite a bit of reciprocity between states (unless you're licensed somewhere like Cali that doesn't do reciprocity; although, you could always get admitted to DC and then use that bar admission for reciprocity into most other states).


This is really a huge issue for people working in mid-sized or smaller firms and state/local government--which, of course, accounts for the vast majority of law grads working in FT, LT, JD-required jobs. Malpractice insurance goes way up if these firms hire someone not barred in the state, and it makes you nearly untouchable. And passing the state bar is often a minimum requirement for state/local gov. jobs just to even get a job interview. These places don't have the budget to constantly supervise and sign off on your work. You have to take stuff by yourself pretty early on.

The only jobs you can really do with out a bar license in the state you are in are FedGov (which rarely hires new grads) or document review. Or Biglaw, which can afford to babysit you until you pass. But the majority of law grads aren't in these positions.

Anonymous User wrote:Again, I don't think it's quite the situation you make it out to be. There's quite a bit of reciprocity between states with 5 years of experience, so getting barred into another jurisdiction doesn't necessarily mean taking another bar exam. Moreover, a lot of big firms will hire the right person without being barred in their jurisdiction, so whether or not someone is already a member of a certain state's bar isn't quite the limiting factor you envision it is.


Before you get 5 years of experience is where you get pinched the hardest, though. It's the worst time in your career to be looking for a legal job, because you're competing with an over-produced avalanche of JDs every year. If you were dumb like me and decide to take the bar exam in a highly over-saturated state, it can be a catastrophically bad decision when you pigeon-hole yourself into an impossible job market.

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Re: New York to Adopt a Uniform Bar Exam Used in 15 Other States

Postby Br3v » Wed May 06, 2015 6:15 pm

sublime wrote:So this is definitely good right? Any downside that I'm not seeing?


I want someone to tell me what I'm forgetting but:

Biglaw salaries are just at the brink of increasing within the next few years (NYC2190). No other market is really going to move unless NY does. With the "brain drain" from lower LS attendees, NY really might start feeling the pressure to increase salary to attract talent. That may change if they suddenly have 49 other states full of applicants to choose from.




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