PA MBE vs. Maryland UBE

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PA MBE vs. Maryland UBE

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:28 am

I have a dilemma and I’m hoping to get some good advice. I’m a December 2019 l grad and I’m currently working in Southern New Jersey (law clerk job but no guarantee it’ll convert to a full time position). I’ll be taking the July 2020 bar. My S/O is in DC and I ultimately want to be there, so here’s what I’m debating between:

1. Take the PA bar in July, waive into DC, but will be satisfied with a Philly job to boost up my resume. I need to find Philly job. I’m leaning towards this option.
2. Take the Maryland UBE bar in July, waive into NJ, keep working current job. If I’m understanding this right, the requirements to waive into NJ from another UBE state are pretty lenient compared to other jurisdictions. Here, I would have MD and NJ, which opens up two markets in addition to potentially being able to waive into DC if I land something there. My S/O thinks I should do this.

What do you all think?


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Re: PA MBE vs. Maryland UBE

Postby QContinuum » Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:50 am

You are currently clerking in NJ, a UBE state. You want to join your SO in D.C., a UBE jurisdiction. D.C.'s northern suburbs are in Maryland, also a UBE jurisdiction. Taking the UBE seems like a no-brainer to me. Why would you bother with taking the PA bar instead? You don't have a job in PA or an SO in PA. Philly isn't a major legal market (at least not compared to D.C.). Moreover, you're currently working in NJ, yet passing the PA bar wouldn't qualify you to seek admission to the NJ bar. You have zero reason to take the PA bar.

Also, another note. The UBE offers you a window of time - typically 2-5 years - in which you can use your UBE score (provided it's high enough) as a "passing" bar exam score in any UBE state. Admission via UBE score (even if the UBE score was earned in a different UBE state) is "admission by examination". (The only difference if you apply via a UBE score earned in a different state vs. a UBE score earned in the same state is the extra fee you must pay - which can run into many hundreds of dollars - to "transfer" your UBE score to the new jurisdiction.) It isn't the same as "waiving" into a jurisdiction, which typically requires a certain minimum numbers of years practicing law. And you want to be careful about this distinction, as many states have a "donut hole" wherein you may be eligible for admission by examination (UBE score transfer) for, say, 3 years, and eligible to waive in once you've practiced law for, say, 5 years - leaving a 2-year gap during which you must retake the UBE to qualify for admission.

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