The Uniform Bar Exam - UBE - has been adopted in 14 jurisdictions thus far (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) but it hasn't yet gotten its big break.
That day may soon arrive.
The New York State Board of Law Examiners is recommending to the New York Court of Appeals that the state adopt the UBE, adding only a 50 question, multiple choice, one hour test of New York law to be administered on day two. The New York Court of Appeals has now issued a Request for Public Comment.
I wonder about the potential impact of New York adopting the UBE, even under these terms. First, it would surely be a big win for the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Second, if the UBE spreads, it might significantly increase the portability of bar admission. Third, if the UBE becomes the dominant form of bar examination, there will be even less incentive for law schools to teach anything but a national law curriculum.
There are still questions here. First and foremost relates to this 50 question New York bar exam. Will students be forced to study just as many New York topics, with the same intensity, in order to pass New York? Will 100% dependence on a high-speed multiple choice component for state law uniquely disadvantage certain applicants?
This is worth watching. New York is considering adopting the UBE as early as July, 2015. Comments are due by November 7, 2014.