The Catholic University of America



A Uniform Bar Exam Could Make Life Easier for Tomorrow's Attorneys


Fifty states, fifty different bar exams. For an attorney who does not spend his or her whole career practicing in one jurisdiction, the system of maintaining professional certification can be a tough one to handle.

Help may be on the way, in the form of a new Uniform Bar Examination currently under consideration by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The idea of a nationally accepted bar examination is gaining ground in the legal community, as it would provide for the desirable goal of transportability of bar examination scores between participating jurisdictions
Law school deans are keenly interested in the plan, and it was explained to them at some length at a recent ABA conference in Florida by Veryl V. Miles, dean of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.

Miles is a member of the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Subcommittee on the Uniform Bar Examination, and used her knowledge of the topic to present to colleagues at a dean’s workshop during the ABA gathering.

She explained to fellow deans that a Uniform Bar Examination would retain the three major components of the bar exams administered by most states today. Known as the MBE, the MEE and the MPT, these standardized portions of the test would not eliminate each jurisdiction’s responsibility to make character and fitness determinations of a bar applicant, as has been the norm for decades.
State bar associations could also continue to test those sitting for the bar on state-specific law or rules of practice.
“This concept of a uniform bar examination is one several states are considering,” Miles said. “It is expected that as many as 10 states may adopt this concept for their bar exam administration within the next two years.”
More information about the UBE can be found in The Bar Examiner (Feb. 2009).