For Law Students

Join Now

What’s round on the end and high in the middle? The UBE in Ohio!

Uniform Bar Exam

At our annual meeting this year in Chicago, several law students from our SBA presidents and ABA representatives eventually formed a Uniform Bar Exam Caucus. It began as the Florida Caucus, morphed into the Southern Caucus, and finished as a lobbying group for the UBE.

“That’s great,” we told them. “But a lot of the states we were expecting have signed on to administer the Uniform Bar Exam. It might be a while before we get a new one.”

We were so, so wrong. Which makes us here at the Law Student Division do our little happy dance!


Before we get judged by the Dancing with the Stars, let’s tell you who’s on board. It’s the birthplace of aviation, the mother of presidents, and the heart of it all. And while it may still have the Browns but not LeBron James, the Buckeye State now has the UBE.

So celebrate for … OHIO!


Wait, sorry, we know this offends some of you … THE Ohio.



Before you start getting too excited, though, we regret to inform you that Ohio won’t be administering the UBE until 2020. More information on the decision comes from Court News Ohio:

“This is a monumental and hugely beneficial change for Ohio and the Ohio Bar,” said Chief Justice O’Connor. “There are obviously some details we will be ironing out. But I am very pleased that all 16 members of the task force and my colleagues recognized the need to update and modernize our approach to the bar exam by taking advantage of the portable nature of UBE scores,” she said.

Many metropolitan areas in the United States now span multiple states boundaries. “Increasingly lawyers in Ohio have clients in other states, states along our borders and even across the nation. Our admissions systems have to recognize the growing demand that attorneys be admitted in multiple states without imposing monumental costs on young lawyers seeking to practice across state lines,” Chief Justice O’Connor noted. “We must recognize the challenges that a very mobile society present to us without discarding our responsibility to regulate the Ohio bar to the benefit of Ohio’s citizens,” she concluded.

Now while the Chief Justice mentions crossing state boundaries, note that only one state that borders Ohio accepts the Uniform Bar Exam currently – West Virginia. So we’re looking to Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to join their Buckeye brethren. Soon.

We also realize that we missed one over the summer as Rhode Island adopted the Uniform Bar Exam in June. “The Board recognized that the UBE responds to today’s challenging legal job market and the need for law school graduates to seek work in other jurisdictions,” the court’s official order reads. “The Board also recognized that adopting the UBE would benefit Rhode Island by making it easier for law school graduates from around the country to bring their talents here.”

The Rhode Island entry into the Uniform Bar Exam begins in February 2019.

That leaves 18 states not currently administering the Uniform Bar Exam. As we’ve mentioned before, South Dakota is surrounded by UBE neighbors while other states have formed their own clusters. Pennsylvania and Delaware now join the Georgia/Florida and California/Nevada duos cordoned off by UBE state barriers. And now the largest groupings of contiguous states are five – one group in the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley and a Texas/Gulf States region.

So, who’s next? Texas got the UBE recommendation in May from its bar exam task force. Texas seems to be the most likely state among the non-UBE ones with the most bar exam takers, according to

But Uniform Bar Exam holdouts remain, namely California and Florida, which respectively see the second- and third-largest numbers of bar takers each year. Neither state appears poised to adopt the test in the near future.


We will continue to bring you updates on the UBE as they happen!

ABA Law Student Division The Law Student Division empowers law student by providing them with meaningful connections to practicing professionals, job resources, relevant programming, and practical skills competitions. We represent the law student community by advocating for policies that improve legal education, champion diversity, and strengthen public service.