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Something to be thankful for: Indiana adopts the Uniform Bar Exam

Uniform Bar Exam

It would be an understatement to say this has been a difficult year for anyone who has had to take the bar exam. We’ve gone over this already here at the Law Student Division.

But as we round toward the not-a-moment-too-soon end of 2020, there’s good news out of Indiana!

Professor Marsha Griggs of Washburn University School of Law noticed in the middle of Indiana’s announcement about moving to a remote bar exam in February that it has also become the 37th state to adopt the Uniform Bar Exam.

The Indiana UBE will be first administered in July 2021, so no luck for those who have to brave the February test. And there’s a requirement for completing a “jurisdiction-specific component on Indiana law and practice within six months after admission.”

More from the Indiana Supreme Court’s press release about 2021 exam changes:

Chief Justice Loretta Rush stated, “We are thankful for the work of the members of the Study Commission and are looking forward to begin offering the UBE to applicants. These changes will ensure qualified test-takers can join the legal profession on-time to provide needed legal services.”

And just a reminder: With the #Barpocalypse resolution passed at the 2020 ABA Annual Meeting, states still do have the option of offering diploma privilege, limited licensing, or supervised practice programs that lead directly to licensure as possible alternatives to the bar exam.

Who is left?

Thus, having flipped Indiana blue (sorry, we’re still in election doomscroll hangover), there are no clusters of states larger than two that haven’t adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, which gives future attorneys a transferrable score that makes it easier for them to find work across the country.

The soloists: Virginia, South Dakota, and Hawaii. Three states not exactly known for their similarities. But here we are. Two states surrounded by UBE jurisdictions, one state in the Pacific.

The Matching Mittens: Wisconsin and Michigan have been fighting over the rights to “The Mitten State” moniker for far shorter than their fight over the Upper Peninsula, which started in the 18th Century, has something to do with Toledo, and involves a guy who named his sons “One” and “Two.” They didn’t put all claims to rest until the 1970s. Let’s hope they don’t take 200 years to adopt the UBE.

Silver and Gold: California’s difficult-to-pass bar exam may take a while to shift to UBE, despite a 50-point reduction in the passing score announced this past July. Dean Daniel W. Hamilton of the UNLV-William S. Boyd School of Law penned a column in support of the Nevada UBE two and a half years ago. Other than that, not a lot of movement out west.

The Big Muddy buddies: Louisiana has gone from a three-day bar exam spread out over five days in person to a one-day remote bar exam during the pandemic. Just one more step! Mississippi administers the MBE, MEE, and MPT. That is the UBE.

FGL Lifers: For those of you not into country music, those are the fans of Florida Georgia Line. Sorry, it seemed like an easy intro here. Florida formed a UBE committee in 2016. Heard anything? We haven’t. Similar silence from Georgia on this front.

Delmarva and Pa.: May as well throw the Keystone State onto the acronym for the 170-mile Delmarva Peninsula that contains non-UBE Delaware and a tiny strip of Virginia sandwiched around the rest of UBE state Maryland. Delaware is a hotbed of corporation law, so adopting the UBE might take an extra test or course. Pennsylvania has reciprocity agreements with all but nine states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Mariana Islands. That seems close!

Keep checking back here for more #UBEWatch updates!

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