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Lakes effect: Michigan adopts the Uniform Bar Exam

Uniform Bar Exam

Ah, Michigan. While not the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it does touch four of the Great Lakes—and about twice as many slogans and mottos.

Nowhere is Michigan’s embrace of slogans more evident than in The Great Seal of Michigan. From top to bottom, the seal contains:

  • E pluribus unum. Anyone with cash will recognize “Out of many, one.”
  • Tuebor. Or “I will defend.”
  • And finally, Si Quæris Peninsulam Amœnam Circumspice. Which stands for “Beat Ohio State.”

Actually, that last one means “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” There’s a peninsula represented in the seal, which also contains the following: a sunrise, a bald eagle flanked by an elk and a moose (singular), and a man holding a long gun but with his arms up, indicating peace.

In short, there’s a lot going on their seal.

Michigan has also known as:

  • The Wolverine State
  • The Water Winter Wonderland
  • The 38th Uniform Bar Exam State

That last one is new. Faithful reader Otto Stockmeyer asked nearly two years ago, here on this blog, “will the Uniform Bar Exam be coming to Michigan anytime soon?” At the time, 32 states had adopted the UBE, and Indiana had just wrapped up its UBE task force. Indiana, you may recall, announced its adoption last week.

Professor Stockmeyer wrote at the time, “Duplicative, expensive bar exams are also a significant bottleneck in the pipeline for minorities seeking access to our profession.  And anecdotally, the pass rate for minority groups is said to have increased under the UBE. All law students, and those who care about them, should support continued expansion of the Uniform Bar Examination.”

Today, yours truly, the writer of our UBE dispatches, got an email with a link to the Michigan UBE announcement and a single word:

We similarly rejoice with the Professor. Boo-yah.

The pertinent part of the announcement reads:

The Court is moving to implement the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) for future testing. By next year, the UBE (which allows an applicant’s score to be transferred between UBE jurisdictions) will be used by nearly 40 jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

We’ll take that to mean next summer/fall/winter’s exam. The news comes with info on the remote bar exam in February 2021. We continue to remind jurisdictions that 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.

When we shared the Indiana news, we went over the remainder of non-UBE jurisdictions. We won’t rehash it much, except to say the final 12 include four pairs of neighboring states, Hawaii, and three states that are surrounded by Uniform Bar Exam adopters.

Those loners now include Wisconsin. And for coming in first in the UBE stakes, Michigan will officially be the only state to lay claim to The Mitten State moniker. And not to badger them further, but truly—the cheese now stands alone along Lake Michigan.

But don’t worry, we’re rooting for you to join the UBE. Soon.

We here at #UBEWatch also salute Professor Stockmeyer for his continued support of the UBE and law grads everywhere. And stay tuned to see who will turn us 39!

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