Coordinated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) is designed to test knowledge and skills that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate prior to becoming licensed to practice law. The two-day examination – which tests knowledge of general principles of law, legal analysis and reasoning, factual analysis, and communication skills to determine readiness to enter legal practice in any jurisdiction – results in a portable score that may be used within a prescribed amount of time after earning the score to apply for bar admission in other UBE jurisdictions.
In October 2016, Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Court of Appeals of Maryland, appointed an advisory committee, chaired by Court of Appeals Judge Sally D. Adkins, to explore the feasibility of Maryland’s adoption of the UBE. After spending nearly a year studying various related issues, including portability, quality control, scoring, subject testing, and the inclusion of a Maryland-specific component, the committee issued a report in October 2017 recommending that the state adopt the UBE.
The High Court accepted the committee’s recommendation and, pending final approval of proposed Rules by the Court of Appeals (expected in early December 2018), the State Board of Law Examiners expects and intends to begin administering the UBE in Maryland in July 2019. The Board also intends and expects to begin accepting transfers of UBE scores earned in other UBE jurisdictions, as well as Petitions for admission without examination from experienced out-of-state attorneys, on July 1, 2019.
“The Uniform Bar Examination, along with the Maryland law component, will assure that applicants possess the knowledge and skills necessary to practice law in Maryland, plus afford those who pass the exam the portability of transferring their results to other jurisdictions that have also adopted the Uniform Bar Examination,” said Barbera.