Will New York Really Ditch The Uniform Bar Exam?

A task force created by the New York State Bar Association has suggested that New York should withdraw its participation from the Uniform Bar Exam(UBE) and instead develop its own bar exam focusing more directly on New York rules of law.

The State Bar’s House of Delegates just approved the recommendations of the Task Force. 94% of its members voted in favor of the changes, 3% opposed, with the rest abstaining.

Former Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, 2nd Department, Alan Scheinkman, argued that the current state-specific New York Law Exam, now taken by examinees in addition to the Uniform Bar Exam, is too easy because only 30 out of 50 multiple choice questions need to be answered correctly for a passing score, and the current format allows groups of students taking the exam in the same room to compare notes.

The Task Force suggestions come on the heels of a proposal for a new bar exam made earlier this year by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE).

The NCBE’s revised test would do away with the separate Uniform Bar Exam components such as the Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Performance Test, and the Multistate Essay Exam, replacing them with a format that asks test takers to use legal scenarios and fact patterns to provide answers through multiple choice and short written answers. The new NCBE exam is scheduled to take at least 4 to 5 years to finalize. It also mandates that future bar exams be taken entirely on a computer—even if being held in-person.

The New York Task Force said such a mandate could present New York with significant logistical hurdles, and could also harm low-income exam takers who may not own up-to-date computers.

You can read more about these continuing developments here .

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