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DC Is the 20th Jurisdiction to Adopt the UBE

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on February 22, 2016 5:59 AM

A recent order from the D.C. Court of Appeals confirms that D.C. will be the twentieth jurisdiction to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination -- better known as the UBE. It will begin administering the exam this July.

It seems like only yesterday that a mere scant sixteen jurisdiction had adopted the UBE with the most notorious convert being New York.

And Then It Begins

The UBE has made some impressive inroad since it was first adopted by North Dakota five years ago in 2011. As of the time of this writing, twenty jurisdictions have adopted it and already two more jurisdictions have announced that they will.

What's even more striking is the fact that five jurisdictions have adopted the UBE within a space of as few months. When NY made the switch over in June, we never dreamed that the number would have ballooned to twenty. This was largely because people dangerously thought of the UBE as something of a phase trend.

Campaign to Push for Universal Adoption

For some, the UBE's increased acceptance is all good news. There has been a movement to push for the universal adoption of the UBE by advocates who claim that multiple state bar exams hinders the transferability of licensed attorneys to other states and generally hinders the profession. Only recently, the ABA considered a resolution that would call for all American states and territories to adopt the UBE. Above the Law's Kyle McEntee is a staunch supporter.

For one thing, as McEntee points out, the UBE is by definition not only uniform, but universal. Thus, licensed attorneys needn't worry about tranferrability issues like reciprocity in order to practice. Couples and families will suffer less because they will not be subjected to the largely needless process of having to sit through another bar exam. For students, he says, it's even more ridiculous. Half of graduates don't find work until after they graduate, meaning that they will have to follow the job and sit through a bar exam that they might not pass -- making them unemployable as an attorney for another half year at least.

Keep 'Em Out

Opponents of the UBE must base their resistance to the test based on a bid to keep the legal market exclusive, because common law issues that are tested on most bar exams are, well ... common to pretty much all bar exams. And it's getting harder and harder to resist what almost seems like an inevitability.

Additionally, those who would bid to make the exam more difficult have their calls somewhat attenuated by the fact that California has cut-off its third day and now will begin administering only a two day exam in 2017.

Maybe the changes are already here?

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