If you haven’t already heard, New York announced in May that it will no longer be administering a New York specific exam, and will use the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) starting in July 2016. The New York Court of Appeals approved the change as it encourages a nationwide move to have a single bar exam. So far, 17 other states are already using the UBE, and it looks as if New Jersey may be following suit with the trend.
The state’s highest court made the announcement in late October that it may get rid of its state-specific bar & adopt the UBE exam instead. The UBE is designed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. This means states that adopt this exam will not have control over the questions on the exam or the subject matter. However, the transition to the UBE will have an effect on students who want to be licensed to practice in both New York and New Jersey. Of the number of students who take the New York exam, a majority usually take the New Jersey bar exam as well.
On the other hand, this transition will make it easier for students to study for the bar exam because they will have to study for two tests that have similar formats. In the past, students had to study for the New York and New Jersey exams separately.
The committee is still weighing the pros and cons of switching to a Uniform Bar Exam. They say that transitioning to use this test is “necessary for the mobile, interconnected society in which we live”(Link). Many lawyers in the tri-state area move and work in between the states over the course of their careers. By using the UBE, lawyers will have more opportunity to move and relocate to other states with ease. The New Jersey court has not made a set decision on adopting the Uniform bar Exam yet, but we will look out for their answer in the near future.