For Immediate Release - October 07, 2015

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Uniform Bar Examination Advisory Committee

BOSTON, MA -- The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court have appointed eighteen members and two co-chairs from the Court to the newly created Committee to Examine the Uniform Bar Examination, whose charge will be to make recommendations to the Court as to whether Massachusetts should consider joining the group of states that has adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE).

The committee includes representatives of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Board of Bar Examiners, law schools, the Court's Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism, and bar associations. Its mandate is to make recommendations as to whether the Supreme Judicial Court should replace the current bar exam with the UBE, and if it were to do so, how adoption of the UBE would affect bar admission practices and procedures, what changes in policies, rules and statutes might be required, and how the Court would ensure that bar applicants have sufficient knowledge of Massachusetts law.

In addition to evaluating the viability of the Uniform Bar Examination for Massachusetts, the committee will explore programs related to bar admission, some of which are under consideration or in place in other jurisdictions, including pre-admission pro bono practice requirements, early eligibility to sit for the bar examination and other programs designed to emphasize practical skills and ensure the qualifications of applicants for bar admission. Before making a recommendation to the Court, the committee will solicit views of interested individuals, organizations, and entities on the possible transition to the UBE and related issues.

The UBE is a multistate bar examination prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners testing generally accepted legal principles. The UBE produces a portable score that bar applicants can use to gain admission to other jurisdictions in which the UBE has been adopted, assuming that the applicant has satisfied additional jurisdiction-specific requirements. To date, the UBE has been adopted by seventeen jurisdictions, with the most recent additions being New York and Vermont, where the UBE will be administered beginning in July of 2016.

Hon. Robert J. Cordy and Hon. Margot Botsford, Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court, are co-chairs of the committee. The Uniform Bar Examination Advisory Committee members are:

  • Hon. Robert J. Cordy, Co-Chair, Supreme Judicial Court
  • Hon. Margot Botsford, Co-Chair, Supreme Judicial Court
  • Assoc. Dean Maris Abbene, Esq., Boston College Law School
  • Geoffrey R. Bok, Esq., Board of Bar Examiners
  • Hon. Nonnie Burnes (Ret.), Supreme Judicial Court Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism
  • Richard Campbell, Esq., Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Clerk Maura S. Doyle,  Supreme Judicial Court for the County of Suffolk
  •  Professor Melinda F. Drew,  Northeastern University School of Law
  • Professor Rebecca Flanagan, University of Massachusetts Law School
  •  Professor Andrew Kaufman, Harvard Law School
  • Wayne Kennard, Esq. Boston Bar Association
  • Asst. Dean Kandace Kukas, Western New England University School of Law
  • Carol R. Lev, Esq., Supreme Judicial Court
  •  Mela Lew, Esq., Board of Bar Examiners
  • Dean Maureen O’Rourke, Boston University School of Law
  •  Dean Andrew Perlman, Suffolk University Law School
  • Alice Richmond, Esq., Board of Bar Examiners (former member)
  •  Nan M. Sauer, Esq., Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association
  •  Professor Paul F. Teich, New England Law | Boston
  • Marilyn J. Wellington, Esq., Board of Bar Examiners

Questions about the committee can be directed to Marilyn J. Wellington, Esq., Executive Director of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners, at Marilyn.Wellington@bbe.state.ma.us.

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