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Guide Bar Exam and COVID-19

Information about the impact of COVID-19 on the administration of the Bar Exam, now scheduled to be held remotely on October 5-6.

Table of Contents

Updates & Information

New Jurisdictions continue to be added for Remotely-Administered Exam Reciprocity -  See below for more information

July 1, 2020 Announcement:

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court and the Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) today announced that, due to seating limitations and safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the September 30 and October 1 in-person Massachusetts administration of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) has been canceled. An alternative, remotely-administered exam for admission to the Massachusetts bar will be offered in lieu of the UBE on October 5 and 6, 2020.  

The alternative, remotely-administered exam for admission will cover the same substantive content and follow the same format (Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), Multistate Performance Test (MPT) and Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)) as the UBE and will be administered in four 90-minute sessions over the two days. The remote administration of the exam will now allow all petitioners seeking admission by examination to the Massachusetts bar who satisfy the requirements of SJC Rule 3:01 to file for admission and sit for this exam. Exam materials will be provided by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the organization that produces the MBE, MPT, and MEE. 

Reciprocity for October 2020 Remotely-Administered Exam for Admission to the Massachusetts Bar  

The Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners is pleased to announce that it has entered into reciprocity agreements with the following jurisdictions for the portability of scores from the October 5-6, 2020 Remotely-Administered Exam for Admission:  

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Washington DC

The Board of Bar Examiners will continue to seek reciprocity with other jurisdictions offering the October 5-6, 2020 Remotely-Administered Exam for Admission. Reciprocity updates will be shared on this page and our Facebook page.

The Board of Bar Examiners will automatically report each petitioner's score on the October 2020 Remotely-Administered Exam for Admission to all jurisdictions having a reciprocal agreement with Massachusetts. Petitioners who do not wish to have their scores reported to other jurisdictions may opt-out prior to taking the exam by submitting the Reciprocity Opt-Out Form by October 9. To be eligible for admission to a reciprocal jurisdiction under these agreements, applicants must attain a passing exam score as set by the jurisdiction to which they wish to apply, meet all other eligibility requirements for admission set by that jurisdiction, and submit an application for admission as required by the jurisdiction. 

Filing a Petition for Admission by Examination

The Court's e-filing period for petitions for admission by alternate, remote examination will begin on July 1 and close on July 17, 2020. Further details regarding the October 5-6, 2020 exam, and important information for persons who have previously filed or will file a petition for admission is available on the FAQ page.

As previously announced, the Board of Bar Examiners will expedite the grading of the exam and its character and fitness investigations so that results may be released by mid-December, 2020.  Currently, the formal in-person admission ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for the week of January 11-15, 2021. 

As the Massachusetts Petition for Admission is filed as a docketed civil case at the S.J.C., the fee attached to it is a case filing fee at the Court and these fees are non-refundable. The BBE does not have any authority over fees, so applicants with questions about fees should reach out to the Office of the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for the County of Suffolk.

Applications for non-standard testing accommodations (NTA) were due by July 17, 2020. Each request will be considered individually, and information about accommodations will be communicated directly to examinees.

Additional Resources for Updates & Information

Submitting your Petition

Filing Requirements

For the first time, petitioners for Admission by Examination/Re-examination will be able to submit their application by means of e-filing, using Tyler's Guide and File System. This system is already utilized by the Clerk's office to accept petitions for Admission by Motion and Admission by Transfer of UBE Score. In order to submit your Petition through e-file, you will be required to upload PDF versions of the following documents:

  • MPRE Score Report (Official or Unofficial Transcript)
  • Law School Certificate completed, signed and dated by your law school
  • Recommendation from a member of the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or of any state district or territory of the United States.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Laptop Registration and Statement of Compliance forms, if applicable.
  • Current (dated within 90 days) Certificates of Admission and Good Standing from every jurisdiction to which you are admitted, if applicable.
  • Current (dated within 90 days) Grievance Letters from every jurisdiction to which you are admitted, if applicable.
  • Records detailing affirmative responses, if applicable.

Petitioners filing to sit for the bar exam for the first time will also need to provide addresses and dates of residency for every residence they have had in the last five years, colleges, universities, and law school(s) they have attended, as well as dates of attendance, and any employment they have held since their 18th birthday. Petitioners re-taking the exam will need to provide all changes since they last filed a petition. 

Incomplete Petitions will not be accepted. 

Filing Information

July 1-July 17:

Petitions for admission by examination are now being accepted from all petitioners who have met all requirements of S.J.C. Rule 3:01 (including having obtained a passing score on the MPRE).

The Board of Bar Examiners recommends that all petitioners review the Guide to Filing a Petition for Admission by Examination (First-Time) or the Guide to Filing a Petition for Admission by Re-Examination as well as the FAQs Related to October 2020 Examination for Admission to the Massachusetts Bar prior to filing your petition.

You may access the e-file site here

Additional Resources for Submitting your Petition

Foreign-Educated Attorneys

Foreign-educated attorneys are required to submit a request for an advanced determination of educational sufficiency at least 4 months prior to the application deadline in order to be eligible to sit for the exam, per Board of Bar Examiners Rule VI. The application deadline for the September administration of the exam is July 17; the deadline to request an advanced determination for the September 30-October 1 bar exam has passed.

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