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Press Release Massachusetts State Bar Exam to be Conducted Remotely

For immediate release:
7/01/2020
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • SJC Clerk's Office for the County of Suffolk
  • Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
  • Massachusetts Court System

Media Contact for Massachusetts State Bar Exam to be Conducted Remotely

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAThe 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 cancelled. 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. Massachusetts is working with other jurisdictions who will administer the same remote exam to explore reciprocity.

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 court's website.

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.  

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Media Contact for Massachusetts State Bar Exam to be Conducted Remotely

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 

The Supreme Judicial Court is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court.

SJC Clerk's Office for the County of Suffolk 

4/01/2020 - Message from Clerk Maura Doyle

During the coronavirus public health crisis, the SJC Clerk's Office for Suffolk County is open, however, there is no physical, public access to the Clerk's Office except for limited emergency circumstances. A limited number of staff are working in the Clerk's Office from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday, to docket and process any filings, including any new petitions, complaints and applications. Please be advised that processing times may be impacted by staff reductions related to the ongoing crisis. Contact information for the office and links to our business areas can be found below.

Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners 

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Massachusetts Bar Exam, September 30-October 1, 2020

The Board of Bar Examiners anticipates that, due to social distancing requirements and to ensure the safety of examinees, the number of available seats may be limited for an in-person administration of the Massachusetts Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), as scheduled for September 30-October 1, 2020. Should the number of applicants to sit for this administration of the Massachusetts UBE exceed the number of available seats, access to available seats will be prioritized, as follows.

1. All graduates of law schools located in Massachusetts who have met all requirements of S.J.C. Rule 3:01 and who are sitting for the bar exam for a first time or a second time will be provided a seat for the exam, regardless of the date of the filing of the Petition for Admission to the Massachusetts bar.

2. Graduates of ABA-approved law schools located outside of Massachusetts who have met all requirements of S.J.C. Rule 3:01 and who are sitting for a UBE for the first time will be given first priority to available exam seats after all applicants eligible under paragraph one above have been seated, based on the date of the filing of the Petition for Admission to the Massachusetts bar.

3. Graduates of ABA-approved law schools in 2018, 2019, or 2020 who have met all requirements of S.J.C. Rule 3:01 and who are not eligible under paragraph one or two above, will be given second priority to available exam seats after all applicants eligible under paragraph one and two above have been seated, based on the date of the filing of the Petition for Admission to the Massachusetts bar.

4. Once all applicants meeting the criteria in paragraphs one, two, and three above have been seated, remaining available seats will be assigned based on the date of the filing of the Petition for Admission to the Massachusetts bar.

Petitioners who sit for a prior administration of the July 2020 Uniform Bar Examination (July 28-29, 2020 or September 9-10, 2020) in another jurisdiction, will not be permitted to sit for the September 30-October 1, 2020 UBE in Massachusetts. In the event that limitations on large gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to interfere with the September 30-October 1, 2020 administration of the Massachusetts UBE, an alternative exam providing for Massachusetts admission only will be administered remotely without limitation on the number of examinees.

Massachusetts will continue to accept Petitions for Admission by Transfer of UBE Score from persons achieving a UBE score of 270 or higher from a UBE administration in another jurisdiction. Information regarding administration of the UBE in other jurisdictions is available at www.ncbex.org.

The Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) is established by G.L. c. 221 §§35 & 36 to evaluate the qualifications of persons seeking admission to the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Court System 

The Massachusetts court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Executive Office of the Trial Court, the 7 Trial Court departments, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and the Office of Jury Commissioner.
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