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Bar News - May 17, 2013

New Hampshire Adopts Uniform Bar Exam

The New Hampshire Supreme Court last month formally adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which allows successful New Hampshire applicants to gain admission to the bar in 13 states, without the requirement of taking another bar examination.

The first administration of the UBE in New Hampshire will be in February 2014. The formal adoption of the UBE by Supreme Court order makes permanent changes to Supreme Court Rule 42 that had been adopted on a temporary basis.

Each UBE jurisdiction gives the same exam, which is made up of three components: the Multistate Performance Test, the Multistate Essay Examination, and the Multistate Bar Examination. The UBE is prepared and coordinated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners to test knowledge and skills that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate prior to becoming licensed to practice law. Thirteen states have adopted the UBE: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Each jurisdiction sets its own time limit for transfer and establishes other admission requirements.

NH Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Stewart Dalianis said New Hampshire’s adoption of the uniform examination will provide law school graduates with more flexibility in finding employment.

"This exam retains the same high standards New Hampshire requires for legal practice in our state while also giving new lawyers more options for a job in other states during a tight economy," Dalianis said.

The UBE in New Hampshire will be administered by the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners. The essay portions of the UBE will be scored by board members, who are all New Hampshire attorneys. As with all new attorneys, UBE applicants receiving a passing score will be required to take a two-day practical skills course presented by the New Hampshire Bar Association and they will have to satisfy all existing character and fitness requirements.

New Hampshire will begin to accept motions for admission by transferred UBE score on Aug. 1, 2013. In New Hampshire, the applicant may use the score from a UBE exam that was taken within three years of the date that the motion for admission is filed, or from between three and five years, if the applicant establishes that he or she has been primarily engaged in the active practice of law for at least two years. The passing score in New Hampshire is 270 or greater on a scale of 400.

The UBE is administered over two days, with the MBE given on the last Wednesday of February and July and the MEE and MPT given on the Tuesday prior to that. The MEE and MPT scores are scaled to the MBE, with the MBE weighted 50 percent, the MEE 30 percent, and the MPT 20 percent.

More information about the UBE and the UBE jurisdictions can be found on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website, or from Sherry Hieber, bar admissions administrator, 603-224-8806.

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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