NJSBA urges cautious approach to adopting UBE

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For Immediate Release
November 17, 2015
Contact: Kate Coscarelli
Senior Managing Director Communications

The New Jersey State Bar Association will offer testimony urging the Judiciary to gather additional information and data before adopting a uniform bar exam (UBE).
Trustee Haekyoung Suh is scheduled to testify on Nov.18 before a Supreme Court committee examining whether New Jersey should become the latest state to adopt the exam that is used in 17 states, including New York, which will offer it to law school graduates for the first time in the summer.
The association believes the UBE has some obvious benefits, such as having the ability to take one bar exam that would be considered in the admission process in several states.
The association will urge the committee to gather additional information about the UBE. The goal is to protect members of the public who turn to lawyers for assistance.
“The New Jersey State Bar Association requests more time to study the uniform bar exam and its impact on law students, newly admitted attorneys, employers and the profession, generally. Data needs to be culled and examined to determine whether the proposal to adopt the UBE adequately ensures competency to practice law in New Jersey. The paramount concern of the NJSBA is to ensure the quality of New Jersey attorneys who serve the public. There are several substantial areas of concern,” said the NJSBA, which will request the comment period be extended by 30 days.
The testimony will cover several key topics, including urging the committee to: 

• Study other states where the UBE is used to ensure it is not having a negative outcome with various demographic or minority groups.

• Examine whether New Jersey’s law schools need to adjust their curricula to ensure graduates have the necessary skills to practice law upon passage of the bar exam, and whether the Judiciary should introduce a separate state-specific test on Garden State laws and procedures to ensure applicants seeking to practice law in New Jersey are sufficiently familiar with New Jersey’s rules of professional conduct. 

• Determine various logistical issues, such as what an appropriate passing score would be under the uniform bar exam, what is the appropriate time frame to transfer a score to New Jersey, and how to handle applicants who wish to take the Pennsylvania bar exam since that state rejected the UBE, as well as other logistical concerns.