Rule Changes

Alaska

Alaska Bar Rule 2, Eligibility for Admission, has been amended to expand access to admission by transferred UBE score and incorporate Section 1(e) (regarding lack of good standing in any jurisdiction for disciplinary reasons) into eligibility requirements for all applicants. These changes expand the UBE transfer provisions to unaccredited law school graduates, clerkship program graduates under AS 08.08.207, and foreign law school graduates who are otherwise qualified to take the bar exam in Alaska; they also disqualify applicants who are disbarred or suspended for disciplinary reasons, have resigned with disciplinary charges pending, or otherwise are not in good standing for disciplinary reasons in any jurisdiction.

Florida

Florida has made changes to rule 4-13.4 of the Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar, Alternative Method of Educational Qualification, pertaining to when an applicant does not possess an ABA-accredited JD. Such applicants must meet the requirements of one of two subdivisions. The rule’s subdivision relating to applicants without an LLM was amended to lower the time period of prior practice of law (without suspension or disbarment) from 10 years to 5 years. A subdivision relating to applicants with an LLM was added, including requirements regarding the source of the LLM, evidence of prior practice of law for at least two years (without suspension or disbarment), and “a representative compilation of the work product in the field of law showing the scope and character of the applicant’s previous experience and practice at the bar.” For details, see www.floridabarexam.org/__85257bfe0055eb2c.nsf/52286ae9ad5d845185257c07005c3fe1/b35e3538964d409e85257c59005d0207#4-134.

Michigan

Michigan will begin administering the UBE in February 2023. Michigan will require all examinees and UBE score transfer applicants to successfully complete an online Michigan Law Component prior to licensure. Michigan will not accept UBE score transfers until its first UBE administration in February 2023. Transferred scores must not be older than 3 years. Michigan’s minimum passing score has not yet been announced.

Texas

The Supreme Court of Texas recently made two changes to its Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Texas:

  • In August 2021, the Court amended Rule 4, Present Good Moral Character and Fitness Requirement. A felony conviction is no longer an absolute bar to admission, and certain felonies that were handled through deferred adjudication cannot be considered at all when determining a candidate’s present good moral character or fitness.

  • In February 2022, the Court amended Rule 13 §1 of Rule 13, Applicants from Other Jurisdictions. Now, a UBE score of 270 or higher that was earned within five years of applying to Texas can be transferred without any practice time requirement.

People

Florida

Hon. Carlos Muñiz was elected as Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, with his two-year term beginning July 1, 2022. He was appointed to the Court in January 2019 and will succeed Hon. Charles T. Canady as Chief Justice.

Illinois

Larie McGill, Deputy Director of Administration for the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar, retired in April 2022 after 29 years of service with the Board.

Missouri

Effective April 1, 2022, James Klahr is the new Executive Director of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners, replacing Andrea Spillars. Klahr most recently served as Senior Counsel for the Governmental Affairs Section of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

Pamela McQuary is the new Assistant Director of Testing for the Missouri Board of Law Examiners. McQuary previously served for 34 years at the State of Missouri Office of Administration, Division of Budget and Planning and Division of General Services. 

John C. Drake was appointed to the Board of Law Examiners on March 1, 2022, replacing James ­Nowogrocki, whose term had expired. Drake is a commercial litigator licensed in Missouri and Illinois.

Nebraska

Mark Weber has been appointed Interim Director for the Attorney Services Division of the Nebraska Supreme Court until a new director is hired.

New Mexico

Camille Pedrick is the new Executive Director of the New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners. Pedrick previously practiced law primarily in the areas of domestic relations and criminal law.

Justice C. Shannon Bacon became Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court on April 13, 2022. She succeeds Justice Michael E. Vigil in the role.

Ohio

Steve C. Coffaro, Hon. Margaret Evans, Alexander J. Ewing, and Hon. Amy H. Lewis are new members of the Ohio Board of Bar Examiners. The terms of Julie A. Jones, Jennifer E. Day, and John W. Waddy Jr. have expired.

The Ohio Supreme Court has selected the Ohio Office of Bar Admissions as the recipients of the Court’s professionalism award, which is given annually “to an individual or office who displayed a positive attitude toward one’s work, fellow employees, and the constituencies of the Court that serves as a model and motivation to others, and/or excelled in the performance in one’s regularly assigned duties.”

Pennsylvania

Kezia O. L. Taylor is the new chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, effective April 1, 2022. She replaces Stewart Cohen, whose term as chair expired and who is no longer on the Board.

Patrick Thomassey was appointed to the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners on March 30, 2022, and his three-year term began on April 1, 2022.

Wyoming

Justice Kate M. Fox became Chief Justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court on July 1, 2021. She succeeded Justice Michael K. Davis in the role.

The Wyoming Supreme Court has appointed John A. Masterson to the Wyoming Board of Law Examiners to complete the term of Darci A. V. Philips, who resigned from the Board when appointed as a District Judge for the Fourth Judicial District in Wyoming. Masterson previously served on the board from 2013 to 2018. He is a shareholder in the firm Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, PC.

NCBE News

Susan Baek joined NCBE as Manager of Test Security and Administration in February 2022. Prior to joining NCBE, Baek worked at Educational Testing Service for over 10 years in test security.

NCBE graduate student intern Kylie Gorney has received the prestigious Harold Gulliksen Psychometric Research Fellowship from Educational Testing Service. The fellowship recognizes graduate students in psychometrics who are working on their dissertations, and are conducting innovative, applied research of the highest quality. Gorney is a fourth-year PhD student with the University of ­Wisconsin–Madison’s Department of Educational Psychology in the Quantitative Methods program. Her research focuses on describing, exploring, preventing, and detecting multiple types of test aberrance, as commonly occurs in situations related to test security, speediness, or low motivation. Her work draws predominantly on process data (e.g., response time) and novel item formats that are ideally suited for computer-­based testing applications, and the methods she is developing apply broadly for most types of assessments. NCBE’s internship program is based in the Assessment and Research department through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

MPRE

Starting with the August 2022 exam, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) will be offered in Puerto Rico. “Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court does not require passage of the MPRE for admission to its bar, but law graduates in Puerto Rico may plan to apply for admission to the bars of other US jurisdictions,” said Beth Hill, NCBE Director of Test Development, Operations, and Security. “This change will allow those candidates to sit for the MPRE locally, rather than having to travel to another jurisdiction to test.” For more information, see www.ncbex.org/news/mpre-now-available-in-puerto-rico.  

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