This article originally appeared in The Bar Examiner print edition, Spring 2023 (Vol. 92, No. 1), pp. 64–66.

Rule Changes


On February 27, 2023, the Alaska Supreme Court signed an order lowering the Uniform Bar Examination passing score to 270 from 280.


On February 21, 2023, the Delaware Supreme Court announced multiple changes to its bar examination and bar admissions process, effective with the July 2023 exam administration. The reforms come after an extensive review by the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners.

The changes to the bar exam include reducing the passing score from 145 to 143 and reducing the essay portion of the Delaware-­specific component from 8 questions to 4. Delaware will also begin offering a February exam administration in 2024.

Changes to the bar admissions process include reducing the clerkship requirement from 21 weeks to 12 weeks, reducing the number of legal proceedings candidates must observe from 25 mandatory items to 18 out of 30 potential items, and reducing late application fees for both law school graduates and attorneys admitted in another jurisdiction.


The Illinois Supreme Court has shortened the final filing deadlines for the February and July examinations. The final deadline for February has moved from December 15 to November 30; the final deadline for July has moved from May 15 to April 30. The Court has also increased the fees for admission by UBE transfer, admission on motion, and limited admission of in-house counsel to $1,500.

South Dakota

In November 2022, the South Dakota Supreme Court entered an order appointing a committee to study the process for admitting attorneys to practice law in South Dakota. The committee, made up of a diverse group of South Dakota attorneys, will conduct a comprehensive review of the current bar admissions process, including the assessment of the character and fitness of applicants seeking admission. The review will be undertaken with technical assistance from the National Center for State Courts and AccessLex. The committee is also tasked with developing recommendations for an admissions process that continues to support South Dakota’s effort to recruit and retain attorneys that serve the legal needs of all South Dakotans, while maintaining a credible process to assess an applicant’s competence to practice law.



Peter J. Maassen was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court on February 6, 2023. ­Justice Maassen follows Chief Justice ­Daniel E. Winfree, whose term as chief ­justice expired upon his retirement on February 6, 2023.

Judge Jude Pate was appointed to the Alaska Supreme Court in January 2023. Judge Pate fills the vacancy created by Chief Justice Winfree’s retirement.


Allison Plowman-Hatfield joined the Arkansas State Board of Law Examiners for a term beginning January 26, 2023. She replaces Judge ­Waymond Brown, whose term ended on January 1 of the same year.


Gardiner Thompson joined the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners, replacing Dennis Cathey after a six-year term. The change was effective January 1, 2023.


Effective January 1, 2023, Suzanne J. Schmitz has been reappointed as president of the Board of Admissions to the Bar for a three-year term, and Rita M. Novak has been appointed vice president for a one-year term.

Eric Lohrenz is the new Director of Administration for the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar, effective April 19, 2023. He comes to the position having most recently served as General Counsel for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Lohrenz replaces Nancy Vincent, who left the position in November 2022. Serving as interim Director of Administration since December 2022 is Regina Kwan Peterson, who came out of retirement to resume the role until the end of April 2023.

Alexandra “Lexie” Rice joined the Board as Staff Attorney. She came to the role from the law firm ­Cassiday Schade LLP in Springfield, Illinois, where she was in private practice.


Diane Van Aken, Character and Fitness Program Director for the State Bar of Michigan, retired on February 24, 2023, after over 33 years of service, including approximately 30 years as head of the character and fitness department. She was also appointed as chair and vice-chair of various Council of Bar Admission Administrators (CBAA) committees over the years, including Crossing the Bar and Character and Fitness. Keith Wilkinson, current chair of the CBAA Character and Fitness Committee, has been named as her replacement, and Rebecca Brennan has been hired as Senior Investigator to fill Wilkinson’s former position.


Gwen Baptist-Rucker was selected as the new chair of the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions in January 2023, having served on the board since 2010. Baptist has a tax, estate, and trust practice in Southaven, Mississippi. She succeeds Marcie Baria, who has served as chair since November 2018.

Michael McCabe was selected as the new vice-chair of the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions in January 2023, having served on the board since November 2015. He is currently a partner at Butler Snow on its commercial litigation team. McCabe succeeds Pieter ­Teeuwissen, who has served as vice-chair since November 2018.

North Dakota

Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle retired on January 31, 2023. Justice ­VandeWalle has served on the North Dakota Supreme Court since 1978. He was elected Chief Justice in January 1993 and served in that position until December 2019, after which he continued to serve as a Justice on the Court. Justice VandeWalle also served as liaison to the North Dakota Board of Law Examiners and was very active locally and nationally in attorney regulation issues.

Scott Porsborg replaced Lawrence King on the North Dakota Board of Law Examiners, effective January 1, 2023. Porsborg is a partner at Smith Porsborg Schweigert Armstrong Moldenhauer & Smith and a certified Civil Trial Specialist via the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a former chair of the North Dakota Character and Fitness Committee.


Emily Lee is the new Deputy General Counsel for Admissions for the Utah State Bar. She replaces Carrie Boren, who left the position in March 2023.

West Virginia

Ashton Bias Harrell is the new Bar Admissions Administrator for the West Virginia Board of Law Examiners. She replaces Carol Smith, who resigned in late 2022.

Effective September 29, 2022, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia appointed Thomas ­Truman to the West Virginia Board of Law Examiners. He replaces Jason ­Pizatella, who resigned after six years of ­service.

Errata: 2021 Statistics

The Spring 2022 issue of the Bar Examiner included 2021 bar examination and admission statistics, which NCBE collects from the 56 US jurisdictions. The District of Columbia has reported that some of their submitted numbers for 2021 admissions were in error. Corrected information for the District of Columbia and updated overall totals appear below.

Admissions to the Bar by Examination and by Transferred UBE Score, 2017–2021

Jurisdiction Admission by 2021 Admission by Examination 2021 Transferred UBE Score
District of Columbia 2,093 814
Totals of All Jurisdictions 46,762 6,617

Admissions to the Bar on Motion, 2017–2021

Jurisdiction 2021
District of Columbia 1,633
Total for All Jusidictions 9,101

Note: Admissions by transferred UBE score also includes those admitted by score transfer agreements among certain UBE jurisdictions that administered NCBE’s remote testing option on October 5–6, 2020, instead of or in addition to the July or alternative-date 2020 UBE. Not included in 2021 admissions are those admitted via emergency diploma privilege/examination waiver rules adopted by five jurisdictions in July 2020 allowing certain qualified candidates to be eligible for admission to the bar in that jurisdiction without taking the bar examination (the District of Columbia had 108 such admissions in 2021). See “COVID-19: Implications for 2020–2021 Admissions,” for exam modifications affecting 2021 admissions statistics.

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