This article originally appeared in The Bar Examiner print edition, Summer 2023 (Vol. 92, No. 2), pp. 37–39.
Effective June 15, 2023, the Supreme Court of Arkansas amended Rule IX of the Arkansas Supreme Court Rules Governing Admission to the Bar. The answers to each essay question and Multistate Performance Test item will now be scored on a scale of 1 to 6, replacing the previous scale of 65 to 85.
On March 31, 2023, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners revised its test specifications for Part A of its General Bar Exam. In addition, multiple-choice questions primarily will be used to test Trusts and UCC Articles 3 and 9 when those subjects are on Part A. Both changes are effective with the July 2023 exam administration. For the revised test specifications, see www.floridabarexam.org/web/website.nsf/52286AE9AD5D845185257C07005C3FE1/125BA5AFD5EB7D2385257C0B0067E748.
On June 26, 2023, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners stated that it will retain the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) for the July 2026 Florida Bar Exam. July 2026 is the planned first administration of the NextGen bar exam.
On June 1, 2023, the Idaho Supreme Court signed an order lowering the Uniform Bar Examination passing score to 270 from 272. The change is effective starting with the July 2023 bar exam and may also be applied to results from the February 2023 exam.
Effective September 1, 2023, the Supreme Court of Missouri revised Rule 8 of its Rules Governing Admission to the Bar in Missouri. This affects bar exam filing deadlines and its fee schedule, with the changes applying to the February 2024 exam onward. The revised filing deadlines are:
First-time takers and repeat takers: Final deadline of May 1 (instead of May 31) for the July examination and final deadline of the prior December 1 (instead of December 31) for the February examination.
The Missouri Board of Law Examiners will be updating its website to reflect the updated deadlines and fee schedule before September 1, 2023, to alert all filers to these updates.
On June 28, 2023, the Utah Supreme Court approved changes to Rule 14-711 and 14-712 of the Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice, lowering the passing score on the bar examination from 270 to 260. The change is effective immediately; for scores earned prior to the July 2023 administration, the passing score remains 270.
Jacqueline Wright was appointed to the Arkansas State Board of Law Examiners on May 18, 2023, for a six-year term. She replaces Ernest Sanders, whose term on the board expired.
Audrey Ching is the Director of Admissions for the State Bar of California, effective April 17, 2023.
In February 2023, the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners expanded to 34 members. It has since welcomed a number of new members:
- Samuel L. Closic (Secretary)
- Mike Abram
- Rebecca N. Doyle
- Haley W. King
- James H. S. Levine
- Sabrina M. Hendershot
- Lauren K. Neal
- Denise D. Nordheimer
- Roopa Sabesan
- John S. Taylor
- Robert M. Vrana
- John S. Whitelaw
- Laura D. Willis
- Eric H. Zubrow
Two members have also left the board: Anne Shea Gaza left at the end of 2022 at the expiration of her term, and Patricia Winston left upon being appointed to the bench on June 1, 2022.
Mary Beth Rudd retired following the February 2023 bar exam. Kristy Boles is now the Examination Supervisor for the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.
Darren Driscoll has been named to the Iowa Board of Law Examiners for a three-year term.
Wesley Deskins is the new Deputy Director for the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions, succeeding Danny Coleman, whose last day in the role was July 14.
Wadner Oge’s last day as Counsel for Bar Admissions for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners was July 31, 2023.
Pamela McQuary is the new Director of Testing for the Missouri Board of Law Examiners as of June 1, 2023, succeeding Lori Strong-Goeke, who accepted a role at the Missouri Department of Mental Health. McQuary was previously the Assistant Director of Testing.
Effective July 1, 2023, Judge Mary R. Russell assumed the role of Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court. She succeeds Judge Paul C. Wilson. Judge Russell’s term as Chief Justice runs through June 30, 2025.
The New Hampshire Office of Bar Admissions has a new address:
One Granite Place, Suite N400, Concord, NH 03301.
Associate Justice Curtis H. “Trey” Allen III is the new liaison to the Board of Law Examiners of the State of North Carolina. He replaces Associate Justice Philip Berger Jr. as the Board’s liaison.
Meredith Benoit is the new Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerk, a role she transitioned to after serving as Deputy General Counsel to the Court. Prior to coming to work at the Supreme Court, Benoit practiced as a litigation attorney at Locke Lord, LLP and before that clerked for several years for the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Benoit replaces Debra A. Saunders, who was recently sworn in as a Rhode Island District Court Associate Judge.
Arielle Adams is the new Regulatory Services Counsel for the Washington State Bar Association.
On March 31, Andreas Oranje, PhD, MBA, joined NCBE as Managing Director of Assessment Programs. Oranje will lead NCBE’s development and implementation of the next generation of the bar exam. Prior to joining NCBE, Oranje held several positions at Educational Testing Service (ETS), most recently serving as vice president of Assessment and Learning Technology Research and Development in ETS’s Research & Development division. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Educational Measurement and was program chair for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division D. He has presented at numerous conferences and has written extensively on large-scale assessment methodology, game-based assessment, and artificial intelligence in education. He holds a master’s degree and PhD in quantitative psychology from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as well as an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As Managing Director of Assessment Programs at NCBE, Oranje will provide critical policy direction and hands-on technical and operational oversight over the NextGen bar exam. He will closely collaborate with internal leadership and external constituents to develop and successfully launch the new exam in 2026 and share NCBE’s work and position on NextGen to the bar examining community at large. He will also oversee the test development of the MBE, MPT, MEE, and NextGen.
Marilyn Wellington, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer at NCBE, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from New England Law | Boston during its May 19, 2023, commencement ceremony. Wellington received her JD from New England Law | Boston in 1991.
Admissions to the Bar on Motion
The Spring 2022 and 2023 issues of the Bar Examiner included 2021 bar examination and admission statistics, which NCBE collects from the 56 US jurisdictions. Alabama has reported that their submitted number for 2021 admissions to the bar on motion was incorrect. Corrected information for Alabama and the updated overall total appears below.
|Totals of Jurisdictions||8,611|
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