This article originally appeared in The Bar Examiner print edition, Summer/Fall 2021 (Vol. 90, Nos. 2-3), pp. 51–58.
The Colorado Supreme Court recently enacted several changes to its Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law in Colorado, effective July 1, 2021:
- Colorado eliminated jurisdictional reciprocity for admission on motion for attorneys who have been engaged in the authorized active practice of law for three of the preceding five years from the date of application, if they hold a JD from an ABA-accredited law school, and if they have been admitted to another US jurisdiction by bar examination.
- Attorneys who have not been admitted in another US jurisdiction by bar examination are not eligible for admission on motion.
- Foreign-educated applicants who meet the requirements to take the bar exam in Colorado may apply for admission via UBE score transfer.
- Validity of the MPRE score for exam applicants is now five years from the date of application.
- Validity of the MPRE score for UBE score transfer applicants is now five years from the date of application if they are admitted in another US jurisdiction, but remains two years from the date of application if they are not admitted in another US jurisdiction.
- Validity of the MPRE score is five years for on motion applicants, but if the applicant has been engaged in the authorized active practice of law for 15 years or more in another US jurisdiction with no public discipline and previously took the MPRE for admission in another US jurisdiction, then the MPRE requirement is waived.
- The office may request the issuance of a subpoena for use in obtaining information relevant to character and fitness.
The Michigan Supreme Court entered an order on October 13, 2021, adopting the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). The first administration of the UBE in Michigan will be July 2022. The date on which Michigan will begin accepting transferred UBE scores has not yet been determined.
On July 7, 2021, the Oregon Supreme Court lowered the minimum passing score for the Oregon Bar Examination from 274 to 270, effective with the July 2021 exam.
Rule 16 of the Rules of Admission to the Bar of the Vermont Supreme Court, which covers requirements and investigation for character and fitness review, has been amended to incorporate essential eligibility requirements, effective July 5, 2021.
Jessica Crawley, Senior Character and Fitness Investigator for the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Admissions, has been promoted to Admissions Administrator. Crawley will continue to assist with the character and fitness process but will now also assist with the oversight of the Admissions Office, including significant involvement with administering the bar exam.
District of Columbia
Ileah Welch has joined the DC Committee on Admissions as Staff Attorney.
Effective June 1, 2021, John Earles is the new Director of the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions. Earles has worked with the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions as Staff Counsel since August 2020; prior to that, he was a senior staff attorney for the Supreme Court of Georgia for 10 years. Kevin Wilson has taken Earles’s place as Staff Counsel. Wilson was previously the staff attorney for Chief Justice Harold Melton, who retired from the Georgia Supreme Court in July 2021.
Adwoa Ghartey-Tagoe Seymour and Benjamin Hames are new members of the Georgia Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants. Seymour is Assistant General Counsel at Cox Enterprises. Hames is the president of a private wealth management firm in Atlanta.
Elizabeth Zack is the new Chief Supreme Court Clerk and Secretary for the Hawaii Board of Bar Examiners. She replaces Rochelle R. T. Kaui. Zack was previously the supervising staff attorney of the Hawaii Supreme Court and for many years has assisted the Hawaii Board of Bar Examiners and the staff in administering the bar exam.
Judge Joseph M. Getty is the new chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, effective September 11, 2021. He replaces Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, who has retired after serving as chief judge since 2013.
Justice Thomas G. Saylor stepped down as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in April 2020, after having served as Chief Justice since January 2015. He will remain on the Court until December 2021, when he will retire from 23 years of service on the Court. The new Chief Justice is Max Baer.
Larry VonWald retired from the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners in March 2021. The South Dakota Supreme Court appointed Cassidy M. Stalley to replace him. Stalley is an attorney in private practice with Lynn, Jackson, Shultz & Lebrun PC in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Jean McElroy, Chief Regulatory Counsel and Director of Regulatory Services for the Washington State Bar Association, retired in September 2020. The new Chief Regulatory Counsel is Renata Garcia.
Board of Trustees
Suzanne K. Richards is the new chair of NCBE’s Board of Trustees. Richards has served on the Board since 2013 and is a retired partner of the law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, based in Columbus, Ohio. She served for 30 years as a member of the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness of the Supreme Court of Ohio, including several terms as its chair.
Hon. Scott Bales and Hon. Solomon Oliver, Jr., are the newest members of NCBE’s Board of Trustees, both having joined the Board in August 2021.
Justice Bales served on the Arizona Supreme Court from 2005 to 2019, including as its Chief Justice from 2014 to 2019. He then served as the executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) through July 2020, and as chair of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar from 2020 to 2021.
Judge Oliver is a judge on the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, to which he was appointed in 1994, and on which he served as the court’s Chief Judge from 2010 to 2017. He served as chair of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar from 2013 to 2014. Judge Oliver is the 2018 recipient of the Robert J. Kutak Award, which is presented by the ABA Section to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to the collaboration of the legal academy, the bench, and the bar.
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