This article originally appeared in The Bar Examiner print edition, Winter 2023-2024 (Vol. 92, No. 4), pp. 34–35.

Rule Changes

Indiana

The Indiana Supreme Court amended its Rules for the Admission to the Bar and the Discipline of Attorneys, effective July 1, 2024, to allow non–American Bar Association–­accredited law school graduates to sit for the bar exam in Indiana. The amendments concern Rule 13, Educational Requirements for Admission by Examination.

A new section 4 of the rule details two instances where an applicant can have educational requirements waived by the Indiana Board of Law Examiners: (1) the applicant is a graduate of a non-ABA-approved law school and “was eligible upon graduation from that law school to take the bar examination of another state, and the Board finds is qualified by reason of education or experience to take the Indiana bar examination; or (2) [the applicant] has completed legal education in a jurisdiction outside the United States, has obtained a graduate degree from an ABA-approved law school in a program based on American law, and the Board finds is qualified by reason of education or experience to take the Indiana bar examination.”

Applicants seeking such a waiver must submit various materials and documentation as part of a request. The full text of the order is available at www.in.gov/courts/files/order-rules-2024-0701-admin.pdf.

New Mexico

Effective December 31, 2023, the New Mexico Supreme Court approved a rewritten and recompiled rule set for the New Mexico Rules Governing Admission. Some major highlights are:

  • UBE scores will now be accepted for up to five years, instead of three.
  • All MPRE scores of 80 or above are accepted, regardless of when earned.
  • Applications remain open and are deemed abandoned after 12 months, with provision for a 6-month extension.
  • Bar exam application periods are expanded to allow repeaters additional time to reapply for the exam after receiving an unsuccessful result. Open periods of when the Board will accept bar exam applications for specific exam periods are established.
  • Character and fitness processes and procedures were clarified.
  • All costs and fees were revised.
  • Admission by reciprocity now requires the active practice of law in the reciprocal jurisdiction, not just admission in the reciprocal jurisdiction plus a specified number of years of practice.
  • A new rule was established for in-house counsel applicants.
  • Limited License (government/public service attorney) application processes were revised and streamlined.

Ohio

Effective April 1, 2024, there will be no fingerprint requirement for bar exam applicants, only a photo ID requirement.

Pennsylvania

On December 27, 2023, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court lowered the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) minimum passing score from 272 to 270. The score change is effective with the February 2024 exam administration and applies to UBE score transfers as well. For administrations prior to February 2024, the minimum passing score remains 272.

Virginia

The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners will now accept a passing MPRE score (85 or greater) obtained any time before the applicant’s passing Virginia bar exam score expires. Passing Virginia bar exam scores expire 5 years from the date of the exam. Previously, passing MPRE scores were valid for 2 years.

People

Missouri

Effective January 1, 2024, Hon. Michael Gardner became the Chair of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners. Judge Gardner serves on the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals.

New Mexico

Judge Michael Aragon joined the New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners in August 2023, replacing Cindy Lovato Farmer. Judge Aragon is a District Court Judge in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He was appointed to the bench on June 11, 2021. Before becoming a judge, he practiced for over two decades throughout New Mexico, focusing primarily on criminal defense. 

Ben Sherman joined the board in January 2024, replacing Ari ­Biernoff. Sherman has been an attorney since 2008, practicing primarily in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation. Prior to joining the Board of Bar Examiners, he served as President for the State Bar of New Mexico.

Ohio

Michel Jendretzky has been named as the new Director of Attorney Services, taking over for Gina Palmer, who has a new role with the Ohio Supreme Court as Deputy Administrative Director – Legal Services. Jendretzky previously served as Legal Counsel for the Court. Before joining the Court, Jendretsky worked as a litigator in private practice.

Virginia

Board President Anita O. Poston of Norfolk will retire, effective April 30, 2024. Poston has served on the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners since 1990 and has been Board President since 2019. She is the first woman to serve on the Board. The Supreme Court of Virginia has appointed Cartwright R. Reilly of Virginia Beach, a partner at Williams Mullen, to fill the vacancy.

Fiscal Officer and Office Manager Julie O’Kelly retired on January 24, 2024, after 22 years of service to the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners. Sherri Pitts is now Fiscal Officer & Office Manager.

Wyoming

In an appointment effective March 27, 2024, Robert Jarosh was selected to fill the open seat on the Wyoming Supreme Court due to Justice Keith Kautz’s retirement.

NCBE News

Portrait Photo of John LeeJon J. Lee was appointed Distinguished Scholar in Residence at NCBE as of January 2, 2024. As part of his role, he will aid in development of the NextGen bar exam, set to debut in July 2026. Lee was part of the Content Scope Committee that developed the NextGen test content specifications, and he currently serves as a member of the new exam’s Item Set Drafting Committee and Tasks and Rubrics Advisory Committee.

Outside his service with NCBE, Lee is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law, specializing in the fields of intellectual property law and legal ethics. He previously spent time as faculty at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, the University of Minnesota Law School, and the University of North Carolina School of Law. In addition to his teaching and research commitments, Lee has held several positions with service-to-the-profession organizations.

Portrait Photo of Hon. Phyllis D. ThompsonThe Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) has recognized former NCBE Board of Trustees member Hon. Phyllis D. Thompson as part of its 2024 CLEO EDGE Awards. The awards highlight “excellence and achievement in the key pillars of Education, Diversity, and Greater Equality.” Thompson will receive the Diversity Award along the other awardees at a reception in Washington DC on April 11, 2024. 

 

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