Michigan Lawyers Weekly Staff
BridgeTower Media Newswires
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed HB 5541 that provides for the Michigan Bar Examination to consist of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), bringing Michigan in line with 40 other jurisdictions. The result will be to strengthen the bar examination to test lawyering skills in a manner not currently tested, provide for the transferability of bar exam scores, and continue to provide necessary accommodations for test takers with disabilities.
“This is a major step forward for Michigan because the public is protected by ensuring that Michigan lawyers are appropriately prepared to practice law and serve their clients here and nationwide,” said Justice Brian K. Zahra, who serves as liaison to the Board of Law Examiners (BLE). “Another key benefit is that score portability will attract law school graduates to Michigan from other states.”
The UBE is a nationally administered bar examination that tests knowledge of general principles of law, legal and factual analysis, reasoning, and communication skills to determine readiness to enter legal practice in any jurisdiction. The UBE is prepared and defined by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and administered on dates and under regulations set by NCBE in conjunction with the Michigan BLE, which provides for consistency across jurisdictions. The BLE will grade the written portions of the exam and will determine the passing score. Every state that offers the UBE is afforded the opportunity to test for an understanding of jurisdiction-specific law. Applicants who take the UBE may transfer their scores to seek admission in other UBE jurisdictions.
Commencing with the first administration of the UBE in February 2023, the BLE will require all bar examinees and UBE transfer score applicants to successfully complete a Michigan Law Component prior to licensure in Michigan. The Michigan Law Component will require education on six general areas of law that new lawyers are most likely to encounter in their early years of practice. The course material will be provided online in six one-hour modules and successful applicants will be required to correctly answer questions both during and at the completion of each lesson. Applicants and interested parties are encouraged to visit the BLE website frequently for additional information.