Jul 10, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

In less than two weeks, thousands of law school grads across the country will sit for the bar exam. Many of them will enjoy better career opportunities thanks to the increased adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), which allows test-takers to easily transfer their scores to reciprocal states. The good news? More states have adopted the UBE, with others soon to do so.

Here’s a closer look at the phenomenon, along with what it means for would be lawyers.

About the UBE

According to Above the Law, 33 jurisdictions use, have recently adopted, or are soon to adopt the UBE.

Explains Karen Sloan of Law.com of its benefits, “The Uniform Bar Exam has transformed over the past eight years from an idea to a major force changing the way lawyers get admitted to practice. Attorneys who take the test in a uniform bar exam jurisdiction may transfer that score to any other state that also uses the standard test, meaning they don’t have to retake the bar as long as they meet the incoming jurisdiction’s cut scores.”

The result? Law grads who take the UBE benefit from enhanced mobility and better job prospects. “Lawyers are more mobile than they once were. No longer do lawyers settle in one state and practice in that state until retirement. Multi-jurisdictional, or cross-border, practice is more common,” Tennessee Board of Law Examiners president Jeffrey Ward told The National Jurist regarding his state’s consideration of adopting the UBE.

After New York adopted the UBE in 2015, meanwhile, New York Chief Judge  Jonathan Lippman, heralded it for its potential to “enormously benefit law school graduates, the legal profession, and the public.”

Is the UBE in Your Future?

Currently, California and Florida are the two most significant holdouts on the UBE, and there’s no indication that either will adopt it anytime soon. Law grads everywhere else, though, have reason to hope.

“As for the rest of the country’s law students and recent graduates, fear not, because your state supreme courts have your best interests in mind, and will soon adopt the UBE if they haven’t already,” reveals Above the Law.

Looking for a few last-minute bar exam prep tips or trying to get ahead for next time? Don't miss our roundup of "5 Bar Exam Preparation Tips."




Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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