The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) with an effective date in July 2017. Subject to forthcoming amendments to the Rules for Admission to the Practice of Law, which will be released for public comment, the Supreme Court adopted the recommendation of the West Virginia Board of Law Examiners that West Virginia adopt the uniform exam. Letters of support from the West Virginia State Bar Board of Governors, as well as from the dean of the West Virginia University College of Law were received and considered by the court in its adoption of the UBE.
West Virginia becomes the 23rd state to adopt the UBE. The court agreed with the board that the UBE be adopted under the following general terms in West Virginia: The West Virginia Board of Law Examiners will accept transferred UBE scores beginning July 1, 2017. Transferred UBE scores will be eligible for admission in West Virginia for no more than 36 months.
Applicants transferring UBE scores will be subject to the same educational requirements and character and fitness investigation as all other bar applicants, and will be required to prove that they have achieved a qualifying score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).
Erica Moeser, president and CEO of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), commended the Supreme Court’s decision. “We welcome West Virginia to the family of jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. I expect the UBE to be a good fit since West Virginia already uses the same test components in its bar exam,” she said.
West Virginia’s adoption of the UBE does not significantly alter the substance of the state’s bar examination. For years, the West Virginia Bar Examination has been composed of the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the same testing components which comprise the UBE.
Madeleine Nibert, the Supreme Court’s bar admissions administrator, noted that “West Virginia’s adoption of the UBE will provide greater flexibility to applicants, who may be able to avoid sitting for essentially the same examination in multiple states.” Applicants who take the UBE earn a portable score that can be used to apply for admission in other UBE states. Likewise, applicants with an acceptable score on the UBE from another state may apply for admission in West Virginia. Additional information about the UBE may be found on the NCBE’s website (ncbex.org).