Notice of public hearings and request for public comment on the Uniform Bar Examination
The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) is a multistate bar examination prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which has been adopted in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Administered over two days, the UBE consists of: (a) the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) - a 200- question multiple-choice test; (b) the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) - six essay questions on general principles of law; and (c) the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) - two hypothetical legal assignments requiring examinees to complete the tasks in writing. Persons who take the UBE receive a portable score, which, if high enough, will be accepted by any UBE jurisdiction as a passing score on its bar exam for a specific time period.
The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar (the Board) has proposed to the Illinois Supreme Court that the UBE be adopted as the bar examination for the State of Illinois. In making this proposal, the Board considered three primary factors: (1) the Board’s belief that the UBE is a high quality examination demonstrated by the fact that Illinois has utilized all of the UBE components - MBE, MEE and MPT - as parts of the Illinois Bar Examination (IBE) for the past 19 years; (2) the growing acceptance of the UBE throughout the country, which is establishing the UBE as the standard bar examination in the United States; and (3) the time-saving and cost-saving benefits to law school graduates that derive from having portable bar exam scores. Finally, the Board recognized that the IBE and UBE are already seven-eighths identical in content and that the changeover from the IBE to the UBE would be relatively easy, i.e., replacing the three essay questions on Illinois law with a second MPT question.
After a preliminary consideration of the Board’s proposal, the Illinois Supreme Court has authorized the Board to gather input from the Illinois legal community as to the advisability of adopting the UBE. The Board will therefore be holding three public hearings on the UBE in Springfield, Carbondale, and Chicago as follows:
Springfield - Friday, November 4, 2016, 1:00 p.m. Illinois State Library, Rooms 403/404 300 South Second Street Springfield, IL 62701
Carbondale - Monday, November 14, 2016, 1:00 p.m. Southern Illinois University School of Law Auditorium 1150 Douglas Drive Carbondale, IL 62901
Chicago - Friday, November 18, 2016, 2:00 p.m. Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro 733 West Madison Street Chicago, IL 60661
The purposes of the public hearings are: (1) to provide information on the UBE to persons in attendance; (2) to receive the comments of individuals, organizations, and entities interested in voicing their opinions on whether the UBE should be adopted; and (3) to answer UBE-related questions that may be posed. Persons wishing to submit testimony in person or in writing at one of these hearings must contact the Board no later than five (5) days preceding the hearing at which the testimony is to be presented by emailing or calling Regina Peterson at RKPeterson@ILBarAdmissions.org, (217) 522-6445. Oral testimony will be limited to three (3) minutes in length. Written testimony will be incorporated into the hearing record.
The Illinois Supreme Court has also authorized the Board to solicit written public comment on the proposal to adopt the UBE. To that end, the Board invites written public comment to be submitted in one of three ways:
Mail: UBE Public Comment, Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar, 625 South College Street, Springfield, IL 62704
Fax: UBE Public Comment (217) 522-9327
Public comment will close on Monday, December 5, 2016.
After the close of the public comment period, the Board will review and analyze the submitted comments along with the testimony from the public hearings and incorporate these materials in preparing a final recommendation to the Illinois Supreme Court on whether to adopt the UBE in Illinois.