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The New York Board of Law Examiners (BOLE) proposes adopting the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), substituting it for the current New York Bar Exam (NYBE). The BOLE proposal is currently under active consideration, and it is the subject of public hearings. This article examines some of the issues the proposal raises. First, we look at the history of the proposal, and at the differences between the UBE and the NYBE as it is currently administered. Then we look in detail at the proposal for New York: a combination of the UBE plus a stand-alone one-hour multiple-choice New York test. Finally, we pose some important questions: What are the possible effects of adopting the new tests? What will the effect be on bar-exam pass rates, and on practice readiness? What will the effect be on preparation of foreign-trained members of the bar? How will adoption of the UBE affect the way law school professors teach? Must professors choose between preparing students for the bar exam by teaching uniform rules and preparing them for practice in New York State by teaching New York law? Will the UBE affect the attractiveness of New York law schools?


A version of this article appeared in the New York State Bar Association Journal, February 2015, Vol. 87, No. 2, published by the New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207.

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87 N.Y. St. B.J. 32