Wyoming Adopts Uniform Bar Exam
CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Supreme Court is pleased to announce the adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) as the testing process to be used for admitting new lawyers to the practice of law in Wyoming. This decision was based on the recommendation of the Wyoming Board of Law Examiners, five experienced Wyoming lawyers who oversee the testing of new lawyers in Wyoming. After much study, Wyoming adopted testing practices that have been tested and proven to be scientifically reliable and statistically valid.
The Uniform Bar Exam consists of three major parts:
- The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) - This portion of the UBE test has been used in Wyoming for many years and is now used in every state except Louisiana.
- The Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) - Essay questions on major areas of the law.
- The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) - Requires prospective lawyers to complete practical application of the law on tasks associated with certain resource materials.
The UBE reflects the science and knowledge required for new lawyers in today’s legal and technology-driven world. All three portions of the UBE have been used in other states for many years. The UBE has been adopted in many Western states, including Colorado, Utah, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, Arizona, Nebraska, and Washington. A number of states are planning to adopt the UBE in the near future.
“The Court wanted to insure that Wyoming was setting the highest possible standards for admitting lawyers to practice in our great state,” said Marilyn S. Kite, Chief Justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court.
One of the many advantages of the UBE is “portable” scores. Recent law graduates often face an uncertain legal job market. Being able to transfer a score to another UBE jurisdiction provides more flexibility in pursuing career opportunities around the country.
“The public, applicants to the Wyoming bar, and Wyoming lawyers and judges, all expect the highest quality bar examination possible,” said Denise Burke, Executive Director of Bar Admissions.
Each of the UBE components (MBE, MEE and MPT) is drafted by teams of experts, including practicing lawyers, law professors, and judges. Each test item goes through multiple reviews.
Wyoming will continue to control its admission to practice law in the state by adhering to the following principles:
- Determining who may sit for the bar exam and who will be admitted to practice law.
- Setting the educational requirements for being admitted to the Wyoming Bar; all Bar applicants must have a law degree from a law school approved by the American Bar Association.
- The Wyoming Board of Law Examiners will continue to grade the written portions of the exam.
- Wyoming will determine its own minimum passing score. A passing score in another state does not mean a passing score in Wyoming.
- Wyoming will continue to make its own decisions regarding successful completion of the lawyer ethics exam, character and fitness considerations, testing accommodations, and out-of-state attorneys appearing in Wyoming courts.
- Wyoming will determine the time limit for transferring UBE scores. At the end of three years, the UBE score will no longer be transferrable.
- Use of the UBE and transferability of scores does not mean Wyoming has reciprocity agreements with other states. Applicants to the Wyoming Bar will be required to comply with Wyoming’s admission requirements in addition to producing a passing UBE score.
The Board of Law Examiners continues to recognize the need for Wyoming lawyers to have familiarity with special areas of Wyoming law. To that end, applicants will be required to complete a mandatory seminar on Wyoming-specific law within one year of admission to the Wyoming Bar. The Board of Law Examiners believes that the development of quality Wyoming Educational Component materials will assure that new Wyoming lawyers are knowledgeable about both well-known and more obscure aspects of Wyoming law.
For further information about the Uniform Bar Exam, please visit www.wyomingbar.org. For questions about exam or the rules and policies for admission to the Wyoming State Bar, please contact Denise Burke, Executive Director of Bar Admissions at DBurke@courts.state.wy.us.