Uniform Bar Exam (UBE):
A Game Changer for
Law School Graduates

Pieper Bar Review is gearing up for July’s Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in New York State. The family owned and operated business, regarded as the most prestigious New York Bar review program for more than four decades, is going national, and Morey Publishing, the parent company of the Long Island Press, is excited to help amplify its well-respected reputation to a wider audience.

Pieper Bar Review’s push comes as more and more states are replacing state-specific exams for the UBE. New York is among 20 other states, plus Washington, D.C., who have joined the UBE movement.

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Reasons abound as to why more states are finally moving in this direction.

Experts argue that state-specific exams are deterrents to economic progress, primarily because students who showed their aptitude in state bar exams but wanted to take up law in another state would have to sit down for an exam specific to that state. That means more time studying for another state-oriented exam and more money spent on a test, despite having already proved their mastery of the law.

When he announced last year that New York would replace the state bar exam with UBE, New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman noted that law school enrollment in the U.S. was at its lowest level since 1973. While there are various reasons as to why students gravitated to other professions other than law, experts indicated it might have to do with the lack of jobs for graduates.

According to Quartz, the unemployment rate for each graduating class from 2011 to 2013 increased from 9.2 percent to 11.2 percent.

A nationally administered UBE is not only desirable but necessary for the mobile, interconnected society in which we live.”

– Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge, State of New York

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Photo Credit: Court of Appeals State of New York

Law school enrollment is at its lowest level since 1973

Law school enrollment dipped 30 percent in the past four years among first-year students.

-Jonathan Lippman

Since Missouri and North Dakota became the first states to administer the UBE in February 2011, 18 other states, plus Washington, D.C., have joined them.

As for enrollment, Lippman said the number of law school enrollees declined by 30 percent over the past four years.

A more accepting job market is crucial in getting people employed but those jobs will also help graduates pay down significant student loan debt, which has risen each year from 2010 to 2014, according to Law School Transparency. For example, the average amount of public school debt from the class of 2010 was $77,364. In 2014, that number jumped considerably, to an average of $93,926. Graduates who attended private universities were saddled with even more debt.

“In addition to facilitating mobility in modern-day times, the UBE is also enormously beneficial in addressing some of the economic difficulties that new law graduates face today,” Lippman said in his brief. “Employment prospects for recent graduates are still grim, and more people are choosing to avoid the field of law altogether.”

Lippman and others top judges in states that have chosen to adopt the UBE believe the ubiquitous exam could not only encourage more people to seek law degrees, but also help graduates currently struggling to move their careers forward.

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Photo Credit: University of California, Irvine School of Law

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“The Uniform Bar Exam addresses so many of these issues for students who take the bar exam in one state, but find a job in another state,” Lippman said. “In the past, they had to study for, pay for, wait for, and take multiple bar exams with uncertain results. With New York’s adoption of the UBE, New York law graduates will no longer have to duplicate their efforts by taking the bar exam in multiple UBE jurisdictions.”

With more and more states jumping on board, it appears momentum is on UBE’s side. But before you obtain that long-sought license to practice, you have to pass the exam first.

Here are some study tips to help you along the process and Pieper Bar Review’s exclusive Question of the Day, which delivers a single UBE question to your inbox each day. Sign up and share your success with your friends!

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