Mich. R. Bd. Law Examiners 3

As amended through August 10, 2022
Rule 3 - Examination Administration
(A) The examination shall be the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) as prepared and defined by the NCBE and administered on dates and under regulations set by NCBE. The UBE consists of:
(1) The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and administered on dates and under regulations set by the Conference.
(2) The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)
(3) Two Multistate Performance Test items (MPT)
(B) The NCBE will grade the MBE. The Board or its agents will grade the MEE and the MPT, with the Board having final responsibility. The Board will adopt policies for grading that are consistent with the sound testing practices followed by all jurisdictions that administer the UBE. The policies shall include a provision for the NCBE to convert the raw scores on the written portion of an examination to the MBE scale by the methodology used for UBE jurisdictions. The Board will determine a method for selecting a passing score.
(C) To earn a portable UBE score that is transferable to other UBE jurisdictions, persons taking the UBE in Michigan shall sit for and take all components of the bar examination in a single administration.
(D) An applicant's raw bar examination score shall be provided to the NCBE to calculate scaled scores. Upon request by an applicant, the NCBE will certify and transfer the applicant's scaled score, scaled MBE score, and total UBE score to other UBE jurisdictions. The NCBE may also release to an applicant, upon request by the applicant, the applicant's scaled MBE score, scaled written score, and total UBE score.

Mich. R. Bd. Law Examiners 3

The Rules for the Board of Law Examiners were amended effective August 1, 2016; amended October 13, 2021, effective 3/1/2022; amended December 15, 2021, effective 8/1/2022.

Staff comment: The amendments implement a Uniform Bar Examination in Michigan with implementation set for the February 2023 administration of the bar examination. The original implementation target date was the July 2022 bar examination. However, that target date was predicated on two things: enactment of accompanying legislation and implementation of a Michigan law component in the examination itself. Neither of those things have occurred, thus, requiring a deferment in the implementation of the UBE in Michigan.

The staff comment is not an authoritative construction by the Court. In addition, adoption of an amendment in no way reflects a substantive determination by this Court.

CAVANAGH, J. (concurring). I concur in the Court's order adopting amendments to Rule 2, Rule 3, Rule 4, Rule 5, Rule 6, and Rule 7 and adding Rule 3a and Rule 4a to the Rules for the Board of Law Examiners. As a result, Michigan now joins the ranks of 38 other jurisdictions who utilize the Uniform Bar Examination. This change seeks to ensure a standard level of competency for lawyers across the country, allows for score portability, and makes the practice of law more accessible to law school graduates facing employment challenges and rising debt. I write to briefly address the concerns expressed by my dissenting colleague. First, while I appreciate the reservation in regard to whether the practical-skills-oriented Multistate Performance Test (MPT) portion of the Uniform Bar Examination is adequate to assess an applicant's ability to practice law in the real world, the same concerns are certainly present in any standardized test that operates under artificial time constraints. While not a perfect measure of competence, the MPT is the best tool we possess at present to gauge practical lawyering skills beyond the ability to memorize and apply principles of law. Second, I emphasize that today's rule change neither prohibits nor discourages the Board of Law Examiners (BLE) from adopting a Michigan-specific component to administer in addition to the Uniform Bar Examination. As Rule 3a provides, an applicant to the State Bar of Michigan will be required to take any Michigan law component required by the BLE in order to be admitted to practice in this state. In keeping with the concerns expressed by my colleague, I urge the BLE to ensure that the bar examination will continue to serve the interests of new attorneys as well as their future Michigan clientele.

BERNSTEIN, J. (dissenting). I do not support the implementation of the Uniform Bar Examination in Michigan for two reasons. First, although I understand the purpose behind a practical-skills-oriented performance test, I struggle to understand how testing those skills under the artificial time constraints set by a standardized test would allow the Board of Law Examiners to meaningfully assess an applicant's ability to practice. Second, it is yet unclear whether the Board of Law Examiners will adopt a Michigan-specific component to an otherwise multistate test. I strongly believe that the Michigan-specific essay component of our current bar examination promotes a comprehensive introduction to Michigan law. Any changes we make to the bar examination should keep in mind the best interests of both new attorneys and the public they will be serving; I believe both groups stand to lose if we fail to focus on Michigan law in the Michigan bar examination.