Mich. R. Bd. Law Examiners 4a

As amended through August 10, 2022
Rule 4a - Admission by Transferred UBE Score
(A) An applicant may apply for admission to the practice of law in Michigan by filing an application to transfer a UBE score if all of the following apply:
(1) The applicant earned a UBE score that meets or exceeds the minimum score required by the Board of Law Examiners.
(2) The score that the individual elects to use was achieved on a uniform bar examination administered within the 3 years immediately preceding the uniform bar examination in this state for which the individual would otherwise sit.
(3) The applicant has taken the MPRE prepared and administered by the NCBE and earned the scaled score required by the Board.
(4) The applicant has met all requirements of these rules, including successful completion of any Michigan Law Component.
(B) An applicant who desires to be admitted as a member of the Michigan bar shall file with the Board of Law Examiners an Application for Admission to the Practice of Law by Transferred UBE Score. The application shall include the following:
(1) An affidavit stating that the applicant has studied the Michigan Court Rules, the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, and the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct.
(2) An application provided for use by the State Bar of Michigan Standing Committee on Character and Fitness for the purpose of conducting a character and fitness investigation of the applicant and the required fee;
(3) An application fee as prescribed by BLE Rule 6.
(C) An applicant under review shall have a continuing duty to update the information contained in the State Bar of Michigan Standing Committee on Character and Fitness application and to report promptly to the State Bar of Michigan Standing Committee on Character and Fitness all changes or additions to information in the application that occur prior to the applicant's admission to practice.
(D) An applicant under this section shall successfully complete any required Michigan Law Component within the time period required by the Board.
(E) An applicant under this section who has been approved for admission under this section shall be entitled to take the oath of office under Rule 15, section 3, of the Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan. An applicant under this section shall not engage in the practice of law in Michigan before approval and administration of the oath. An application under this section shall be considered withdrawn if the applicant does not take the oath of office within three years after being approved for admission to the practice of law in Michigan.

Mich. R. Bd. Law Examiners 4a

Adopted 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.