R.I. Brd. Bar Exam. R. Prac. Admiss. Examin. 2

As amended through November 8, 2023
Rule 2 - RULE 1 APPLICANT - ADMISSION ON EXAMINATION
a.General. This Section sets forth the rules governing admission to practice law in Rhode Island on examination pursuant to Article II, Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules. Except for those individuals who meet the limited exceptions set forth in Article II, Rule 1B and 2(b) (e), all persons seeking admission to the Rhode Island bar shall be required to apply for, sit, and pass the Rhode Island Bar Examination as administered by the Board.
b.Petition for Admission to the Rhode Island Bar. Every person applying for admission to the Rhode Island Bar upon examination under Article II, Rule 1 shall electronically file, under oath, with the Supreme Court the Petition for Admission to the Rhode Island Bar available on the Rhode Island Supreme Court Attorney Portal (the "RISCAP") and shall satisfy the Board that he/she has met all requirements set forth in Rule 1 and as further set forth herein.
i.Prerequisites for Article II, Rule 1 Applicants. Petitions received from persons who have not first met the following requirements shall be rejected:
1) The applicant shall meet the requirements set forth in Article II, Rule 1(a), (b), (c) and (d) of the Supreme Court Rules:
(a)Citizenship. All applicants shall be citizens of the United States or legal residents, of good character.
(b)Age. All applicants shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age.
(c)Law Study. All applicants shall have graduated and received a law degree from a law school accredited and approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and approved by the Board. By submitting an application, the applicant attests to the fact that he/she has graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from an ABA accredited and approved law school.
(d)Past Bar Examination Results. Past Bar Examination Results. No person who has failed five (5) or more bar examinations, whether in Rhode Island or in any combination of states, districts, and territories of the United States, will be permitted to take the Rhode Island Bar Examination, and no special order excepting any such person from this five (5) examination limit will be granted by the Court. Failure to achieve the minimum passing score required by the rules in place at the time of the administration of the Uniform Bar Examination ("UBE") in any jurisdiction constitutes a failed bar examination for purposes of this rule.
2) Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. All prospective applicants shall be required to have achieved a scaled score of not less than 80 on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination ("MPRE") within the five (5) years prior to the application deadline for the Rhode Island Bar Examination. Scores achieved on a MPRE taken more than five (5) years prior to the application deadline shall not be accepted. Applicants shall have their official MPRE Score Report forwarded to the Clerk on or before filing a Petition for Admission to the Rhode Island Bar except that scores from the November MPRE may be forwarded to the Clerk after the filing of a Petition to take the February bar examination. Applicants submitting an MPRE score from the November MPRE must achieve a passing score on the November MPRE in order to sit for the February bar examination and no waiver of this requirement will be entertained by the Board. MPRE scores shall be forwarded to the Clerk directly by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (the "NCBE") and not the applicant.

For applicants who have deferred application from a previous bar examination or who are applying to retake the bar examination pursuant to Practice Rule 2(f), the application deadline for the respective examination shall be used to determine the continued validity of MPRE scores.

3)All prerequisites for admission must be satisfied as of the application deadline, must be satisfied throughout the pendency of a Petition for Admission, and must be satisfied as of the applicable application deadline for the next examination if an applicant has deferred his/her Petition or is retaking the examination.
ii.Petition. The Petition/for Admission to the Rhode Island Bar shall include all filing fees and supporting documents required therewith (collectively, the "petition").

Petitions to sit for the February bar examination shall be filed between October 1 and December 1 of the next preceding year. Petitions to sit for the July bar examination shall be filed between March 1 and May 1 of the year in which the applicant seeks to take the examination.

Petition filing deadlines are strictly enforced. The filing-deadline for applicants retaking the bar examination pursuant to Practice Rule 2(f) may be extended by the Board if necessary due to the results release date of the prior examination. Petitions must be filed by 11:59 pm on the date of the filing deadlines to be deemed timely.

iii.Petition, Fees, and Supporting Documents. No Petition shall be accepted unless (1) it includes a completed Petition, (2) all required supporting documentation, (3) all required fees paid in full, and (4) it includes any and all testing accommodation request forms and supporting documentation as set forth in in subsections v and (vi) below. Credit reports must be obtained from one of the three major national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and must be obtained within thirty (30) days of submission of the Petition to be deemed current.

Receipt of forms from third parties after the relevant filing deadline shall not affect the timeliness of a Petition. It shall be the burden of the applicant to ensure that all forms from third parties are filed prior to the applicant's personal interview with a member of the Committee on Character and Fitness.

Petitions with incomplete or missing forms or documentation, outstanding fees, and/or insufficient evidence that all prerequisites have been met, may be rejected at any time.

All fees are nonrefundable.

iv.Procedure for Review of Petitions. Petitions that (1) include all completed forms and documentation, (2) have no outstanding fees, and (3) show on their face that the applicant has met all prerequisites shall be forwarded to the Committee on Character and Fitness for review in accordance with Article II, Rule 3 of the Supreme Court Rules.
v.Special Testing Accommodations. The Rhode Island Bar Examination shall be administered to all candidates in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended. A qualified applicant with a disability who is otherwise eligible to take the b ar examination, but who cannot demonstrate under standard testing conditions that he/she possesses the knowledge and skills to be admitted to the Rhode Island bar, may request reasonable test accommodations when applying for admission.
1)Request Form. For any request for test accommodations to be considered, an applicant must submit a complete and signed Form 1: Applicant Request for Test Accommodations, together with all applicable forms and required documentation specified in the Applicant Checklist in Section V of Form 1, with his/her Petitions. Prospective Applicants shall submit a complete and timely request for test accommodations as set forth in the General Instructions for Requesting Test Accommodations.

Applicants shall use the testing accommodation request forms available on the Admission to the Rhode Island Bar section of the Judiciary website (www.courts.ri.gov).

2)Review Process. All requests for test accommodations will be evaluated by one (1) or more independent qualified medical professionals and/or the Supreme Court Office of General Counsel. The evaluations shall be based solely on the documentation submitted by the applicant. The Board may, following the evaluations, request additional documentation from the applicant. Failure to provide documentation may be grounds for denial of an applicant's request for test accommodations.

Upon receipt of the request for testing accommodation(s), and after the evaluation, the Board shall determine whether the request for testing accommodation(s) has been substantiated. If the Board determines the request has been substantiated, the request shall be granted and the appropriate accommodations shall be provided to the applicant.

Any applicant who was granted special testing accommodations by the Board for a previous examination but then defers to the next examination, and who has had no material change to his/her condition, need only file Form 1 by the Petitions deadline for the next examination. Any applicant retaking the bar examination who was granted special testing accommodations by the Board for a previous examination, and who has had no material change to his/her condition, need only file Form 1 by the applicable Petitions deadline. Any applicant who has had a material change to his/her condition and who has deferred to the next examination or who is retaking the examination shall submit the necessary forms by the applicable Petitions deadline. The updated request for test accommodations shall be submitted to the independent evaluators and/or General Counsel and to the Board for further consideration.

vi.Administrative Nonstandard Testing Accommodations. An applicant who is otherwise eligible to take the bar examination, but who does not qualify for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended, may request administrative nonstandard test accommodations when applying for admission. Examples of nonstandard test accommodations are: the ability to wear a wrist guard or brace as a result of an injury that may not qualify as a disability under the ADA; the ability to pump breast milk during the bar examination; and/or permission to take certain medications during the bar examination for conditions that do not rise to the level of a disability under the ADA.
1)Request Form. For any request for administrative nonstandard test accommodations to be considered, an applicant must submit a complete and signed Form 8: Applicant Request for Administrative Nonstandard Test Accommodations, together with all required documentation, with his/her Petitions. Applicants applicants shall submit a complete and timely request for administrative nonstandard test accommodations as set forth in the General Instructions for Requesting Administrative Nonstandard Test Accommodations. An applicant who has submitted a complete and timely request for administrative nonstandard accommodations, but whose needs have changed since the submission of the timely request, must submit an updated request, using Form 8, but such updated request must be filed at least thirty (30) days prior to the first day of the applicable examination. Emergency requests for administrative nonstandard accommodations will be considered on a case by case basis.

Applicants shall use the testing accommodation request forms available on the Admission to the Rhode Island Bar section of the Judiciary website (www.courts.ri.gov).

2)Review Process. Requests for administrative nonstandard test accommodations may be evaluated by one (1) or more qualified medical professionals and/or the Supreme Court Office of General Counsel. The evaluations shall be based solely on the documentation submitted by the applicant. The Board may, following the evaluations, request additional documentation from the applicant. Failure to provide documentation may be grounds for denial of an applicant's request for administrative nonstandard test accommodations.

Upon receipt of the request of after the independent evaluations, the Board shall determine whether the request for administrative nonstandard testing accommodation(s) has been substantiated. If the Board determines the request has been substantiated, the request shall be granted and the appropriate administrative nonstandard accommodations shall be provided to the applicant.

Any applicant retaking the bar examination who was granted administrative nonstandard testing accommodations by the Board for a previous examination, and who seeks administrative nonstandard testing accommodations from the Board for any subsequent examination, must submit a new request for each examination taken, and must do so by the applicable Petitions deadline.

Any applicant who has requested and/or been granted administrative nonstandard testing accommodations by the Board for an examination, but who then defers to a subsequent examination, must submit a new request for each exam taken by the applicable Petitions deadline.

vii.Duty to Update Petitions. Applicants have an ongoing duty to update their Petition to ensure that all of the information included therein is current, complete, and accurate at all times. Updated information must be reported to and filed within ten (10) days of any such changes by submitting on RISCAP a fully executed Amendment to Petition for Admission to the Rhode Island Bar. The applicant's duty to update his/her Petitions remains until he/she has taken the Oath of Attorney in Rhode Island and has registered as a member of the Rhode Island Bar, or until the Petitions has been closed. Any failure to update may result in the closing of the applicant's Petitions and/or denial of admission to the Rhode Island Bar.
viii.Deferral of Petitions. At any time prior to one (1) week before his/her scheduled examination, an applicant may defer to the next scheduled examination by filing on RISCAP a Request to Defer to the Next Bar Examination together with the required deferral fee. Each subsequent deferral requires filing on RISCAP a Request to Defer to the Next Bar Examination along with payment of the required deferral fee. Requests to defer within one (1) week of a scheduled examination may be granted by the Board upon a showing of good cause.

The Board reserves the right to defer any applicant to the next scheduled bar examination, at no cost to the applicant, if the Board reasonably determines, in its discretion and based on pertinent information, that allowing the applicant to sit for his/her scheduled examination may (1) disrupt or adversely affect the examination process in any way, (2) disrupt or adversely affect one (1) or more examinees at the scheduled examination, and/or (3) violate any judgment, order and/or decree of any court of law or government board or agency, whether formal or informal, pending or closed.

ix.Withdrawal of Petitions. At any time prior to one (1) week before his/her scheduled examination, an applicant may withdraw from his/her scheduled examination by filing on RISCAP a Request to Withdraw Petition for Admission to the Rhode Island Bar. Upon receipt, the applicant's Petitions shall be closed. Petition who have withdrawn their Petitions must submit a new Petitions in order to sit for a future bar examination. Requests to withdraw within one (1) week of a scheduled examination may be granted by the Board upon a showing of good cause.
c.Character and Fitness Assessment. The Board shall recommend for admission to the Rhode Island Bar only those Petition who are qualified and who have both passed the bar examination and been recommended by the Committee on Character and Fitness for admission to the Rhode Island Bar. The Board may postpone making such recommendation for any applicant whose character investigation is incomplete or requires further review.
d.Examination. Pursuant to Article II, Rule 6(b), the Board shall examine Petition for admission to the Rhode Island Bar as to their knowledge of law. The examination shall test an applicant's ability to reason logically, analyze problems correctly, and show a thorough knowledge of the basic principles of law and their relationship to specific fact situations.
i.Time and Administration of Examination. The Board shall administer the Rhode Island Bar Examination semiannually, with each examination being conducted on two (2) consecutive days. Examinations are generally held on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and the last Tuesday and Wednesday of July; the Board shall determine the time and location of each examination.
ii.Structure and Content. As of September 7, 2018, the Rhode Island Bar Examination is the UBE prepared by the NCBE which consists of three (3) parts:
(1) the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) administered on the first examination day;
(2) the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) administered on the first examination day; and
(3) the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), administered on the second examination day. Applicants should contact the NCBE for additional information about the content and the areas tested on the UBE.

The MEE shall be answered based upon general legal principles.

iii.Laptop Use. All Petition are permitted to use their personal laptop for the essay portion of the examination administered on the first examination day (Tuesday). Laptop users must successfully upload all answers by 11:00 p.m. on the second examination day (Wednesday). Failure to upload answers by the upload deadline shall constitute an automatic fail of the examination, except for good cause shown. The Board does not warrant or guarantee the software program used by Petition and is not responsible for any disruptions, losses, interruptions or any other problems related to an applicant's usage of the software program.
iv.Grading. Each applicant will be assigned a unique five-digit number by the Bar Administrator after his/her Petitions is approved to take the examination. The number shall be used by the Board to identify the applicant's answers to the examination during the grading process, and the information connecting the identity of an applicant with an applicant's number shall not be provided to any member of the Board until it meets to approve the examination results.
1)Multistate Bar Examination. The MBE portion of the examination shall be graded by the NCBE on a scaled scoring system with scores ranging from 0 to 200.
2)Multistate Performance Test and Essays. Answers to the MPT and MEE shall be graded by members of the Board on a scaled scoring system with raw scores ranging from zero (0) to six (6), with six (6) being the highest possible raw score per response. Petition will receive a score of zero (0) for any unanswered question or if the applicant's response is irrelevant to and/or fails to address the question asked.
3)Total Score. Raw scores earned on the MPT and MEE portions of the examination are combined and scaled to the MBE to calculate a written scaled score. The written scaled score and the MBE scaled score shall be combined to determine the total score. The UBE scores as certified by the NCBE are final.
v.Passing Score. A total score of 270 shall be the minimum passing score required of each Rule 1 applicant to pass the Rhode Island Bar Examination. Rule 1 Petition who receive a total score lower than 270 fail the examination. The Board will not entertain waivers of the minimum passing score.
vi.Failure to Appear. The failure to appear for a scheduled examination without first deferring to the next scheduled examination pursuant to Practice Rule 2(b)(viii) or without first withdrawing the Petitions pursuant to Practice Rule 2(b)(ix), shall constitute an automatic fail of the examination, except for good cause shown. Any failed examination pursuant to this rule shall count as a past bar examination result pursuant to Article II, Rule 1(d) and Practice Rule 2(b)(i)(1)(d).
e.Examination Results.
i.Posting of Results. The Board shall promptly post the results at such place(s) and by such means as it may determine, and the names of all Petition who received passing scores shall be made public.
ii.Notification to Petition. The Board shall notify each applicant of his/her results on the bar examination by such means as it may determine.
iii.Passed Exams and Admission to the Rhode Island Bar. An applicant who is qualified for admission and passes the bar examination and who has been recommended by the Committee for admission to practice law in Rhode Island shall be recommended by the Board to the Court for admission to the Rhode Island Bar. A recommended applicant is not a member of the Rhode Island Bar and is not entitled to practice law in Rhode Island unless and until he/she has been sworn-in before the Court and registered with the Court as follows:
1)Swearing-in. A recommended applicant shall have one (1) year from the date that his/her examination results are released to take the Oath of Attorney in Rhode Island administered by a Justice of the Court.
2)Attorney Registration. Pursuant to Article IV, Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules (Periodic Registration of Attorneys), an applicant must register with the Court within three (3) months of the date the applicant was sworn-in.

The Petitions of any recommended applicant who has failed to be sworn-in and/or registered within the required periods set forth above shall be closed and the examination scores shall be void, except for good cause shown. The applicant may thereafter reapply for admission to the Rhode Island bar consistent with the Supreme Court Rules and these Rules of Practice.

Any recommended applicant seeking admission to the Rhode Island bar that has failed to be sworn-in and/or registered within the required time periods set forth above may petition the Court for admission. In a petition filed with the Court seeking admission out of time, the applicant shall give sufficient reason why he/she was not sworn-in and/or registered within the required time periods. The petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit setting forth the facts to support the petition and shall include a statement of the applicant whether the information included in each section of the Petition remains current. If the information in the Petition is not current, the applicant shall submit with the Petition a fully executed Amendment Form updating all outdated information in the Petition. Any petition filed pursuant to this Rule of Practice seeking admission out of time will be granted by the Court only upon a finding of good cause.

iv.Failed Examinations. An applicant who fails an examination may file a request, in writing, with the Clerk for a meeting with up to two (2) members of the Board to review his/her examination answers, provided that any such review shall be limited to review of only those answers on which the applicant received a raw score of two (2) or below. Review of examination answers shall be for informational purposes only; all examination scores are final. All such requests shall be made within fifteen (15) days from the date that an applicant's results are released by the Board. If the request for such a meeting is granted, the applicant shall make himself/herself available to meet with Board member(s) as soon as practicable and as requested by the Board members.
f.Retaking the Bar Examination. An applicant who fails an examination may apply the next scheduled bar examination by submitting by the applicable filing deadline Petition to Reapply for Admission to the Rhode Island Bar. Upon the filing of such a petition, the applicant must satisfy all prerequisites for admission contained in the Supreme Court Rules and these Rules of Practice.
g.Failure to Satisfy Requirements for Admission. The examination results of any applicant who is later determined not to have met the requirements of the Court Rules or these Rules of Practice are void.

R.I. Brd. Bar Exam. R. Prac. Admiss. Examin. 2

Amended effective 3/5/2019; amended effective (with the administration of the February 2021 bar examination) 2/1/2021.