Daily Coronavirus Update: NY To Allow Transfer of Remote Bar Exam Scores

By Christian Nolan


Good afternoon Members,

The New York State Board of Law Examiners has announced today that they are making arrangements to allow candidates to transfer scores earned on the remote bar exam to be held on Oct. 5-6, 2020.

So far, the Board has entered into reciprocity agreements with the following jurisdictions: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.

“The Board will continue its efforts to secure reciprocity with other [Uniform Bar Exam] jurisdictions administering the remote exam, and will provide updates as additional information becomes available,” read the statement.

NYSBA President Scott M. Karson was pleased with the news.

“With the hardship and uncertainty already faced by this class, the New York State Bar Association applauds all efforts to make life easier for these graduates while still being sure that they demonstrate the competency to practice law,” said Karson.

According to the Board of Law Examiners, which operates under the auspices of the New York State Court of Appeals, the following candidates will be eligible to transfer a score earned on the remote exam in a reciprocal jurisdiction:

  • Any candidate who graduated from an ABA-approved law school with a J.D. degree and who has not previously sat for a bar exam in any U.S. jurisdiction.
  • Any foreign educated candidate who graduated from an ABA-approved law school with an LL.M. degree and who has not previously sat for a bar exam in any U.S. jurisdiction.
  • Any candidate who graduated in 2018 with a J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school and who sat for one prior administration of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) but who has not sat for more than one prior bar exam in any U.S. jurisdiction.
  • Any candidate who graduated in 2019 or later with a J.D. degree from an ABA approved law school and who previously took the UBE and failed no more than two times.

Transferred scores will not be accepted from candidates who do not meet one of the aforementioned criteria, according to the statement.

New York is one of 37 UBE jurisdictions that normally allow their scores to be transferred for admission within those jurisdictions without having to take another bar exam.

In June, the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) said it would administer an October online exam as a backup in case jurisdictions could not go forward with their in-person July and September exams.

The NCBE made it clear, however, that this online test would not be considered a Uniform Bar Exam and so the typical exam score transferability benefit between jurisdictions would not be offered. Also, each jurisdiction would be responsible for grading this online exam on their own.

Numerous other states, though, have already decided to establish reciprocity agreements with each other so that the October online scores can be transferred to these other jurisdictions, as would normally take place with a standard Uniform Bar Exam.

In late July, the New York State Court of Appeals announced that it would administer a one-time emergency remote bar exam on Oct. 5-6. The news came one week after New York canceled its rescheduled September bar exam to protect the health of thousands of law school graduates who planned to take the test in the midst of the pandemic. The exam is typically administered each July and February.

Emergency Task Force Survey

NYSBA’s Emergency Task Force for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners would like to know your experiences with virtual court and client interactions. Please complete the following short survey by August 28th.

COVID-19 Webinars

Friday, Aug. 21 – Grand Jury Presentations & Representing Clients In Grand Jury – NYSBA Trial Academy Virtual Conference.

Wednesday, Aug. 26 – Occupancy Limitation Update: Clarification From New York State Regarding Reopening.



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