Kaplan Bar Review Survey: 91 Percent of Law School Graduates Favor Adoption of Uniform Bar Examination, Citing Increased Employment Opportunities

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Press Contact: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
Twitter: @KapTestNews, @KaplanBarReview

New York, NY (December 8, 2016) — A new Kaplan Bar Review survey of 1,000 law school graduates from the class of 2016 finds a nearly unanimous judgment: 91 percent want every state to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination to license new attorneys.* This percentage represents a significant jump from when Kaplan first surveyed law school graduates on this issue in 2013, when 80 percent supported UBE adoption across the country. Kaplan’s findings come as three additional states — Illinois, Maine, and North Carolina — consider joining the 26 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE.

When asked why they support the adoption of the UBE, which is essentially a national licensing exam for would be practicing attorneys to practice law across multiple states without having to take multiple state-specific bar exams, 89% say because it provides more job portability; 38 percent say because the exam is easier to study for; but just 16 percent say because the exam’s content is easier.

“While the job market for new attorneys has improved significantly in recent years, it remains tight, and law school graduates recognize that the UBE offers greater portability and flexibility in terms of career opportunities. The UBE is not necessarily an easier exam than state-specific bar exams, but it may make the job search a bit easier,” said Tammi Rice, vice president and general manager, Kaplan Bar Review. “It’s important to note, however, that although more than 90 percent of recent graduates prefer universal adoption the UBE, half of the U.S. jurisdictions still don’t use this, including four of the five biggest states: California, Texas, Florida and Illinois. This may change, but given unique issues that states face, we believe many will hold onto their state-specific bar exams.”

Rice points out that adopting the Uniform Bar Examination has led to a boost in the overall exam passage rate for some states, but not others. Since adopting the UBE, the passage rate in both New York and DC jumped. In New Mexico however, the bar passage rate dropped. “There are a lot of variables for why a state’s bar passage rate may rise or fall after the UBE is adopted. In some states, the UBE is actually harder than the state-specfic bar exam was, but in some states it’s not as challenging. Law schools realize how important it is for their students to pass and many have made it a priority to make sure their students get the preparation they need to succeed, as many aspiring law students look at this statistic when deciding where to enroll. A school’s bar passage rate also weighs heavily into the rankings.”

The 26 U.S. jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

To schedule an interview with a legal education expert at Kaplan, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

*Kaplan Bar Review conducted the survey via email in August 2016. It includes responses from 1,000 law school graduates from the class of 2016.

About Kaplan Bar Review

Kaplan Bar Review (www.kaplanbarreview.com) provides full-service bar review programs in 51 jurisdictions (all 50 states and Washington, DC). Additionally, Kaplan Bar Review offers supplemental preparation for the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).