UPDATE (7/9/2020) July Bar Examination
Today, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Missouri Betsy AuBuchon issued the following statement:
The Uniform Bar Examination is scheduled to be administered in Missouri on July 28 and 29. To safeguard the health of examinees, staff, and proctors, the Missouri Board of Law Examiners is implementing the precautionary measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the pandemic. Those measures include additional venues to reduce the number of applicants at each testing site, requiring all attendees wear face masks and maintain adequate social distancing, and responding to requests for accommodations from eligible examinees with compromised immune systems. The Supreme Court of Missouri’s order dated April 28, 2020, allowed examinees to delay taking the exam with no postponement fee and extended the temporary certification period under Rule 13 so recent graduates could continue to practice in limited subject matters under close supervision.
In taking these steps, the Court and the Board have sought to balance the needs of this year’s law school graduates with the ongoing obligation to protect the public and the integrity of the profession through oversight of the profession and its practitioners. The Uniform Bar Exam plays a critical role in that process by ensuring those who are newly licensed have demonstrated they possess the minimal knowledge and skills to perform activities typically required of those entering this profession. The Court and the Board have evaluated various alternatives instead of, or in addition to, the Bar Exam. These include, but have not been limited to, implementing a system of provisional licensure that would allow recent graduates to practice under supervision of a member of the bar but without prior examination. In the end, however, the Court has concluded none of these alternatives adequately ensures the core function of licensure, which is to protect the integrity of the profession and the public from those who have not demonstrated minimum competency to practice law. Even though the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges to this core responsibility of the Court and the Board, as well as unprecedented burdens on those taking the Bar Exam, the Court has determined the process set out in the April 28, 2020, order best balances that long-term responsibility and these short‑term burdens.
UPDATE (6/5/2020) COVID-19 Precautionary Measures for the July 2020 Bar Examination
As announced in late April, the Missouri Board of Law Examiners ("board") is proceeding with plans to administer the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) in July 2020. The board understands the significant stress and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect the health, safety and welfare of all persons attending the July 2020 bar examination, the board will take precautionary measures consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The board has also secured an additional testing venue to accommodate social distancing during the examination. July 2020 examinees will be notified of their assigned testing site by July 7, 2020.
The final deadline to apply for the July 2020 examination was June 1. Pursuant to the Supreme Court of Missouri Order of April 28, 2020, the board accepted applications on or after April 30 based on the priority criteria designated in the order. The board received 774 applications. Non-priority applicants filing on or after April 30 were provided the option to receive a refund of the application fee or to carry forward the fee to February 2021. Based on current official health directives, the board is not imposing further limits on the number of examinees allowed to sit for the exam and plans to provide a seat for all eligible applicants who submitted a properly filed application by the June 1 deadline.
As announced in late April, in the event the bar examination cannot be administered in July, the board will reschedule the examination for September 9-10, 2020. Further, Regulation 3 of Rule 8.07 has been modified temporarily to permit July 2020 exam applicants to postpone taking the examination and to carry forward the application fee to the scheduled examination in February 2021, without requiring payment of a postponement fee. To be eligible for the fee waiver, applicants must submit written notice of postponement to the board on or before June 15, 2020.
Given the unprecedented circumstances created by the pandemic, the board appreciates NCBE providing an emergency remote option in the event it is not possible to administer an in-person exam this summer or fall. Absent a change in circumstances, the board will administer an in-person exam, with appropriate health safety measures, to provide applicants an opportunity to earn a portable score and to ensure the most reliable assessment of minimum competency.
Please review the Court's Order and frequently asked questions (updated).
UPDATE (4/28/2020) Information about Bar Admissions and COVID-19
In furtherance of ongoing efforts to mitigate the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued an order April 28, 2020, temporarily modifying Rule 8 related to administering the July 2020 exam and Rule 13 related to law student certifications. At this time, the Missouri bar exam is proceeding as scheduled on July 28 and 29, and the final application deadline remains June 1, 2020. In the event the bar exam cannot be administered in July, the exam will be held on September 9-10, 2020.
Any properly filed applicant for the July 2020 exam may postpone and carry forward the application fee to the February 2021 exam, and the postponement fee will be waived. To be eligible for the fee waiver, applicants must notify the Missouri Board of Law Examiners (board) in writing on or before June 15, 2020, of their intent to postpone taking the exam to February 2021.
For law students with active Rule 13 certifications who apply for the July 2020 bar exam and choose to postpone taking the exam until February 2021, their certification will remain in effect until after the results for the February 2021 bar exam are released. For students who pass that exam, the certification shall continue in effect until the date they are admitted to the bar. Certifications for students taking a bar exam held either in July or on the alternative 2020 date will remain in effect until the announcement of the results for that exam, and for students who pass that exam shall continue in effect until the date they are admitted to the bar. Information about how to obtain a Rule 13 certification, is available at Rule 13.
Pursuant to the authority provided in the Court’s order, the board is limiting the number of July 2020 exam applications that will be accepted for filing, effective April 30. The Board will accept no more than 760 applications, and if the maximum number is reached prior to the June 1 application deadline, the registration period for the July 2020 exam will be closed. At this time, the July 2020 exam registration period is open and the deadline remains June 1. Applications properly filed on or after April 30 will be accepted in the order received, up to the maximum number, with priority afforded equally to Missouri residents, graduates of ABA-approved law schools located in Missouri or a contiguous state, licensed attorneys for an employer located in Missouri, and recipients of an offer of employment as a licensed attorney for an employer located in Missouri. No application to retake the exam will be accepted for filing on or after April 30 if the applicant has sat for four or more prior administrations of the Missouri bar exam.
The board has secured additional testing venues to increase seating capacity in the event social distancing and mass gathering restrictions require modification to the July test administration. The board will post a notice on its website regarding the additional testing venues and notify individual examinees prior to the exam where they will be testing.
The Court’s order also provides the board authority to further limit the number of examinees ultimately allowed to sit for the exam if official national, state, or local orders in effect as of June 15, 2020, prevent administering the test to all applicants. The board anticipates making a decision on or about June 15 if limits on test takers must be imposed because of restrictions on gathering sizes and posting a notice on its website. Per the Court’s order, applicants will be approved for testing based on the order in which their properly filed applications were received, with priority afforded equally to Missouri residents, graduates of ABA-approved law schools located in Missouri or a contiguous state, licensed attorneys for an employer located in Missouri, and recipients of an offer of employment as a licensed attorney for an employer located in Missouri. If limits on test takers are imposed, applicants who have sat for four or more prior administrations of the Missouri bar exam will not be allowed to test. Postponement fees will be waived for applicants who are not allowed to test because of limits imposed on the number of examinees.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Court’s order also implements health directives for the day of testing, consistent with guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
UPDATED (3/23/2020) Information about Bar Admissions and COVID-19
The Missouri Board of Law Examiners (MBLE) is closely monitoring developments regarding COVID-19, and continuing to adjust operations based on the most recent guidelines to combat the spread of the disease. Contingency plans have been implemented and staff continue to process applications for admission and character and fitness review.
MBLE will release results for the February 2020 bar exam on April 15, 2020, as scheduled. There are no plans at this time to cancel or alter the July 2020 bar exam, and all deadlines for applications remain in place. Contingency plans are being developed in coordination with the National Conference of Bar Examiners and other jurisdictions in the event it is not possible to administer the July exam as scheduled. MBLE will post notices to the website regarding any cancellations or changes as a result of COVID-19.
NOTICE: New Rule 8.106, Temporary Admission for Attorney Spouses of Active Duty Military
On September 5, 2018, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued an Order adopting Rule 8.106 (Temporary Admission for Attorney Spouses of Active Duty Military), effective January 1, 2019. Information about the rule is available on the Missouri Board of Law Examiners (MBLE) website for review at www.mble.org. Electronic applications may be submitted as of January 1, 2019, upon creation of a MBLE registration account at https://www.mble.org/displayregister.action.
NOTICE: Updated Fee Schedule Effective January 1, 2019
On November 1, 2018, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued an order updating the Board of Law Examiners' Fee Schedule. The new fee schedule is effective January 1, 2019. The changes are under section C of the fee schedule, which will impact bar examination applicants beginning with the July 2019 exam in Missouri.
NOTICE: Amendment to Rule 8.09, Admission By Transferred UBE Score
On December 4, 2018, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued an Order amending Rule 8.09 (Admission by Transferred Uniform Bar Examination Score), effective January 1, 2019. The Order changes the maximum time period to transfer a qualifying UBE score attained in another jurisdiction from 24 months to five years preceding the date the application is properly submitted in Missouri.