MARYLAND STATE BOARD OF LAW EXAMINERS COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE
The State of Maryland continues under a state of emergency, as established by the governor, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Consistent with the Judiciary’s move to Phase V of the Amended Administrative Order on the Progressive Resumption of Full Function of Judiciary Operations, SBLE’s administrative office is now open to the public. Applicants visiting SBLE’s administrative office remain subject to COVID-19 health screening, including a no-contact temperature check, and mask requirements upon entry to Judiciary buildings.
UPDATE FOR 10/21/20: On Monday, October 19, 2020, the National Conference of Bar Examiners announced plans to make a full set of bar exam materials (two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) items, six Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) items, and 200 Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) items) available for a February 2021 remote bar exam administration to be held on the same dates as the scheduled February 2021 in-person bar exam administrations (February 23-24, 2021). NCBE further announced that it will provide score calculation services (which include equating the MBE and calculating scaled scores on the written test components) and will provide UBE and MBE score transfer services for both the in-person and the remote administrations.
Current reports indicate that the COVID-19 infection rates in a majority of U.S. jurisdictions are rising and the future trend of infection rates in Maryland is uncertain. While it is possible that then-existing public health conditions might permit an in-person UBE in February 2021, any plans for an in-person exam would remain at risk of cancellation based on changing pandemic conditions. Therefore, based on the uncertain future of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland and following the successful administration of the October 2020 Remote Bar Exam in Maryland, the Court of Appeals of Maryland has accepted the recommendation of the State Board of Law Examiners (SBLE) that the February 2021 UBE in Maryland be administered remotely.
The Court and SBLE hope this early announcement will allow prospective applicants to make an informed decision on applying to take the February 2021 UBE in Maryland. The filing deadline for the February 2021 exam is Monday, December 21, 2020. Further information on filing procedures, including deadlines and fees are included in a document posted on the UBE in Maryland page of the Board’s website. That document will be updated as further decisions are reached.
Portability of Scores Earned on the October 2020 Remote Bar Exam in Maryland
As previously announced, Maryland has entered into portability agreements for the transfer of examination scores to the following jurisdictions: District of Columbia, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont. Maryland will send qualifying examination scores to admissions officials in Texas, but will not receive or accept score transfers from Texas (which began accepting transferred UBE scores in January 2020, but will not administer the UBE until February 2021).
To be eligible for admission to a reciprocal jurisdiction under these agreements, an applicant must attain a passing exam score as set by the jurisdiction to which they wish to apply, meet all other eligibility requirements for admission in that jurisdiction, and apply for admission in that jurisdiction according to the rules and/or procedures set by that jurisdiction.
SBLE will automatically report each applicant's score on the October 2020 Remote Bar Examination to all jurisdictions having a reciprocal agreement with Maryland. Applicants who DO NOT wish to have their scores reported to other jurisdictions may OPT OUT prior to the reporting of scores. Instructions for opting out will be posted to the SBLE website in the coming weeks. An opt out form will be included with the official notice of examination results to be posted on November 25, 2020.
Applicants who took the October 2020 Remote Bar Exam in one of the reciprocal jurisdictions listed above may apply for admission in Maryland under the rules pertaining to the transfer of UBE scores. See the Admission by UBE Transfer (UBT) page of this website for more information.
TO APPLICANTS WHO APPLIED FOR SPECIAL AUTHORIZATION FOR THE TEMPORARY SUPERVISED PRACTICE OF LAW:
FAQs on the Order Establishing Special Authorization for the Temporary Supervised Practice of Law in Maryland (PDF)
TO ALL APPLICANTS:
SBLE will continue to accept bar application materials for all applicant types during the emergency.
BAR ADMISSIONS CEREMONIES:
During the emergency, SBLE will continue to clear applicants to the Court for admission as appropriate. The Clerk’s Office will communicate directly with eligible applicants for scheduling purposes.
Admissions ceremonies for applicants who are successful on the October 2020 Remote Bar Exam in Maryland are tentatively scheduled for Thursday, December 17, 2020 and Friday, December 18, 2020. Those ceremonies are expected to be virtual/remote.
Welcome. The State Board of Law Examiners coordinates the receipt and filing of applications for admission to the Maryland bar, administers the bar examination in Maryland, investigates the legal competence and character and fitness of persons who seek a license to practice law in the state courts of Maryland, and recommends to the Court of Appeals of Maryland those candidates qualified for admission to the Maryland bar.
This site is designed to provide helpful information to understand the process for bar admission in Maryland and to assist you in the application process. It is our experience that applicants who read the information thoroughly, ask questions early, and apply early find that the bar admissions process is very manageable. Good luck in your pursuit to become an attorney in Maryland. In the event you need to contact us, our information is provided in the banner.