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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. The expected impact of the state of emergency on bar applications, bar examinations, and bar admissions is as follows:

FAQs for the October 2020 Remote Bar Exam in Maryland (PDF)

Portability Updates:
Update for 8/12/2020: The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners is pleased to announce that it has reached a reciprocal agreement with the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar for the portability of scores earned on the October remote bar exam between Maryland and Illinois.

Read more portability updates.


Update for 8/6/2020: The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners is pleased to announce that it has reached reciprocal agreements with the Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners for the portability of scores earned on the October remote bar exam between Maryland and Oregon.

Update for 7/31/2020: The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners is pleased to announce that it has reached reciprocal agreements with the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, Office of Bar Admissions, and the Vermont Judiciary, Board of Bar Examiners, for the portability of scores earned on the October remote bar exam between Maryland and New Hampshire, and between Maryland and Vermont.

Update for 7/31/2020: The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners is pleased to announce that it has reached reciprocal agreements with the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, Office of Bar Admissions, and the Vermont Judiciary, Board of Bar Examiners, for the portability of scores earned on the October remote bar exam between Maryland and New Hampshire, and between Maryland and Vermont.

Update for 7/28/2020: The Supreme Court of Ohio announced on July 22, 2020 that it would administer an October 5-6 remote bar exam in the same format as the remote bar exam to be administered in Maryland and other states. On July 28, 2020, the Maryland State Board of Law Examiners reached a reciprocal agreement with the Supreme Court of Ohio, Attorney Services Division, for the portability of scores earned on the October remote bar exam between Maryland and Ohio.

Update for 7/27/2020: The Connecticut Bar Examining Committee announced on July 23, 2020 that it would administer an October 5-6 remote bar exam in the same format as the remote bar exam to be administered in Maryland and other states. On July 24, 2020, the Maryland State Board of Law Examiners reached a reciprocal agreement with the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee for the portability of scores earned on the October remote bar exam between Maryland and Connecticut.

Update for 7/17/2020: The Supreme Court of Kentucky announced on July 9, 2020 that it would administer an October 5-6 remote bar exam in the same format as the remote bar exam to be administered in Maryland and other states. On July 16, 2020, the Maryland State Board of Law Examiners reached a reciprocal agreement with the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions for the portability of scores earned on the October remote bar exam between Maryland and Kentucky.

Update for 7/16/2020: The Supreme Court of New Jersey announced on July 15, 2020 that it would administer an October 5-6 remote bar exam in the same format as the remote bar exam to be administered in Maryland and other states. The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners has reached a reciprocal agreement with the Supreme Court and Board of Bar Examiners of New Jersey for the portability of scores earned on the October remote bar exam between Maryland and New Jersey.

Update for 7/14/2020: The Tennessee Supreme Court announced on July 13, 2020 that it would administer an October 5-6 remote bar exam in the same format as the remote bar exam to be administered in Maryland, DC and Massachusetts. The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners has reached a reciprocal agreement with the Tennessee State Board of Bar Examiners for the portability of scores earned on the October remote bar exam between Maryland and Tennessee.

Update for 7/8/2020: The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners (SBLE) is pleased to announce that it has entered into reciprocal agreements with bar admissions officials in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts for the portability of scores earned on the October 2020 Remotely-Administered Bar Examination. SBLE will continue to seek reciprocity with other jurisdictions offering the October 2020 Remotely-Administered Bar Examination and will announce additional agreements as they are made. Read less.

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 taking the exam. Instructions for opting out, along with additional detailed information on applying for reciprocal admission based upon a score earned on the October 2020 Remote Bar Examination will be posted to the SBLE website in the coming weeks.


To ALL APPLICANTS:
The State Board of Law Examiners’ (SBLE) administrative office remains closed to the public. Questions regarding SBLE’s COVID-19 response cannot be answered by telephone, but should be sent by email to SBLE@mdcourts.gov.

SBLE will continue to accept bar application materials for all applicant types during the emergency. Due to the closure of SBLE’s office to the public, all application materials should be sent via US Mail, FedEx, UPS, or similar. SBLE strongly recommends that applicants send any such items using a trackable delivery method without requiring a signature. In addition, SBLE continues to maintain a physical drop box, which is located in the lobby of the Courts of Appeal building at 361 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, MD 21401. Hand-delivered bar applications should be entirely contained in an envelope that is clearly marked for the “State Board of Law Examiners” and placed in the drop box marked “SBLE.” The Courts of Appeal building is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Applicants may be required to undergo security screening upon entering the Courthouse. Applicants should comply with health directives regarding face masks and social distancing when dropping off any materials in the drop box.

To JULY 2020 BAR EXAM APPLICANTS:
In response to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland State Board of Law Examiners (SBLE) has determined that it cannot safely administer an in-person Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) in September 2020.  As such, the SBLE recommended to the Court of Appeals of Maryland that the SBLE be authorized to administer an online, remotely proctored Maryland Bar Exam using questions prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), as described in NCBE’s June 1, 2020 public announcement.   On June 17, 2020, the Court of Appeals of Maryland approved the SBLE’s recommendation and authorized the remote administration of the Maryland Bar Exam. 

The SBLE received bar applications from approximately 1,100 applicants in at least 38 U.S. states, including states where rates of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and at least two foreign countries seeking to take the UBE in Maryland.  An in-person UBE would require approximately 55% of applicants to travel from out-of-state to attend the examination. While the SBLE may be able to provide adequately-spaced seating for applicants to be socially distanced during the exam, the SBLE does not reasonably expect to be able to enforce adequate social distance between applicants during ingress/egress to buildings and rooms before and after exam sessions, or during permitted movement during the exam (e.g., to the restroom, etc.).  The SBLE also cannot reasonably ensure adequate social distancing between applicants and proctors/staff during applicant check-in procedures and while distributing and collecting exam materials. The SBLE also could not provide equal supervision and monitoring to each applicant during in-person exam sessions because proctors and staff would be unable to circulate among the applicants without breaking social distancing guidelines. Finally, the number of testing locations that would be required to meet expected group gathering and social distancing guidelines would negatively impact the SBLE’s ability to ensure consistent testing conditions for all applicants and to ensure appropriate security protocols for test materials.

The remotely proctored Maryland Bar Exam will be administered on October 5 and 6, 2020, and will test the same topics as the Uniform Bar Examination. The remote exam will consist of one Multistate Performance Test (MPT) item, three Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) items, and 100 Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) questions, to be administered in four 90-minute sessions over the course of two days. Consistent with NCBE’s announcement, the remotely proctored Maryland Bar Exam will be delivered by a technology vendor, which will be determined by the SBLE and announced at a later date. 

Consistent with the Administrative Order on Postponement of the July 2020 Maryland Bar Examination, issued May 26, 2020, there will be no new, additional, or extended application filing period for the remote Maryland Bar Exam.  Applicants who timely filed Notices of Intent for the July 2020 UBE in Maryland will be carried over to the remote exam without further requirements. Requests for the SBLE to accept late-filed applications pursuant to Maryland Rule 19-206(d) and Board Rule 2 shall be addressed pursuant to those Rules. 

The remotely proctored Maryland Bar Exam will not provide a portable UBE score. The SBLE is, however, actively engaged in discussions with admissions officials in the District of Columbia regarding an agreement to permit portability of exam results between Maryland and D.C.  SBLE expects to engage in portability discussions with such other jurisdictions that elect to utilize a comparable remotely administered bar exam.

The SBLE understands that this remotely administered Maryland Bar Exam may not meet the needs of some applicants who seek primarily to earn a portable UBE score.  As such, SBLE will provide refunds of application fees to applicants who withdraw their bar applications and request a refund based on these circumstances. Refund requests should be submitted by email to SBLE@mdcourts.gov by Friday, August 14, 2020 at 4:30pm. Alternatively, SBLE will defer an applicant’s examination fees to a future administration of the UBE in Maryland. Deferral requests should be submitted by email to SBLE@mdcourts.gov by October 2, 2020 at 4:30pm. Applicants who are admitted in Maryland after passing the remotely proctored Maryland Bar Exam will not be eligible to take a future UBE in Maryland, but they may be eligible to take a future UBE in another UBE jurisdiction pursuant to that jurisdiction’s bar admission rules.

The Court of Appeals of Maryland will issue an administrative order at a later date formalizing this announcement and addressing those provisions of the Maryland Rules necessary to implement this decision. Questions regarding this announcement should be directed by email to SBLE@mdcourts.gov.

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.



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.