ADMISSION BY UNIFORM BAR EXAM – TEST IN MARYLAND

Beginning in July 2019, Maryland will administer the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) to new law school graduates and less-experienced attorneys licensed to practice in another U.S. jurisdiction.  Admission via the UBE will be governed by Maryland Rules 19-201 through 19-214 (effective March 1, 2019). This page summarizes the eligibility requirements and application procedure to take the UBE in Maryland.

July 2019 - Dates, Exam Sites, Deadlines, Fees and Application Process [Word] [PDF]
Note: The July 2019 UBE exam session will become available in eBar on or about March 1, 2019

Eligibility for admission via the UBE will be governed by Md. Rule 19-201.
To be eligible for admission via the UBE, the applicant shall have:

  1. Completed the pre-legal education necessary to be admitted to an ABA-approved law school.
  2. Graduated with a JD or equivalent from an ABA-approved law school
    1. Waivers of this requirement may be available to applicants who are admitted to the Bar of another U.S. jurisdiction OR who completed their first legal degree in a non-U.S. jurisdiction and completed an additional legal degree (LLM) at an ABA-approved U.S. law school.
    2. If the applicant requires a waiver of the law school education eligibility requirement, the applicant must seek and obtain that waiver BEFORE creating their Notice of Intent to Take the UBE in Maryland. For more information on seeking a waiver of the standard educational requirements, “Eligibility Waiver for Graduates of Non ABA Law Schools” on the left-hand menu.
  3. Achieved a Qualifying UBE Score
  4. Achieved a Qualifying MPRE Score
  5. Successfully completed the Maryland Law Component
  6. Established his or her good moral character & fitness for admission.

The process for applying to take the UBE in Maryland:

  1. At any time, create an account in SBLE’s eBar online application system.
    1. The account creation process requires the entry of personal identifying information, including a U.S. Social Security Number and an NCBE number issued by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
    2. If you do not have a U.S. Social Security number, you should contact SBLE’s administrative office for instructions before you attempt to create your eBar account.
    3. If you do not have an NCBE number or if you do not know your NCBE number, go to NCBE’s website (www.NCBEX.org) to create an NCBE account or retrieve your NCBE number before you attempt to create your eBar account.
  2. Cause your undergraduate college or university to send to SBLE an official undergraduate transcript showing the conferral of your bachelor’s degree or equivalent. For more information see “Academic Transcript Requirements” in the left-hand menu. SBLE will notify the applicant upon receiving the official undergraduate transcript.
  3. Complete and file the Character Questionnaire, which elicits further personal identifying and background information used by SBLE and the Character Committees to conduct the applicants character & fitness investigation.
    1. The applicant will complete the Character Questionnaire online in SBLE’s eBar system.
    2. The applicant must submit the Character Questionnaire online AND print and file a signed hard copy.
      1. The hard copy should be filed AFTER the applicant receives notice that SBLE has received the applicant’s official undergraduate transcript.
    3. Each applicant’s hard copy Character Questionnaire must be accompanied by several documents:
      1. Every applicant must submit a complete credit report issued by www.annualcreditreport.com or by Equifax, Experian or Transunion within 3 months prior to the date you file your character questionnaire, or satisfactorily explain why a credit report is not available.
      2. Every applicant must submit a complete, certified driving history from the motor vehicle authority in each U.S. jurisdiction where you have held a driver’s license in the last three years.
      3. Many of the questions on the Character Questionnaire also have documentation requirements that are dependent on the applicant’s answer to the question.see “Checklist of Application Attachments and Signatures” on the left-hand menu.
    4. Pay the Character Questionnaire fee - include with the filing a check or money order payable to “State Board of Law Examiners” in the amount of $350.
  4. Complete and file the Notice of Intent to Take the UBE in Maryland, which notifies SBLE that the applicant intends to sit for a particular administration of the UBE in Maryland.
    1. The applicant will complete the Notice of Intent online in SBLE’s eBar system.
      1. The applicant will select the exam session for which they intent to sit.
      2. The applicant will enter information about his or her law school education.
        1. If the applicant requires a waiver to the law school education eligibility requirement, the applicant must seek and obtain that waiver BEFORE creating their Notice of Intent to Take the UBE in Maryland. For more information on seeking a waiver of the standard educational requirements, see “Eligibility Waiver for Graduates of Non ABA Law Schools” on the left-hand menu.
      3. The applicant will indicate whether they seek ADA test accommodation on the UBE. For more information on test accommodations, see “ADA Test Accommodations” on the left-hand menu.
      4. The applicant will indicate whether they intend to use a laptop or handwrite the exam. For more information on laptop use see “Laptop Use” on the left-hand menu.
    2. The applicant must submit the Notice of Intent online AND print and file a signed hard copy.
    3. The filing deadlines are the May 20 immediately preceding a July UBE administration and the December 20 immediately preceding a February UBE administration.
      1. Applicants seeking to file a Notice of Intent after the applicable deadline must seek good cause relief to file. 
      2. Applicants seeking good cause relief must submit a letter setting for the grounds for relief and address the factors established in Board Rule 2.
    4. Pay the Notice of Intent fee - include with the filing a check or money order payable to “State Board of Law Examiners” in the amount of $400.
    5. The applicant may file the Notice of Intent AFTER OR AT THE SAME TIME as the Character Questionnaire, BUT NOT BEFORE the Character Questionnaire.

Other admissions requirements:

  1. Applicants taking the UBE in Maryland must satisfy the requirements of Rule 19-212 by reporting to SBLE a Qualifying MPRE Score
    1. For applicants currently admitted in good standing to the Bar of another U.S. State or territory, Board Rule 6 establishes the qualifying MPRE score as a scaled score of 85 or greater earned at any time, so long as the score can be officially reported to SBLE by NCBE or, if the score is too old to be reported by NCBE, by bar admissions officials in another U.S. state.
    2. For applicants not currently admitted in good standing to the Bar of any U.S. State or territory, Board Rule 6 establishes the qualifying MPRE score as a scaled score of 85 or greater achieved at an administration of the MPRE occurring not more than 3 years prior to the date when the applicant files a Notice of Intent to Take the UBE in Maryland.
    3. Applicants may cause NCBE to report a Qualifying MPRE Score any time after creating an account in SBLE’s eBar system.
  2. Applicants taking the UBE in Maryland must satisfy the requirements of Rule 19-213 by completing the Maryland Law Component.
    1. The Maryland Law Component consists of a set of written outlines and an online quiz designed to confirm familiarity with the outline materials.
    2. Applicants may complete the Maryland Law Component any time after July 1, 2019 or after filing the Notice of Intent to Take the UBE in Maryland, whichever is later.

Important milestones in the UBE examination process AFTER filing.

  1. Each applicant who files a Notice of Intent to Take the UBE in Maryland shall be set in for the exam he or she selected on the Notice of Intent.
  2. The UBE is always scheduled for the last Wednesday in July and February and the immediately preceding Tuesday. Notice of the date of the next upcoming exam sessions is posted on the Board’s website.
  3. SBLE will give the applicant notice of his or her seat assignment via eBar approximately 3 weeks before the exam.
  4. Applicants who notify SBLE of their intent to use a laptop on the exam will receive information on laptop registration at approximately the same time as seat number notices are released.
  5. Applicants sitting for the exam for the first time in Maryland are required to file a copy of their official law school transcript showing conferral of the JD degree on or before September 1 following a July exam or March 15 following a February exam.
  6. Exam grades are normally released on the first Friday of November following a July exam and the first Friday of May following a February Exam.
  7. Applicants who pass the UBE must file an Affirmation within seven days of the date of their results notice averring the completeness of their Character Questionnaires and/or providing updated information as necessary.

The Character & Fitness process AFTER filing

  1. Activities at SBLE’s administrative office:
    1. SBLE staff will confirm that applicant has attached to the Character Questionnaire all of the required documents as indicated by the applicant’s disclosures on the Character Questionnaire and will correspond with the applicant to collect any missing documents.
    2. SBLE staff will collect the applicant’s employment and educational certifications and personal reference letters using the forms generated by eBar and filed as part of the Character Questionnaire and will correspond as needed with the applicant to correct any contact information on certification or reference requests.
    3. The applicant is required to assist in securing missing documents, certifications, and reference letters if SBLE staff requests such assistance.
    4. Once SBLE staff has collected all the certifications, reference letters, and confirmed that the applicant has provided all required attached documents, SBLE staff will forward the entire application to a Character Committee.
  2. Activities in the Character Committee
    1. Upon receipt of a Character Questionnaire and supporting documents, a Character Committee member will review the Character Questionnaire and all the attached references, certifications, and other documents.
    2. After the Character Committee member reviews the Character Questionnaire and attached documents, he or she may direct the applicant to provide further information and/or documents for review.
    3. When the Character Committee member determines that the Character Questionnaire is substantially complete, he or she will interview the applicant. At the Character Committee member’s discretion, the interview may be in-person or by electronic means. After the interview and when the Character Committee member determines that the Character Questionnaire is substantially complete, the Character Committee member will report to the Character Committee chairperson that the applicant is recommended for admission or that grounds may exist to recommend denial of admission.
    4. Recommendation to the Board
      1. If the Character Committee chairperson, after reviewing the report and recommendation of the Character Committee member, concludes that the applicant should be admitted, the Character Committee chair person will forward the report and recommendation to SBLE for further action
      2. If the Character Committee chairperson, after reviewing the report and recommendation of the Character Committee member, concludes that there may be grounds to recommend denial of admission, the Character Committee chairperson will notify the applicant and schedule a hearing before a panel of members of the Character Committee.
        1. At any hearing, the applicant has the right to testify, to present other witnesses and evidence on his or her behalf, and to be represented by counsel.
        2. A transcript of the hearing will be made by a court reporter.
        3. After the hearing, the hearing panel will prepare a report and recommendation to the Board.
  3. Action by Board on the Character Committee’s recommendation.
    1. The Board will not take any action on the Character Committee’s recommendation as to any applicant until the Board confirms the applicant has complied with all other admissions requirements (i.e., achieved a qualifying UBE score, reported a qualifying MPRE score, and successfully completed the Maryland Law Component), filed the required Affirmation.
    2. Character Committee recommendation in favor of admission without a hearing
      1. If the Character Committee recommends in favor of admission without a hearing, SBLE will promptly notify the applicant.
      2. Ordinarily, when the Character Committee recommends in favor of admission without a hearing, SBLE will transmit that recommendation to the Court of Appeals promptly upon confirmation that the applicant has complied with all other admissions requirements.
      3. Rarely, SBLE will return the file to the Character Committee for further consideration of specific issues in the applicant’s file.
    3. Character Committee recommendation in favor of admission after a hearing
      1. If the Character Committee recommends in favor of admission after holding a hearing, the Board may concur in the favorable recommendation without holding a hearing, in which case, the Board will transmit the applicant’s Character Questionnaire, supporting documents, the Character Committee hearing transcript, and the Character Committee’s report and recommendation to the Court for further proceedings described below.
      2. Otherwise, if the Board, after reviewing the Character Questionnaire, supporting documents, hearing transcript, report and recommendation of the Character Committee, concludes that there may be grounds to recommend denial of admission, the Board will notify the applicant and schedule a hearing before a panel of members of the Character Committee.
        1. At any Board hearing, the applicant has the right to testify, to present other witnesses and evidence on his or her behalf, and to be represented by counsel.
        2. A transcript of the hearing will be made by a court reporter.
        3. After the hearing, the Board will prepare a report and recommendation to the Court of Appeals.
          1. If the Board concludes the applicant should be admitted, it will transmit its report and recommendation, the Character Questionnaire, supporting documents, hearing transcript, and the report and recommendation of the Character Committee to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings.
        4. If the Board concludes that the applicant should be denied admission, the Board will notify the applicant and provide a copy of the proposed report and recommendation to the applicant and offer the applicant the opportunity to withdraw his or her bar application.
          1. If the applicant withdraws the bar application, no further proceedings will occur.
          2. If the applicant declines to withdraw, the Board will transmit its recommendation against admission, the Character Questionnaire, supporting documents, hearing transcript, and the report and recommendation of the Character Committee to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings.
    4. Recommendation against admission after a Character Committee hearing.
      1. If the Character Committee recommends against admission after a hearing, the Board will hold a hearing.
      2. If the Board concludes the applicant should be admitted, it will transmit its report and recommendation, the Character Questionnaire, supporting documents, hearing transcript, and the report and recommendation of the Character Committee to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings.
        1. If the Board recommends in favor of admission after the Character Committee recommended denial, the Character Committee has the option to file exceptions to the Board’s recommendation.
        2. The Character Committee is required to transmit a copy of any exceptions to the applicant and the Board.
      3. If the Board concludes that the applicant should be denied admission, the Board will notify the applicant and provide a copy of the proposed report and recommendation to the applicant and offer the applicant the opportunity to withdraw his or her bar application.
        1. If the applicant withdraws the bar application, no further proceedings will occur.
        2. If the applicant declines to withdraws, the Board will transmit its recommendation against admission Character Questionnaire, supporting documents, hearing transcript, and the report and recommendation of the Character Committee to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings.
  4. Proceedings in the Court of Appeals
    1. Where the applicant is recommended for admission without having had a hearing at the Character Committee, the Court will schedule the applicant for an admissions ceremony.
      1. Most applicants who take the examination in Maryland will be admitted in ceremonies in December following a July exam or in June following a February exam.
      2. Some applicants who are not recommended for admission in time to participate in the December or July special ceremonies for the exam they passed will be admitted in open court on the first day of the Court’s oral argument sessions in September through June.  There are no bar admissions ceremonies in July and August.
    2. Where the applicant was recommended to the Court for admission after a hearing at the Character Committee (with or without a hearing the Board, the Court of Appeals may order the applicant to be admitted without a hearing.
    3. If the Court believes there may be grounds to deny admission, the Court of Appeals will hold a show cause hearing to address any concerns it might have, and following any hearing will issue an Order that the Applicant be admitted or denied admission.
      1. Where either the Character Committee or the Board or both recommend against admission, the Court ordinarily will hold a show cause hearing.
      2. Hearings in the Court of Appeals are on the record developed in the Character Committee and the Board. The applicant may be represented by counsel before the Court of Appeals.
  5. Applicant’s Burden of Proof – Throughout the character investigation process, the applicant bears the burden of proving his or her good moral character and fitness for admission to the Bar. Failure or refusal to fully and candidly answer any question in the Character Questionnaire or any relevant question asked by the Character Committee, the Board, or the Court is sufficient cause for a finding that the applicant has not met his or her burden.
  6. Continuing duty to timely supplement – Each applicant remains under a continuing obligation to report to the Board any material change in information previously furnished and to supplement his or her Character Questionnaire until admitted to the Bar. Material changes must be reported promptly and failure to promptly supplement the Character Questionnaire can result in significant delay in completing the investigation.