By: Marilyn Odendahl
Partner Carol Sigmond was quoted in the Indiana Lawyer article, ” ABA push boosts Uniform Bar Exam.” Carol weighed in on the idea of a Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), speaking against New York’s move to adopt a single test. The full article is available on the Indiana Lawyer website.
One bar exam covering multiple states sounds like a good idea to third-year law student Burnell Grimes Jr.
A single test would remove some of the barriers to finding employment that are hindering today’s graduates. New lawyers would be able to more easily accept jobs in different jurisdictions since they would not have to incur the added cost of taking another test for licensure.
“It’s very appealing because it gives flexibility to practice in different states,” the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law student said. “While the economy has improved, the legal market still is not the best. People coming out of law school are not securing legal employment.”
Grimes, who chairs the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Law Student Division, is not alone in his support of one bar exam.
During the 2016 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting in early February, the House of Delegates passed a resolution encouraging states to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination. The test, administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, has already been adopted in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
Resolution 109, advocating the use of UBE, was pushed by the ABA Law Student Division which supported the measure for the same reasons as Grimes stated. One national test would make the examination process more efficient and lower the expense for the applicants. Also, the exam would allow new lawyers to transport their scores and move for a job opportunity.
However, Carol Sigmond, president of the New York County Lawyers Association, characterized the promises of the UBE as an illusion. The partner at Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman P.C. in New York opposed her state’s move to adopt the test and spoke out against the resolution at the ABA House of Delegates meeting.
Law students, she said, are treating this as a panacea which will allow them to practice anywhere. But they will still have to pay for and pass character and fitness evaluations along with an exam on the laws of the particular state where they want to practice.