calendar_today June 11 2024, By Pieper Bar Review


Updated June 11 2024. Originally published June 01 2024

In a move that took many in the legal education community by surprise, the California State Bar recently considered breaking away from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). This bold proposal was primarily driven by the need to streamline expenditures and manage resources more efficiently. However, the plan was shelved a month ago.

The Proposal: A Cost-Saving Measure

The California State Bar has been grappling with the challenge of balancing its budget while maintaining the quality and integrity of its bar examination. The NCBE drafts and licenses the UBE, MBE, MPT, MEE, and the upcoming NextGen Bar Exam to states around the country. While these services ensure a consistent assessment for aspiring lawyers, they come at a substantial cost.  California, which licenses only the MBE as part of its bar exam, pays a million dollars to the NCBE every year.

In an effort to cut costs, the California State Bar explored the possibility of developing its own examination materials and processes, independent of the NCBE, by paying Kaplan North America to develop a similar, 200-question multiple choice test. This move was seen as a way to reduce expenses associated with renting space at convention centers required for administering the exam, on which California has spent as much as $4.2 million annually.  The plan was for the new, California-specific exam to be administered fully or partially online.  

While the plan to break with the NCBE has been shelved for now, the California State Bar remains committed to exploring innovative ways to manage costs and improve efficiency, so we'll wait to see what they (and other states like New York, Florida, and Texas) come up with next.