Susan Q. Gleeson, Director of Examinations for the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Admissions and former chair of the Council of Bar Admission Administrators (2007–08), retired at the end of August 2018 after 39 years with the Colorado Supreme Court. Gleeson, who initially started with the Colorado Board of Continuing Legal Education in 1979, began working for the Colorado Board of Law Examiners in 1981. She held the title of Assistant Executive Director for the Colorado Board of Law Examiners until a 2011 restructuring by the Colorado Supreme Court brought the Board under the direction of the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, at which time she became Director of Examinations for the Office of Attorney Admissions. Gleeson has administered the Colorado Bar Examination since 1982.
Heidi Faenza is the new director of the Supreme Court of Georgia Office of Bar Admissions, replacing John C. Sammon. Faenza, who has over 25 years of service with the Supreme Court of Georgia, joined the Office of Bar Admissions in January 2017 as assistant director.
Iowa Supreme Court Justice Bruce B. Zager, one of the Court’s liaison justices to the Iowa Board of Law Examiners, retired on September 3, 2018. Zagler, who had been appointed to the district court bench in 1999, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2011.
Thomas A. Mayes has joined the Iowa Board of Law Examiners. Mayes is the attorney for the Iowa Department of Education’s Division of Learning and Results, prior to which he was a staff attorney for the Iowa Court of Appeals. He replaces Lora McCollom, who completed her third and final term on the Board at the end of June 2018 and had served as chair of the Board from 2016 to 2018.
Effective with the February 2019 examination, Kentucky will require all applicants to sit for and pass both the MBE and the written component of the examination (MEE and Kentucky essay questions) in one sitting; additionally, the minimum passing score on the MBE will increase from 132 to 135. Effective with the July 2019 examination, Kentucky may administer one or two MPTs at any administration of the Kentucky Bar Exam.
Francis J. O’Connor has been appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners, filling the vacancy created by Debra Squires-Lee upon her appointment to the bench. O’Connor, who has served for many years as a grader of the Massachusetts Bar Exam, has served as Assistant General Counsel to the Archdiocese of Boston since 2009, prior to which he was in private practice.
Ohio has adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). The first administration of the UBE in Ohio will be the July 2020 examination. The date on which Ohio will begin accepting transferred UBE scores from other UBE jurisdictions is yet to be determined.
Tennessee will begin accepting transferred UBE scores from other UBE jurisdictions effective January 2, 2019. The first administration of the UBE in Tennessee will be the February 2019 examination.
Janelle Brown, who has been with the Judicial Branch of the Virgin Islands since 2006, is now Bar Admissions Analyst in the Office of Bar Admissions in the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands.
Elbert B. Joseph has joined the Office of Bar Admissions in the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands full-time as a Bar Admissions Clerk. Joseph had previously worked in the Office of Bar Admissions over several summers as an intern.
Augustin (“Augie”) Rivera, Jr., is the newest member of the NCBE Board of Trustees, having joined the Board in August 2018. Rivera is vice chair of the Texas Board of Law Examiners; he was appointed to the Texas Board in 2011 and elected as vice chair in 2017. Rivera served as a litigation and insurance defense attorney throughout South Texas for over 25 years and is currently serving as general counsel for the Del Mar College District in Corpus Christi, Texas.
- The Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands has held that an applicant who earned his J.D. from the Southern New England School of Law, which was not accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) at the time the applicant graduated, nevertheless satisfied the educational requirement for regular admission to the Virgin Islands Bar and could therefore sit for the July 2018 Virgin Islands Bar Examination. Although the Southern New England School of Law was not accredited by the ABA at the time the applicant graduated, it merged with the University of Massachusetts, which became accredited two years after the applicant’s graduation. Since the plain text of Virgin Islands Supreme Court Rule 204(d)(5) does not require that the law school be accredited by the ABA at the precise time of graduation, the Court held that the applicant had satisfied the educational requirement because he graduated from a law school that was subsequently accredited by the ABA.
See In The Matter of the Application of Eddy G. Robert for Regular Admission to the Virgin Islands Bar (S. Ct. BA. No. 2018-0051), http://www.visupremecourt.org/wfdata/frame3094-1242/File2.pdf.
- The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld an October 2017 decision by the Georgia Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants to deny an application for a certificate of fitness to practice law to an applicant who contended that his sleep apnea should have been accommodated as a disability during the application process. The Court, in upholding the decision, refused to consider how the cognitive effects of the medical condition had affected the applicant’s statements during the application process, stating that even if sleep apnea is a disability in the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it does not merit an accommodation in the context of a character and fitness review.
See In the Matter of John Anthony Montesanti, https://www.gasupreme.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/s18z0388.pdf.
- The Court of Appeal of the State of California, First Appellate District, Division Three, has affirmed the superior court’s decision to uphold the State Bar of California’s denial of a petition by appellants and petitioners Richard Sander and the First Amendment Coalition (Petitioners) for a writ of mandate seeking to obtain information from the State Bar’s bar admissions database. The information requested consisted of individually unidentifiable records for all applicants to the California Bar Examination from 1972 to 2008 in the categories of race or ethnicity, law school, transfer status, year of law school graduation, law school and undergraduate GPA, LSAT scores, and performance on the bar examination. The Petitioners believed that making these records available to the public, in a manner protecting the applicants’ privacy and anonymity, would allow researchers to study the potential relationship between preferential admissions programs in higher education and a gap in bar passage rates between racial and ethnic groups. The superior court found the Petitioners’ request to be beyond the purview of the California Public Records Act (Gov. Code 6250) because it would compel the State Bar to recode its existing data and create new records.
See Richard Sander et al. v. State Bar of California et al., http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A150061.PDF.
- The Supreme Court of Georgia has vacated a January 2018 decision by the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners to deny bar admission to a lawyer seeking to practice under a waiver program for military spouses. The Board, in informing the lawyer of its decision, had stated that there was insufficient evidence of good cause for waiver but without providing specific reasons for the denial of the waiver. The Court, in vacating the decision, remanded the case to the Board to clearly apply the military waiver policy and explain why the lawyer had or had not met the waiver requirements.
See In the Matter of Harriet O’Neal, https://www.gasupreme.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/s18z0774.pdf.