On November 24, 2020, the Indiana Supreme Court adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). The first administration of the UBE in Indiana will be in July 2021. Indiana began accepting applications for admission by transferred UBE score on March 1, 2021.
In December 2020, the Iowa Supreme Court approved proposed rule changes that eliminated the law student registration requirement and authorized use of an electronic bar application. In August 2020, the Court approved a proposed rule change that eliminated the five-year cap on registration as house counsel in Iowa. The previous rule required attorneys registered as house counsel to apply for admission on motion after their five-year registration period had expired in order to continue practicing in Iowa.
On February 12, 2021, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania approved the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners’ recommendation to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), effective July 2022. The date on which Pennsylvania will begin accepting transferred UBE scores has not yet been determined.
On March 25, 2021, the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued an order reducing the minimum passing scores required for admission to the Rhode Island Bar, effective with the February 2021 exam administration. The minimum score needed for admission on examination under Article II, Rule 1, was reduced from 276 to 270; the minimum score needed for admission on examination for attorney applicants, who do not take the MBE (under Article II, Rule 2(a)), was reduced from 138 to 135.
By an order promulgated on January 5, 2021, and effective March 8, 2021, the following rules of the Vermont Supreme Court were changed.
- Rules 2(a)(6) and (7) were added to broaden the definition of “actively engage in the practice of law” and specifically to allow law professors and qualified arbitrators and mediators to be eligible for admission without examination. New Rule 2(a)(8) contains a catchall provision.
- Rule 9(c)(5), which details the eligibility requirements to sit for the UBE prior to graduation, was amended to require that applicants take the academic instruction necessary to prepare for the UBE and are approved by their law school to sit for the UBE prior to graduation. The time in which an early examination applicant must submit proof of graduation was increased to accommodate applicants who sit for the July bar and graduate at the end of the following fall semester.
The Alaska Bar Association’s Law Examiners Committee has a new executive director, Danielle Bailey, following the retirement of Deborah O’Regan. Jane Lovelace, admissions manager for Alaska, will be taking on more admissions responsibilities and will be the primary admissions contact for Alaska.
The new Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court is Brian D. Boatright, replacing Nathan B. Coats, who has retired from the bench. Justice Maria Berkenkotter has replaced Justice William Hood as one of the Court’s liaisons to the Colorado Office of Attorney Admissions; Justice Monica
Marquez continues in that role.
After working for the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee (CBEC) for 12 years, Jessica F. Kallipolites ended her tenure as director on November 13, 2020. The new director, starting on January 15, 2021, is Lisa Valko, who formerly served as program manager for the CBEC from May 2019 to January 2021, and as assistant administrative director from September 2014 to May 2019.
As of November 1, 2020, Jane A. Rose is the new chair of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, Jennifer Martinez Mooney is the new vice chair, and Diana K. Bock, Sanjena V. Clay, Timothy S. Danninger, and Ita M. Neymotin are new members of the board, replacing Patrick P. Coll, William F. Hodgkins, Deborah S. Minnis, and David C. Reeves, whose terms of service have expired.
Chief Justice Harold Melton of the Georgia Supreme Court has appointed Justice Sarah Warren to serve as a liaison justice, joining Justice Nels S.D. Peterson in this capacity and replacing Justice Keith Blackwell, who has returned to private practice.
The Court has appointed Susan Wilson of Athens, Georgia, to a six-year term as a member of the Board of Bar Examiners, replacing Sally Akins, who has completed her six-year term.
Lamar Sizemore, a former member of the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners, has been appointed to a one-year term as the Board of Bar Examiners’ designee to the Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants.
Christine Dabney is Louisiana’s new Attorney for Character and Fitness. She previously worked as an Attorney Advisor with the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals, and as Clerk of Court for the Division of Administrative Law, Louisiana’s centralized administrative hearings panel.
Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson retired on December 31, 2020. The new Chief Justice is John Weimer.
The Minnesota Board of Law Examiners has three new members: Patricia Beety, Brian Bell, and Wilbur Fluegel. Beety is general counsel at the League of Minnesota Cities in St. Paul, Minnesota. Bell is a partner at Dorsey and Whitney LLP in Minneapolis, practicing energy, environmental, and natural resources law. Fluegel practices in Minneapolis in the area of trials and appeals of personal injury tort claims. These new members replace Doug Peterson, Pamela Thein, and Timothy Wong, who left the board at the end of 2020. The board’s new chair is John Koneck of Fredrikson & Byron PA.
The new Assistant Director of Testing for the Missouri Board of Law Examiners is Jabarbara Jennings.
Gordon MacDonald, New Hampshire’s attorney general and a former member of the NCBE Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2017, became Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court on January 22, 2021.
On September 2, 2020, the New York Court of Appeals announced the appointment of former Court of Appeals judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick as chair of the New York State Board of Law Examiners, succeeding Diane Bosse, who retired on the same day. Judge Ciparick, a graduate of Hunter College and St. John’s University School of Law, will be just the fourth chair to lead the Board of Law Examiners since 1986.
After serving with the Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners since 1984 and as administrative director since 2008, Cheryl Beatty retired in February 2021. The new administrative director is Cary Pirrong, a graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of Law who most recently worked for Oklahoma City Community College as its director of equity and compliance. His first day on the job was December 21, 2020.
The admissions manager for the Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners, Troy Wood, has been promoted to regulatory counsel. He will still oversee the Admissions Department of the Oregon State Bar but will also oversee regulatory services such as non-disciplinary reinstatements, certificates of good standing, resignations, and other status changes.
Susan Henricks, executive director of the Texas Board of Law Examiners, retired in December 2020. Nahdiah Hoang is now the executive director. Hoang formerly served as Director of Eligibility & Examination.
Henry Sackett, chair of the Character and Fitness Committee for the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners for 22 years, from 1995 to September 2017, passed away on December 18, 2020.
Longtime member of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners Grady Carlson retired November 1, 2020, after 27 years on the Board. The Supreme Court of Virginia appointed Robert J. Stoney of Blankingship & Keith PC to fill the vacancy created by Carlson’s retirement. Stoney had previously served on Virginia’s Character & Fitness Committee since 2018. On January 12, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia appointed Sheila M. Costin of Holmes, Costin & Marcus PLLC to the Committee (to fill the vacancy created by Stoney’s appointment to the Board).
The Wyoming Supreme Court has appointed Justin A. Daraie to the Board of Law Examiners, replacing Brenda Wylie, whose term expired at the end of 2020. Daraie is a member of the law firm Long Reimer Winegar in Jackson, Wyoming. The Court also ordered that Christopher H. Hawks, who was previously appointed as a temporary replacement member, is now considered a full member of the Board of Law Examiners.
On March 1, 2021, Beth Donahue returned to NCBE in the newly created position of Senior Assessment Design Specialist. Donahue was a test editor at NCBE from 2005 to 2008 and served as the MBE program director from 2008 to 2012. She has spent much of her career working on issues related to formative and summative assessments, most recently as Managing Director, Bar Review Program Strategy, Development, and Delivery at AccessLex Institute. In her new position, Donahue will develop subject matter outlines, test specifications, and assessment tasks to be included on the bar exam.
On March 29, 2021, NCBE welcomed Rosemary Reshetar, EdD, as the new Director of Assessment and Research, replacing Mark A. Albanese, PhD, former Director of Testing and Research. Albanese, who is retiring on April 30, will continue to serve in a part-time capacity through August 31, 2021. Reshetar had worked at the College Board since 2006, serving in the role of executive director since 2012. She served as executive director of two psychometrician teams and the quality management team for the psychometric departments. In her new position, Reshetar will provide thought leadership to jurisdiction licensing authorities, NCBE staff, and other stakeholders on critical measurement and policy issues related to high-stakes assessment, as well as leadership on assessment innovation. She will play an integral role in the transformative work of the Implementation Steering Committee (successor to the Testing Task Force) as well as direct scoring of the Multistate Bar Examination and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
On April 12, 2021, NCBE welcomed Danette Waller McKinley, PhD, to the newly created position of Research Specialist, Diversity, Fairness, and Inclusion, where she will collaborate with in-house staff and external stakeholders to further NCBE’s organization-wide efforts to ensure that diversity, fairness, and inclusion pervade NCBE culture, operations, test products, and services. McKinley has conducted research on the licensure and certification of health professionals for more than 30 years and is a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group on Diversity and Inclusion and its Health Workforce Research Joint Conference Advisory Committee. She also serves as a reviewer for several medical education journals.
Also on April 12, NCBE welcomed Sophie Martin to the newly created position of Director of Communications, Education, and Outreach. Martin had served as the executive director of the New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners since 2015. Prior to her role in bar admissions, she held the positions of chief marketing officer and instructor at the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management, managing editor of the Duke City Fix, and attorney in private practice. Martin will lead NCBE’s organization-wide communications and outreach strategy and will oversee NCBE’s Communications and Meetings & Education Departments in developing and carrying out NCBE’s communications and educational programming.