This article originally appeared in The Bar Examiner print edition, Winter 2018-2019 (Vol. 87, No. 4), pp 1-2.
By Michele A. Gavagni
Greetings, and Happy New Year. As we kick off 2019, the pace at NCBE remains as brisk as ever.
Several of NCBE’s committees have already met since I began my term as chair in August 2018: the Education Committee, the Diversity Issues Committee, and policy committees for the MBE, MEE/MPT, and MPRE. By the time you read this, the UBE Policy Committee meeting and NCBE’s UBE Forum, attended by representatives from all 34 jurisdictions administering the Uniform Bar Examination, will both have concluded in San Antonio in mid-January. It has been a pleasure for me to join these committees and to witness the dedication of so many committed volunteers.
In December 2018, registration opened for the three administrations of the MPRE in 2019. The opening of this registration window was very exciting for NCBE as we continue to make progress toward the implementation of computer-based testing for the MPRE in 2020. With the transition being accomplished in phases, some examinees will take the MPRE via computer in both August and November 2019. The MPRE registration platform has been updated accordingly, but there is still much left on the to-do list for the complete deployment of the computer-based MPRE for all examinees in 2020. The staff at NCBE continues to handle this transition masterfully, and the excitement for the 2020 launch is escalating as the launch time draws closer.
The Testing Task Force—appointed by NCBE in January 2018 to undertake a three-year study to ensure that the bar examination continues to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent entry-level legal practice in the 21st century—has remained busy as well. Task Force Chair Hon. Cynthia L. Martin has maintained a brisk cadence for the Task Force to ensure that its work is completed within the specified timeline. In September, the Task Force announced the two research consulting firms it had engaged to support its study. In November, the Task Force published a summary of its research plan and the study timeline on its website and held its first listening session on the bar examination at the Council of Bar Admission Administrators’ Fall Meeting in Denver. It is the goal of the Task Force to be collaborative, soliciting input from state bar admitting authorities, legal educators, legal professionals, and other stakeholders, in recognition of a shared objective of ensuring the protection of the public and the readiness of new lawyers to join the profession. As stated by Hon. Cynthia L. Martin, “Stakeholder input is fundamental to the Testing Task Force’s study. We want to be certain that voices from across the profession are heard. This study will help ensure the continued quality and relevance of the bar exam in the years to come; the results will be important for everyone who cares about the future of legal licensure and the legal profession.” If you have not already done so, I encourage you to visit the Task Force website at www.testingtaskforce.org and subscribe to receive updates with the latest Task Force news, research, and blog posts. The website also has links to upcoming events in which you may be interested in participating, so please visit the site to track the Task Force’s progress in this exciting endeavor.
Right around the corner is the February 2019 bar exam. NCBE is committed to providing support to each jurisdiction as it prepares for, administers, and grades the exam. I would be remiss if I did not extend my tremendous appreciation to each administrator involved in preparing for the administration of the bar exam. Each of you appreciates the high stakes that are involved for every candidate taking the examination, and you spend many, many hours trying to account for every possible contingency that may occur at the exam. I know that each administrator shares my commitment to ensuring that all candidates are tested in an environment that allows them to perform to the best of their ability.
Following the February exam and the grading cycle, NCBE is looking ahead to its Annual Bar Admissions Conference on May 2–5 in San Francisco. I would like to express my gratitude to the NCBE Education Committee, chaired by Suzanne Richards of Ohio, and the NCBE staff who are working diligently to make this year’s event another successful educational opportunity for justices, board members, and administrators from across the country.
My best wishes to you for a happy and healthy 2019!
Michele (Missy) Gavagni
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