4 Critical Considerations For The Portability Of UBE Scores - JD Advising
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Portability of UBE scores

Four Critical Rules & Considerations For The Portability Of UBE Scores

One of the great things about taking the Uniform Bar Exam is that you might be able to use that score to avoid sitting for the bar in multiple states.  It can be a real drag to have to consider taking another bar exam each time you even think about moving.  Taking one bar exam is stressful enough! However, when thinking about whether taking the UBE is best for you, you need to remember the limits on the portability of UBE scores.  Unfortunately they aren’t good forever, and you can’t just take it wherever you want to go.

It is important to chart your potential path, thinking even years ahead of time.  It’s also always worth it to contact your current and possible future jurisdictions to make sure they don’t have any unique transfer rules.  You don’t want to find yourself in an unexpected situation and be forced to halt your practice while you sit for another exam!

Four Critical Rules & Considerations For The Portability Of UBE Scores

Before deciding to take the UBE don’t forget these four critical rules and considerations about the portability of UBE scores:

1. The portability of UBE scores expires.

If you have obtained a portable UBE score (you took the MEE, MBE, and MPT in the same UBE district in the same administration), you can transfer it to other UBE states within a certain period of time.  Unfortunately, each state has a different maximum age for transferred scores.  This ranges from two to five years.  For example, if you were planning on moving to Missouri, your UBE score must be under two years old for them to accept it.  If you wanted to move to Arizona, your UBE score must be under five years old. As of this date, five years is the maximum period of time you have to transfer a score to any state. So if you plan on moving to a UBE state in ten years, it may not be wisest to take the UBE today.

To see a list of how long you have to transfer your score by state, click here.

Thus, before deciding to take the UBE, consider how soon you plan on practicing in a UBE state and whether the portability of your UBE score will have expired.  UBE scores don’t last forever, so it might not be worth it to take the UBE if practicing in a UBE district isn’t in your near future.

2. Transferring a previous score from a non-UBE state to a UBE state.

If you’ve already taken the MBE, you might be able to transfer it to a UBE state.  Only some states accept MBE scores from other states, so make sure you enquire about your specific location. For example, Washington DC will accept MBE scores if the score meets their requirements.

If you decide to transfer your MBE score and then take the rest of the UBE portions, know that this will not give you a portable UBE score.  The portability of UBE scores requires that you take all of the portions in the same jurisdiction during the same administration.  This could complicate your practice if you intend on going to even another UBE state in the near future.  You won’t have a portable UBE score and your MBE score might not transfer.

3. The portability of UBE scores to a non-UBE state.

Similarly, if you’ve taken the UBE and want to practice in a non-UBE state, it is possible that your MBE score can transfer.  Not every state accepts MBE scores from other jurisdictions, so make sure you investigate the rules of your particular destination.  Some states have very unique requirements for when you can transfer your MBE score, so never just assume that your score will transfer!

4. The severability of the components of the UBE.

The most important thing about portability of UBE scores is that to transfer everything from one UBE district to another, you must have a “portable UBE score”.  You can’t mix and match where and when you take each section and then expect everything to transfer nicely.  Even if your state administers the MEE, MPT, and MBE, if it is not a UBE jurisdiction, then you don’t have a portable UBE score.  Even if that state subsequently becomes a UBE jurisdiction, your score doesn’t become a portable UBE score.  It has to be done in a current UBE jurisdiction.  If you’re transferring your MBE score from another state, you won’t have a portable UBE score.  Thus, be sure to consider all of the limitations on the portability of UBE scores and your future plans before you decide it’s the best option for you!