This is directly aimed at current law students, specifically those looking at taking the UBE. First, a little background. Normally when you take the bar exam, it is good only in the state you took the test, or perhaps one surrounding state. In general, once you've practiced 5 years in that state, you can then apply to be licensed in another state if you so decide. Of course there are exceptions, but that is pretty much the norm. If you want to be licensed in another state prior to that time, you re-take the bar exam in the other state.
The UBE was created to make it easier for lawyers to transfer their license to other states. A number of states have accepted the test (13 I think) and they make it seem like its just an easy process to go ahead and after you've passed the test you just apply to another state and get accepted. Sounds easy enough...wrong.
Yes, you must do the entire application process over again. That application is a lot of work, it includes everywhere you've lived, everywhere you've worked, background checks, etc. Then you pay the $1,000 fee (depending on the state) to send in your application. Then...they take their time. Friends would joke when studying for the bar that if we didn't pass in Nebraska, we could get licensed in another state with a lower score, and transfer it to Nebraska later....as if it was an easy task.
Also note, your MPRE score isn't good forever! So if you want to transfer your score, I know of at least 1 state that the score is only good for 2 years (my score is 1.5 years old already and I've only been a lawyer 3 months). I can guarantee you no one wants to sit through that test again!
I sent in my application 3 months ago to another state, and they said it may take 6 months to get everything finalized. I'm not regretting taking the UBE, of course I'm practicing in one of the states that accepts it, and that is what is important. However, if I was basing my decision on transferring my score to another state later on....it would have been important for me to know how long of a process this takes, and how expensive!
No, I wont be moving to the state I am getting licensed in...but I would love to start on my CLEs and just have the process over with. The state I'm transferring my score to even contacted me last month saying they changed their application process, and I needed to submit even more documents, even though I complied with their current application process 2 months earlier! One of the downsides to the UBE being such a new concept.
Is it better than taking the bar exam a second time? I'm starting to wonder if its worth it!