Ohio Law

How Hard is it to Pass the Ohio Bar Exam?

As with any examination, the difficulty of the Ohio Bar Exam depends on the person taking the test.

According to the Ohio Supreme Court, the passage rate for the July 2019 bar exam was 73.1%. First time test-takers performed better, overall, recording an 82 percent pass rate.

The exam is uniform, so its difficulty is the same for each examinee. A person’s abilities, skills, education, and knowledge determine whether the person finds the bar exam difficult.

However, preparation is essential if you want to pass the UBE. Many law school graduates spend months preparing for the bar exam. Some dedicate several weeks of uninterrupted, full-time preparation for the UBE.

How a person prepares for the UBE depends on the person. However, there are many tools, materials, and courses available that help a person prepare to take the Ohio bar exam.

Examinees may also want to talk to friends who have completed the UBE for advice on preparing for the bar exam. Law schools often have information about various courses and materials that can assist in studying for the bar exam.

Other Requirements to be Admitted to the Ohio Bar

In addition to passing the UBE, applicants must also pass the Ohio Law Component (OLC). The OLC covers state-specific legal principles and unique rules and aspects of the Ohio Judicial System. The Board of Bar Examiners prepares the OLC.

Applicants must also receive approval of their fitness, character, and moral qualifications. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, and a law degree from an ABA-approved law school, are also required to be admitted to the Ohio Bar.

Before a law school graduate can represent a client against criminal charges in Ohio – like for possession of a controlled substance or theft – they must be admitted to practice law in Ohio.

Ohio Adopts New Bar Exam Format

As of June 1, 2020, The Supreme Court of Ohio adopted rules for the use of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) in Ohio. The new UBE replaces the Ohio Bar Exam, which consisted of twelve essay questions, the Multistate Bar Exam, and the Multistate Performance Test. Beginning with the July 2020 bar exam, examinees will take the UBE.

What is the Uniform Bar Examination?

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) developed the UBE. It is a uniform exam used in more than 30 states.

One of the main benefits of using the UBE in Ohio is that examinees can transfer their scores to other UBE states. By transferring scores to other UBE states, lawyers can more effectively represent clients who have multi-state legal matters without the necessity of hiring local counsel or taking another bar exam. It also helps the law schools in Ohio remain competitive with other law schools throughout the country.

What Sections Are Included in the Uniform Bar Examination?

The UBE is similar to the original bar exam used in Ohio. It contains three sections administered over two days. The sections of the UBE are:

Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)

The MME counts for 30 percent of the overall grade for the UBE. The exam consists of six essay questions. Examinees are allowed 30 minutes to answer each essay question.

The essay questions on the MME cover a variety of areas of law. However, legal knowledge is not the only skill measured by the MEE.

Examinees must possess the ability to identify legal issues. In addition, examinees must identify the relevant information to use as they present an analysis of the issue that demonstrates their ability to reason through legal issues and communicate all information, including their analysis, effectively in writing.

Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

The MPT is worth 20 percent of the overall exam grade. It consists of two problems. Examinees have 90 minutes to complete each problem.

For each problem, the examinee receives a File, Library, and task. A memo from a “supervising attorney” explains the assignment or task. Tasks might include preparing a memorandum, brief, statement of facts, discovery plan, settlement agreement, letter to a client, or one of many other tasks that lawyers are expected to perform as they represent their clients in real-world matters.

The File contains various documents that provide the information and documentation related to the “case.” The Library contains all case law, statutes, and rules, and other information that an attorney would gather as he researched the legal matter.

The examinee must use the information in the File and Library to identify the issues being addressed in the task and relevant facts. The examinee must also be able to rule out irrelevant information and focus on what is necessary to analyze the case and complete the task.

Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

The MBE replaces the 12 essay questions that were used on the old Ohio Bar Exam. The MBE contains 200 multiple-choice questions, which must be completed within six hours. The MBE counts for 50 percent of the overall grade for the bar exam.

The MBE covers numerous areas of law. An examinee can expect to see questions related to Federal Civil Procedure, Contracts, Real Property, Criminal Law, Evidence, Constitutional Law, and Torts.

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