Starting with the July 2021 bar exam, Hoosier applicants who score just under the 264 needed to pass will have their tests automatically reviewed and will no longer have to submit a written request to have their answers reassessed.
The change is part of a series of amendments the Indiana Supreme Court has made to the Rules of Admission to the Bar and the Discipline of Attorneys in preparation for the state’s adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam.
With the switch to the national test, applicants who pass the bar in Indiana will be able to seek admission to other jurisdictions without having to take another exam. Likewise, successful test takers in other parts of the country will have the opportunity to transfer their score and get licensed in the Hoosier State.
However, Hoosiers who pass the UBE may have limited options for transferring if they do not top the state’s minimum passing score of 264. Data from the National Conference of Board Examiners shows Indiana’s lowest score for becoming licensed is beneath the required minimum passing score in a majority of the other UBE states. For example, Illinois and Kentucky each wants at least a 266 and Ohio requires a 270.
Under the amended rules, applicants who take the UBE in Indiana and score within five points of passing will have their written answers reviewed by the Indiana Board of Law Examiners before the results of the exam are released. Previously, test takers who finished with a combined score of 255 to 263 could appeal and get their exams regraded. In recent years, the appeals process did boost the final passage rate by 3%.
The appeals process is being scrapped but the bar examinees will still have the option of petitioning the Indiana Supreme Court for admission.
Out-of-state applicants applying for an Indiana law license must meet several other criteria along with achieving a scaled score of at least 264 on the UBE. Among other things, they must have graduated from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association, received a scaled score of 80 on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination and passed the Indiana character and fitness requirements.
Also, they will be required to pay a $500 filing fee and provide an affidavit from their law school dean attesting to their good moral character.
Once they are admitted to the Indiana bar, the non-Hoosier applicants will have six months to complete the Indiana Law Course. This study module will focus on Indiana-specific law but specifics on the course structure and content were not included in the amended rules or posted on the websites of either the Indiana Board of Law Examiners or the Indiana Office of Admissions & Continuing Education.