July 2017 New York Bar Exam: Registration Period Is Open

Time to Register for the New York Bar Exam

The New York State Board of Law Examiners ,Corporate Plaza, Building 3 – 254 Washington Avenue Extension Albany, NY 12203-5195

The registration period for the July 2017 New York Bar Exam (a UBE jurisdiction) is now open. You have until April 30 to register through the Applicant Services Portal and unlike other jurisdictions New York does not have a late registration deadline. Therefore, if you don’t register by April 30, you are not taking the July exam.

In order to register for the UBE in New York you will need the following:

  • BOLE  number
  • NCBE number
  • A copy of your law school transcript
  • visa or mastercard (no debit cards accepted)

Filling out the application doesn’t take long (10 minutes, tops) but if you think you can get by without any of the above information, think again. The way NY registration works is that the program does no allow you to move from one category to the next until every question is answered. You can’ leave something blank and come back to it. So unless you know exactly how many credits you’ve earned for a stand-alone Professional Responsibility course, clinics, externships, and non-law classes, you better have your transcript handy.

Laptop Registration

You also need to decide if you are going to use your laptop on the bar exam. This might seem like a no-brainer (and it probably is) but before you click “yes” for that non-refundable $100 laptop fee, make sure your particular laptop is supported by the ExamSoft system. Not every jurisdiction permits use of tablet-laptop hybrids, and on the Feb 2017 exam, almost every state banned the new MacBook Pro with Touchbar Function.

Additional Requirements

In addition to passing the UBE you must also meet New York’s other requirements: (1) fulfill your pro bono hours; (2) achieve a passing score on the MPRE; (3) take the NYLC ; (4) pass the NYLE. For those starting law school after August 1, 2016, you must also fulfill the Skills & Values requirement.

-KSK

Bar Exam Ban of MacBook Pro: details

On Saturday I posted information regarding jurisdictions banning use of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar function on the February 2017 bar exam. I’ve been updating it as additional jurisdictions make decisions about whether to ban its use. This post is for those wondering why the MacBook Pro has become an issue.

The Touchbar function makes the MacBook Pro similar to an iPhone: it has predictive typing and it learns the user’s vocabulary. This means that during an exam (not just the bar exam) the Touchbar function will automatically suggest words. Not only could a student type more information but might also get assistance with common legal terms and phrases. In addition, the Touchbar is a “multi-touch OLED display panel.” A huge thank you to Kirsha Trychta at West Virginia College of Law who explained that this is basically a mini menu screen embedded in the keyboard.

Why does this matter? The bar exam is a closed-universe test which means examinees must answer questions based on the knowledge in their head. No outside information. Depending on the jurisdiction, examinees must answer 6-12 essay questions covering 9-12 distinct subject areas. It is a high stakes test and security is no joke. There is no internet access during the test. In most jurisdictions, examinees are not permitted to wear watches, hats, or jackets; they may not bring in any sort of purse or computer bag, nor can they use highlighters or pencils. I think you see some of the issues the Touchbar presents.

Can’t you just disable the function? As of now, Examsoft (the testing program) can’t  automatically disable the function. There is a way to manually disable it, which is why a few jurisdictions are permitting examinees to use the MacBook Pro. However, this raises another issue- although exam proctors can verify that the Touchbar is disabled at the start of the exam, can they ensure an examinee can’t and won’t enable it later? This might be why most jurisdictions are banning the new MacBook Pro altogether.

The good news is that jurisdictions seem to be waiving the fee to register another laptop. The bad news is that MacBook Pro owners have less than three weeks to get another laptop and get used to using it.

For those taking the February 2017 bar exam and own a new MacBook Pro, contact your jurisdiction ASAP to find out whether it is banned.

We don’t know what the situation will be for the July 2017 bar exam. That’s far enough away that Examsoft might develop a way to automatically disable the Touchbar.

2/2 Update for Jurisdictions using Exam4: According to  Greg Sarab from Extegrity (Exam4): “Extegrity fields a full team of highly qualified tech staff… at all of our bar exams… This gives us the capacity to comfortably assist examinees before each session, and be able to keep an eye on things while they type.” You must manually disable the Touch Bar function but according to Exam4, techs will be at the exam to assist with disabling the App Controls, and confirm it has been done. Sarab also said that once in Exam4, you can’t get back in to change settings.

-KSK

Feb Bar Exam: No MacBook Pro with Touch Bar function

Important Information for February 2017 bar takers:

Several jurisdictions have banned use of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar on the February bar exam.

As of 1/28, the following jurisdictions will NOT permit bar takers to use the new MacBook on the February bar exam: CA, CO, OK, TN, MA, NY, and WV.

IL will allow use of the MacBook as long as you disable the Touch Bar function. If you have a MacBook you must contact the IL bar examiners ASAP and disable the Touch Bar function. If anyone is found using a MacBook with an enabled Touch Bar during the exam, they will be immediately dismissed.

If you own a new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar function, check with your jurisdiction to see if you are permitted to use it.

1/29 Update: MD and PA have also banned the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar function.

1/31 Update: Add OH and TX to the list of jurisdictions banning use of the new MacBook Pro. NC will permit use but the touch bar must be disabled prior to entry into the testing facility and at the exam, proctors and techs will verify that is disabled.

1/31 Update: Looks like FL and SC will ban use of the new MacBook Pro.

2/1 Update: AL has just announced it will ban use of the new MacBook Pro.

2/2 Update on Exam4 jurisdictions: Greg Sarab from Extegrity (Exam4) provided the following regarding Exam4 jurisdictions:

  • Allow: Pro: AZ,  KY, LA, ME, PR.
  • Ban: DC, NE, VA.

According to Sarab, “Extegrity fields a full team of highly qualified tech staff… at all of our bar exams… This gives us the capacity to comfortably assist examinees before each session, and be able to keep an eye on things while they type.” You must manually disable the Touch Bar function but according to Exam4, techs will be at the exam to assist with disabling the App Controls, and confirm it has been done. Sarab also said that once in Exam4, you can’t get back in to change settings. There is no fee for registered examinees to re-download Exam4 on a different laptop, regardless of whether the jurisdiction has banned Touchbar MacBooks.

-KSK