THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

SUPREME COURT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

O R D E R

 

R-2004-001, In re Proposed Amendment to the New Hampshire Bar Examination (Supreme Court Rule 42)

Since the mid-1970’s, the New Hampshire Bar Examination has consisted of two parts: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), an examination consisting of two hundred multiple choice questions prepared and graded by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), and the essay portion, consisting of twelve questions, each written and graded by a member of the New Hampshire Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners.

The Board of Bar Examiners has recommended that the Supreme Court change the format of the bar examination to reduce the number of essay questions and to add the Multistate Performance Test. The Multistate Performance Test (MPT), which is developed by the NCBE, is designed to evaluate an applicant’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. The Board of Bar Examiners has proposed that the New Hampshire Bar Examination include six essay questions and two MPT questions.

If the court adopts the board’s recommendation, the New Hampshire bar examination would remain a two-day examination. The dates of the bar examination would change, however, to the Tuesday preceding the last Wednesday of February and July and the next day, Wednesday. Any such change would take effect no earlier than the February 2005 bar examination.

A more detailed description of the Board of Bar Examiners’ proposal is attached as appendix A.

On or before May 15, 2004, members of the bench, bar, legislature, executive branch, or public may file with the clerk of the Supreme Court comments on the proposal. An original and seven copies of all comments shall be filed.

April 2, 2004              ATTEST: _________________________________

                                                Eileen Fox, Clerk
                                                Supreme Court of New Hampshire

Appendix A

 

The New Hampshire Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners has recommended that the format of the New Hampshire Bar Examination be changed to the following:

1. The New Hampshire Bar Examination shall be a two-day examination administered on the Tuesday preceding the last Wednesday of July and February and on the next day, Wednesday.

2. The three-hour morning session on Tuesday shall consist of two 90-minute MPT questions. Answers to the MPT questions shall be graded by the members of the Board of Bar Examiners.

3. The three-hour afternoon session on Tuesday shall consist of six essay questions prepared and graded by members of the Board of Bar Examiners. The areas of law subject to testing on the essay portion of the examination are contracts, sales, agency, family law, business entities (partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations), trusts, wills and estates, federal income and estate and gift taxation, secured transactions, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, New Hampshire criminal procedure and the New Hampshire Constitution.

4. The second day of bar examination, Wednesday, shall consist of the MBE, administered in two three-hour sessions.

5. Each MPT question shall be given the weight of two essay questions. An MPT answer shall be given a raw score on a scale of 20.

6. Each essay question answer shall be given a raw score on a scale of 10, but not less than 5 in increments no less than 0.5.

7. The raw essay and MPT scores shall be combined, producing a raw score with a maximum of 100.

8. The combined raw essay and MPT score shall be scaled to the MBE to produce a scaled score on a scale of 200.

9. The scaled MBE and essay-MPT scores shall be added to produce the final combined score awarded to the applicant on the bar examination.

10. In order to pass the bar examination, the applicant must achieve a combined scaled score of 280 or more.