New York State will begin using a standard bar examination given in 15 other states next summer, making it the largest state so far to adopt what amounts to a national credential for lawyers, the state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, announced on Tuesday.
While other states already use the test, the so-called Uniform Bar Examination, Judge Lippman said in an interview that he expected the move by New York to result in a “domino effect” with the remaining states, given New York’s prominence in the legal world.
Missouri, in 2011, was the first to offer the uniform test, but the nation’s most populous states — California, Texas and Florida — still run state-specific bar exams.
It’s going to be awfully hard to justify anything short of reciprocal recognition of legal credentials as this spreads. It may — and probably should — mean effective national licensing for attorneys.