At its January 2024 administrative meeting, the Vermont Supreme Court voted to adopt the NextGen bar exam as of the July 2027 administration.
The NextGen bar exam is currently under development. It will first be administered in a limited number of jurisdictions in July 2026. Vermont is joining nine other jurisdictions that have announced their intention to move to the new exam. Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, will start in 2026 followed (as of right now) by Arizona, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, Vermont, and Wyoming in 2027. Connecticut will also move to the NextGen bar exam but the date remains to be determined.
Pursuant to the decision to move Vermont to the NextGen exam, the Vermont Supreme Court has approved putting out for comment the Board of Bar Examiners’ proposed changes to Rules 2 and 10 of the Rules of Admission. Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by March 8, 2024, to Andrew Strauss, Licensing Counsel of the Office of Attorney Licensing, at the: Andrew.Strauss@vermont.gov. For more information on rule change, click here. These proposed changes are the first steps towards incorporating the future administration of the NextGen exam. Further Rule amendments will likely be necessary as the July 2027 exam administration approaches.
The exam will be different in nature and in content from the existing exam. From the Vermont Judiciary Website:
The most significant changes from the current UBE to the NextGen exam are the adjustments to the subject matter, increased skills testing, integration, and the method of delivery. The current UBE tests fourteen separate subjects. In contrast, the NextGen exam will test just nine “Foundational Concepts & Principles”—Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contract Law, Criminal Law, Evidence, Family Law, Real Property, and Torts—and will also test seven “Foundational Skills”—Legal Research, Legal Writing, Issue Spotting and Analysis, Investigation and Evaluation, Client Counseling and Advising, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, and Client Relationship and Management. The NextGen exam will consist of three, rather than four, three-hour sessions. Instead of separate MBE, MEE, and MPT sessions, each three-hour session will consist of two integrated question sets, one MPT-style task that will take approximately 60 minutes, and approximately 40 multiple-choice questions, although not necessarily in that order. All nine Foundational Concepts & Principles will appear on each test. Finally, the NextGen exam will be entirely computer-based.
For more information on the status of the development of the NextGen exam, see here.