In January 2022, the Oregon Supreme Court approved in concept the adoption of two new examination models for OSB admission. These models will give applicants a choice of how to demonstrate their competence to practice law in Oregon.
Since that approval, the Licensure Pathways Development Committee (LPDC) has been working to develop the regulatory framework for the two new examinations:
- The Supervised Practice Portfolio Examination (SPPE) will allow applicants to work in supervised apprenticeship settings following graduation from law school. They would then submit a portfolio of work to be examined by the BBX for admission to the OSB.
- The SPPE framework and its accompanying rules were approved by the Oregon Supreme Court on November 7, 2023. This assessment will be an option for applicants beginning May 15, 2024. The correspondence with the court and the new rules can be found in the “resources” tab.
- The Oregon Experiential Portfolio Pathway (OEPE) will offer students at Oregon’s three law schools a rigorous experiential curriculum in their second and third years of law school, followed by submission of a portfolio of work to be examined by the BBX for admission to the bar. The committee will invite public comment on draft rules prior to submitting to the Court.
The OSB will continue to offer the Oregon Bar Exam as a means for assessing an examinee’s minimum competency, and to allow applicants to receive a portable Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) score accepted in other jurisdictions. The National Conference of Bar Examiners, which administers the UBE in conjunction with the OSB, is in the process of revamping its exam to create a “NextGen Bar Exam” to more effectively and equitably assess the knowledge and skills of bar applicants. The Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners intends to recommend to the Oregon Supreme Court that Oregon be one of the first jurisdictions to offer the NextGen Bar Exam in July 2026.
In developing both the SPPE and the OEPE, the Committee has examined other jurisdictions that offer multiple licensure pathways, but is creating examinations that will best serve Oregon consumers. The foremost guiding principle of the LPDC has been to ensure that the new examinations protect legal consumers by adequately measuring applicants’ competence to practice law while not placing unnecessary or inequitable barriers between an examinee and licensure.
Please see the Resources tab for detailed information and background on these developing programs.
See also: Expanding the Bar, OSB Bulletin, Feb/Mar 2023.