State Board of Law Examiners
The State Board of Law Examiners was created by statute to assist the Supreme Court in its constitutional responsibility to regulate the admission to practice.
In 2002, Board members were Rebecca S. Thiem of the Bismarck firm of Zuger, Kirmis & Smith; Mark L. Stenehjem of the Williston firm of Winkjer, McKennett, Stenehjem, Reierson & Forsberg; and Paul F. Richard of MeritCare Health System in Fargo.
On July 30 and 31, the Board administered a two-day bar examination. The examination consisted of the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), a written three-hour examination consisting of two ninety-minute tasks that examine fundamental lawyering skills, including problem solving, legal analysis and reasoning, factual analysis, communication, organization and management of a legal task, and recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas; the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), a written three-hour examination consisting of six questions from pre-selected topic areas; and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), an objective six-hour multiple choice exam.
No February bar exam is offered in North Dakota.
Passage rates for the 2002 examination:
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Admission to the practice of law in North Dakota can be based not only on the results of the written bar examination, but on five years of admission with at least four years of practice in another jurisdiction, or, upon achieving a score of 150 on the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and admission in another jurisdiction within two years of application. Every applicant for admission must also be at least 18 years old, of good moral character, fit to practice law, and been awarded a juris doctor or equivalent degree from a law school, approved or provisionally approved, for accreditation by the ABA. The Character and Fitness Committee assists the Board in investigating applicants' character, fitness and moral qualifications. In 2002, members of the Committee were: Charles S. Miller, Malcolm H. Brown, Luella Dunn, Reverend Robert Nordvall, and Dr. Al Samuelson, all of Bismarck.
Of the 39 attorneys admitted in 2002, 26 were by bar examination; four by achieving the 150 MBE score and admission in another state; and nine by having the requisite years of practice in another state.
In 2002, the Board, in its licensing capacity, issued licenses to 1,834 lawyers and judges, 393, or 21%, of whom were women.
As a part of its licensing and admission responsibilities, the Board monitors the pro hac vice admission of attorneys who are not licensed in North Dakota. During 2002, 152 nonresident attorneys filed motions under N.D.R. Ct. 11.1, and $12,600 in fees were collected. The fees were forwarded to the State Bar Association of North Dakota to help fund the attorney disciplinary system.