Amendments to Idaho Court Admin. Rule 100; Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure 1; & Idaho Rules for Electronic Filing & Service 5 and 9

Department Report: Admissions

by Maureen R. Braley

The Idaho State Bar Admissions Department administers the rules governing admission to the practice of law in Idaho. Attorneys can be admitted by taking the Idaho Bar Examination, transferring a Uniform Bar Examination (“UBE”) score to Idaho, or based on their experience practicing law in another state. The Admissions Department also oversees limited admission to the practice of law in Idaho through a House Counsel license (working in-house for an Idaho employer), Emeritus Attorney license (limited license to do pro bono work), Military Spouse Provisional admission (servicemember spouse is stationed in Idaho), pro hac vice admission, and Legal Intern licenses.

Idaho Bar Examination News and Statistics

In May 2023, the Idaho State Bar membership considered and approved Resolution 23-01, which recommended to the Idaho Supreme Court that Idaho Bar Commission Rule (“I.B.C.R.”) 217 be amended to provide that the passing score on the bar examination be 270. On June 1, 2023, the Idaho Supreme Court entered an order amending I.B.C.R. 217 consistent with Resolution 23-01, effective for the July 2023 bar examination.

There was a significant decline in the number of people taking the Idaho Bar Examination in 2023 compared to 2022. 275 people took the examination in 2022, while only 213 people took the examination in 2023, representing a 22.5% decrease. The decline was anticipated due to the Concordia University School of Law’s closure in the spring of 2020 and those students having transferred to the University of Idaho College of Law and graduating in 2022. The overall pass rate for the 2023 bar exams was 54.9%, which is down 4.7% from the 2022 overall pass rate of 59.6%.

We predict there will be fewer people taking the Idaho Bar Examination going forward, given that Idaho again has only one law school and the changes to admission requirements for experienced attorneys from other states, which are addressed later in this article.

Admission for Experienced Attorneys

In November 2023, the Idaho State Bar membership considered and approved Resolution 23-02, which recommended to the Idaho Supreme Court that the admissions rules be amended to make admission based on practice experience available to attorneys from any jurisdiction and to include judicial law clerk work in the definition of the “Active Practice of Law.” On December 28, 2023, the Idaho Supreme Court entered an order amending the admissions rules consistent with Resolution 23-02, effective March 1, 2024. This rule change enables more experienced attorneys to be admitted to practice law in Idaho without having to take the Idaho Bar Examination.

In 2023, 96 people applied for reciprocal admission under former I.B.C.R. 206, which was up 18.5% from 81 applicants in 2022. As of March 28, 2024, 47 people have applied for admission under I.B.C.R. 206, with 24 applying after the rule change became effective on March 1, 2024.

UBE Admissions Trends and the NextGen Bar Exam

In 2011, Idaho was the third state to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination (“UBE”). Currently, 41 jurisdictions administer the UBE. Applicants taking the UBE earn a portable bar exam score that can be transferred to other states to be admitted there without having to take another bar examination. Applicants applying to transfer their UBE score to Idaho must still undergo a character and fitness background investigation before being approved for admission. In 2023, 58 attorneys applied for admission in Idaho through UBE score transfer.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”), the entity that develops the UBE, is currently developing a new bar examination, dubbed the NextGen Bar Exam, which is designed to be a better test of the knowledge and skills entry-level lawyers should be expected to know. The NextGen Bar Exam will be available for the July 2026 bar examination. The NextGen Bar Exam will eventually replace the current UBE, which will be unavailable after the February 2028 bar examination.

In February 2023, the Board of Commissioners of the Idaho State Bar established the NextGen Bar Exam Task Force to monitor developments with the NextGen Bar Exam and consider whether it should be implemented in Idaho. Seventeen jurisdictions have already announced their plans to administer the NextGen Bar Exam, including Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Maureen R. Braley

Maureen Ryan Braley is the Associate Director of the Idaho State Bar and the Idaho Law Foundation. Her job duties include overseeing bar admissions in Idaho. She clerked for Chief Justice Gerald F. Schroeder of the Idaho Supreme Court and practiced law for six years in Boise before joining the Idaho State Bar staff in 2011. Maureen is a “double Zag,” having earned an undergraduate degree in history and a law degree from Gonzaga University.

The Legal Profession: Integrity, Character, and Commitment to Values

by Mary V. York

I recently attended the Idaho Supreme Court Memorial Service honoring and remembering the attorneys and judges who passed during the last year. Every year that I can attend, I am reminded of the lions of the law – those who helped shape the dignity of our profession, set the standards for us to attain, and served as role models and mentors helping us better serve our clients. It is always a poignant and meaningful remembrance. If you haven’t yet read the memorial tributes for those honored at the Memorial Service, I encourage you to do so. The website to access the obituaries can be found here: The heart-felt stories describe the histories, achievements, and service of these individuals, and importantly, they recount and celebrate the personal side we don’t always see.

Judge Charles Hosack providing remarks during the Idaho Supreme Court’s Memorial Service

Among the highlights of the service were the remarks from the Honorable Charles Hosack, Retired District Judge and Chair of the Idaho Supreme Court Memorial Service Committee. I regularly find inspiration in the words of others, so rather than attempt to summarize his comments, with his permission, I quote from his remarks:

There is a spirit, a unique spark of life, within the legal profession that is available to attorneys and judges. The genius of our Founding Fathers was in the creation of the Third Branch of Government—the Judicial Branch—to balance the executive and legislative branches. The Judicial Branch was necessary to apply the rule of law on behalf of ‘We the People’, and to prevent an authoritarian ruling, as had been so sadly the case for centuries under the kings and queens in Europe.

The rule of law under the Judicial Branch system values fairness, honesty, integrity, and an even handed legal process for resolving disputes and maintaining civility and public order. Our system of government, and the public at large, relies upon the legal profession to produce attorneys and judges who share a set of values that provides fairness and justice for all. One might characterize attorneys and judges as members of the workforce of the Judicial Branch. Consider the career of Chief Justice John Marshall, and the Supreme Court decisions in the early days of our Republic, that did so much to weave the fabric that united a bunch of colonies into one country.

Judge Hosack’s remarks were a welcome reminder for me and helped underscore the significance of what it means to be part of the legal profession. 

In my past Commissioner articles, I have written about the critical importance of an independent and impartial judiciary to our democracy and the functioning of our society. But shifting the focus somewhat and maybe even flipping the same coin to the other side – it is us, the members of the Bar who are an integral part of the Judicial Branch. As Judge Hosack put it, we are “the workforce” of the Judicial Branch. We are officers of the Court.

            As stated in the Preamble of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct,[i]

“A lawyer, as a member of the legal profession, is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.”

I.R.P.C., Preamble, ¶ 1. To carry out that charge, the Rules provide that lawyers should:

  • Seek improvement of the law, access to the legal system, the administration of justice and the quality of legal services;
  • Cultivate knowledge of the law to not only serve clients, but to reform the law and cultivate legal education;
  • Further the public’s understanding and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system because legal institutions in a constitutional democracy depend upon popular participation and support to maintain their authority;
  • Devote professional time and resources and use civic influence to ensure equal access to our system of justice; and
  • Aid the legal profession in pursuing these objectives and help the bar regulate itself.

Id., ¶ 6.

            There are myriad of ways that, as members of the Idaho State Bar, we can and should help advance our “special responsibilities” as lawyers. We can help promote the public’s understanding of the importance of the rule of law, the role of the judiciary in upholding the rule of law, and the importance of an independent and impartial judiciary. We can promote and support efforts to provide greater access to our legal system for those who are not able to afford legal assistance. We can volunteer on committees to help facilitate the administration of justice or run for judicial positions.

These activities are germane to the practice of law and critical to maintaining the high quality of our legal profession, and they are promoted in our Rules of Professional Conduct. They are particularly important today when there is a growing perception of distrust in the legal system and increased threats to attorneys and judges.[ii]

            In his closing remarks, Judge Hosack echoed this charge:

[I] submit that the human values that are the essential part of our professional responsibilities and ethical standards, and that have remained the same over the past 50 or more years, will become more important, not less. These duties and values of our profession will carry us forward, at least into the foreseeable future.  Hence the importance of today’s Supreme Court Memorial Service that reminds us all of what is truly important in our profession – the integrity and character of the attorney or judge, and their commitment to the values of the legal profession while serving the greater good of our community.

He further encouraged us to do as well as those who came before us, “as we strive to do better.”

Well said.

Mary V. York

Mary V. York is a litigation partner at Holland & Hart who has nearly 30 years of experience representing clients in condemnation cases, real estate disputes, and commercial litigation. In her spare time, Mary enjoys hiking, mountain biking, wake-surfing, cooking, and spending time with her family. Mary currently serves as an Idaho State Bar Commissioner representing the Fourth District.


[i] Coincidentally, in last month’s Advocate, my fellow Commissioner, Jillian Caires, also referenced the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct in her Commissioner’s Message.  We didn’t confer on our messages, but the fact that we both focused on our professional rules underscores their importance.



Idaho Juvenile Justice 2024 Regional Forum

Volunteer Throughout Idaho in Celebration of Law Day – May 1st

Celebrate Law Day in Your Area

Idaho’s legal community plans a day of education and celebration for the public to mark Law Day, Wednesday, May 1st.

Join in the annual event of Law Day which celebrates the rule of law that underpins American society. Courts and legal organizations across the country use the day to hold educational events about our judicial system. The constitutional principles highlighted through these events make Idaho and our country what they are today. This year’s national theme is “Voices of Democracy.”

First District

“Ask a Family Lawyer” Legal Clinic

8:00 am to 12:00 pm

Community Center Riverstone Apartment Complex

433 W. John Loop Road, Coeur d’Alene

Kootenai County will hold a free legal clinic, this one focused on family law. The clinic is designed to help community members get answers to legal questions and assistance with legal forms such as child custody, support, and property/debt issues.

To volunteer contact Kally Young

Third and Fourth Districts

Election Integrity Discussion

Discussion on election integrity, understanding the electoral process, turning out to vote, and free and fair elections by Idaho Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Meyer, Idaho Secretary of State Phil McGrane, and Ada County Clerk Trent Tripple

Ada County Courthouse

Commissioner’s Meeting Room – 1st Floor

10 am – 12 pm

“Ask A Lawyer”

1:00 to 3:00 pm.

Commissioner’s Meeting Room – 1st Floor

To volunteer click HERE. Legal questions can be sent before the event to Jennifer Schindele.

Guest speakers in Caldwell will also teach high school government students about about jury selection.

Fifth District

6.1 Challenge

The Fifth District 6.1 Challenge will commence on Law Day on May 1, 2024 and run through November 1, 2024 following Pro Bono Week. Law offices may participate in the competition by providing pro bono legal services during that period and submitting the attached reporting form no later than November 1, 2024. A distinguished panel of Fifth District judges and attorneys will be convened to determine the winning office by evaluating the quality and type of contributions and number of hours contributed. The winning office will then be recognized at the Fifth District Road Show in November of 2024.

Court Assistance Workshops

The Fifth District Court Assistance Office Attorney Workshop is held at 3:00 pm on the third Tuesday of each month. This is an excellent opportunity to participate in the 6.1 Challenge. Attorney Workshops are scheduled to be held on May 21, June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17, and October 15, 2024. Sign up to volunteer HERE. For more information about the Attorney Workshop, please contact Fifth District Court Assistance Officer Jerry Woolley or (208) 736-4136.

The Fifth District Bar Association will also have Fifth District judges and attorneys meeting with high school government classes, to promote civic engagement, understanding of the electoral process, and voter registration and seniors from high schools across north-central Idaho have been invited to attend a variety of local court proceedings.

Sixth District

In the days leading up or after Law Day attorneys and judges will presented at Idaho State University and participating Pocatello high schools

Seventh District

Community groups will hear presentations on various topics related to the courts and our democracy, including Rotary groups in Idaho Falls.

Well-Being Week in Law – A Well-Being Reboot!

Reboot Your Well-Being

May 6th Through the 10th

The Idaho State Bar Attorney Well-Being Committee invites you to celebrate Well-Being in the Law Week, May 6th through May 10th.

The Committee has been working with the District Bar Associations to plan events throughout the state during Well-Being in the Law Week and beyond. Join other members of the profession, the courts and support staff by participating in these free activities that will improve your overall well-being.

Additionally, we will have activities Monday through Friday where you can focus on a different aspect of well-being right from where you are. Every day you will have at least three different suggestions for activities and education.

RSVP Today!

Second District Event – May 10th

Third District CLE – May 8th

Fourth District Event – May 10th

Scam Alert: Malicious Dropbox Links sent via email

We’ve received noticed that there may be several scam emails circulating in which scammers are sending Dropbox links via email with the eventual goal of getting wire transfers for settlement funds.

Reminder: Never click on suspicious links sent to you via email. If you are unsure whether or not a link is legitimate, call the supposed sender to confirm.

In particular, an email that proclaims to be from Britney Jacobs from Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office with a link to an “updated contract” was not sent by Ms. Jacobs and should not be opened.

Rule Amendments and Orders from the Idaho Supreme Court – Effective July 1, 2024

Comments Sought on Idaho Juvenile Rule 20. Release from State Custody (J.C.A.)

The Idaho Supreme Court’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee is seeking input on proposed amendments to Idaho Juvenile Rule 20, Release from State Custody (J.C.A.).  A copy of the proposed amendments can be found on the Court’s website.  Please send your comments to Deena Layne, by Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Fourth District Law Day – May 1st