If you are in good standing and actively licensed to practice law in a state other than Virginia, the Board of Bar Examiners just made it a little easier to get your Virginia license.
Under new rules recently enacted, attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions who wish to get licensed in Virginia, no longer need to take the Multi-state Bar Exam (MBE) portion of the Virginia exam. This is similar to what some other states may call an “attorney’s exam”. Importantly, you are not transferring in an MBE score from some other jurisdiction, so for this option it does not matter what your prior MBE score was, so long as you were licensed. Your exam will just be “Day 1” — the Virginia Essay Examination. But this is not really a different exam. You will be taking the exact same essay exam as all other students in that exam administration. The only difference is that you will not have to return for Day 2 of the Bar Exam (the MBE day). So in that sense, this isn’t really an “attorney’s exam” as much as it is just a way to take the exam without taking (or even submitting a score from) the MBE.
Unlike those taking the MBE and Essay exam simultaneously, someone who uses this option (the VBBE calls it “option 3“) will not have their essay exam converted into a “scaled score”. Instead, you must attain a raw score of 64 points out of 100 possible points on the exam.
Option 3 isn’t your only option. If you’re trying to decide between option 2B and option 3, this article explains that it depends on your MBE score.
A word of caution for Attorneys who took bar exams in other states: the Virginia Bar Exam is very different. The video below explains some important concepts that make the Virginia Essay Exam unlike the essay exams given in most other states. But know that the Virginia exam heavily tests unique distinctions in Virginia law. Knowing the traditional majority legal rules and model codes that you were taught in law school will not be enough to pass the Virginia exam.