More on the Preservation of Indian Law on the Washington Bar Exam

According to draft minutes from the Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors meeting in Olympia, on January 27, Indian law was specifically preserved as an examination topic notwithstanding the adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE).

Governor Etengoff moved that the WSBA adopt as the Washington State Bar Exam the UBE, consisting of the Multistate Bar Exam-multiple choice exam (MBE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), along with a Washington Educational Component Test (WECT), which will include Indian Law and other subjects particular to Washington State, and which consists of an online/course materials and online multiple choice exam, and also adopt the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) as Washington’s’ Professional responsibility exam.

Loren moved to amend his motion to be effective as of the summer exam 2013.  Motion to amend passed unanimously with a vote of 13-0-0.  He later stated that he is agreeable to implementation happening sooner if that is a possibility.

Governor Leishman moved to amend Governor Etengoff’s motion to provisionally include the Missouri-style exam as WSBA’s test of Washington state competency in the summer exam 2013, but direct staff to evaluate alternatives for testing on Washington state competency.  Motion to amend passed 11-2-0.  Governors Moore and Palace opposed.

Governor Etengoff’s original motion, as amended, passed 11-0-2.  Governors Buri and Flood abstained.  Governor Lee was not present for the votes on the Washington State Bar Exam.

In addition to strengthening state-tribal relations in Washington State, the Board's decision further recognizes the vitality of Indian law in Washington's legal system and civil society.

Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian majority-owned law firm.  He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California.  He can be reached at 206.691.3631 or, or via