Supreme Court Amends Rule 7 and Approves New Board Policy on MPRE

On January 25 and 26, 2018, the Supreme Court adopted changes to the Board Policies and Procedures and Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7. The changes can be found on this website under links for "Rule 7" or for "Governing Authorities."

The Court entered the Order Amending Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Section 7.01, on January 26, 2018, resolving the Petition filed by the University of Tennessee College of Law and Vanderbilt Law School. The amendment provides two avenues for admission for applicants who are educated in a foreign jurisdiction. What follows is a  brief summary of those changes but the best source for the changes is to read the Order and Appendix and revised Rule 7, which can be found here.

The first path provides that an applicant whose undergraduate education and legal education were substantially equivalent to the requirements of sections 2.01 and 2.02 of Rule 7, may qualify, in the discretion of the Board, to take the bar examination. The applicant must furnish the Board with a comprehensive evaluation that includes a course-by-course evaluation, determination of equivalency, plus authentication of transcripts (herein "Foreign-Education Report") from a Credential Evaluation Service that is a member of the National Asociation of Credential Evaluation Services (www.naces.org). The second path provides that an applicant who has completed a course of study in and graduated from an appropriately accredited law school in a foreign jurisdiction may qualify to take the bar examination provided that the applicant has been awarded an LL.M. Degree by a law school fully accredited by the ABA or a Tennessee law school approved by the Board, and the applicant has been admitted to practice in a foreign jurisdiction and is in good standing at the bar of the foreign jurisdiction, and has engaged in the active practice of law in the foreign jurisdiction for at least five of the eight years prior to applying to the Tennessee bar.

The Supreme Court also approved an additional amendment to Board Policy P-4.07(d), adding new sub-paragraph 4. The change relates to future applicants for the July 2018 bar examination who have an MPRE score of 75 - 81 from an MPRE administration in 2017 (March, August or November). Scores between 75 and 81 will be accepted only for the July 2018 examination and only for first time applicants who graduate in May 2018. That change can be found in the Board Policies and Procedures here.