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Tennessee Board of Law Examiners


Nashville 7/13/2020 – The Tennessee Supreme Court today ordered the cancellation of the Uniform Bar Examination in Tennessee scheduled for September 30-October 1, 2020, citing the current trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although stringent public health and safety protocols were planned for the administration of the examination, the Court decided that the in-person Fall Examination could not be safely administered with reasonable certainty.  To mitigate delay and uncertainty, the Court ordered the Board of Law Examiners to administer an online, remotely-proctored alternative Admissions Assessment on October 5-6, 2020, that will be comprised of questions prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”). The Admissions Assessment will be comprised of a Multistate Performance Test item, three Multistate Essay Examination questions, and 100 Multistate Bar Examination questions.

In entering its order, the Court recognized the hardships that COVID-19 has placed upon recent law school graduates, applicants to the Tennessee bar, and administrators.  The Court also considered the interests of the applicants, the public, and the administration of justice relating to the licensing and admission of attorneys.

Applicants who pass the online bar examination will be eligible for admission in Tennessee. Although successful applicants will not earn a portable Uniform Bar Examination score, the Board of Law Examiners has entered into reciprocal agreements with District of Columbia, Maryland and Massachusetts for transfer of scores earned on the same online exam as a qualifying score for admission and is working to establish similar agreements with other jurisdictions offering the same online exam.

“Balancing the need for recent law school graduates to be afforded an opportunity to complete the licensing process with the need to protect the public by establishing that new lawyers meet the basic competency required of attorneys in Tennessee must be part of the discussion as we move forward in the midst of a pandemic that limits social interaction,” said Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeff Bivins.

“The online remote testing option using NCBE materials is a wonderful option for our applicants and offers a legitimate assessment of competency. The materials from the NCBE have been pre-tested and are of the same quality as those used for the Uniform Bar Examination,” said Bill Harbison, President of the Board of Law Examiners. “Applicants who have begun their bar preparation and study may continue on course as the same subject matter and testing materials will be used for the assessment.”

Also, the Court ordered additional modifications to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, section 11.03, extending the last day to withdraw a July 2020 application with a refund to September 1, 2020. It also modified sections 10.04 and 10.07, permitting practice under supervision or practice pending admission to continue until July 1, 2022, for July 2020 applicants.

A list of FAQs has been posted on the Board’s website here.

A copy of the order can be found here.                      


The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order today canceling the July 28 -29, 2020 administration of the Uniform Bar Examination in Tennessee. Although stringent public health and safety protocols were planned for the administration of the July 2020 examination, the potential benefits of administering the examination do not justify the risk of assembling groups of people in limited space for a multi-day examination, when another examination will be administered in Tennessee in two months.

The Court order cited the recent increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee. Yesterday, Tennessee reported the largest single day increase in new COVID-19 cases. In the last week, all three locations for the July 2020 exam, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville, posted their highest single day increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Some of the largest increases statewide have been among people aged 22 – 35, the age group of the majority of those scheduled to take the bar examination. The Nashville mayor announced today a major reversal in the plans to reopen the city.

The Tennessee Supreme Court and the Board of Law Examiners are acutely aware of the toll the ongoing pandemic is taking on bar examination applicants and are committed to administering the Uniform Bar Examination in 2020, while making every effort to minimize the risks associated with the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All applicants for the July 2020 examination who have not been determined ineligible for the examination or who have not already transferred their application to the February 2021 examination should expect to sit for the fall examination in Tennessee, to be conducted September 30 – October 1. Applicants previously scheduled for the Sept. 30 – Oct. 1 administration of UBE will be tested on those dates, as well.

“Applicants to the Tennessee bar are afforded broad permissions to practice pending admission and can begin working immediately upon graduation, drafting documents, meeting with clients, and appearing in court. Applicants can continue to practice even if subsequent examinations are affected by the national healthcare crisis,” said Bill Harbison, President of the Board of Law Examiners.  “We understand that this has been a difficult time for recent law school graduates and the Board is committed to making the Uniform Bar Examination available to all July 2020 applicants before the end of the year, absent any new “safer at home” orders or other significant changes.” A copy of the order can be found here.   Complete COVID-19-related bar examination announcements can be found here.

Order Establishing Seating Priority for the July 2020 Examination

The Tennessee Supreme Court entered an Order today regarding administration of the July 2020 bar examination, which will go forward with reduced seating. The Court approved a new Policy of the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners that establishes a protocol for determining who will sit for the July 2020 examination. The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners will administer another Uniform Bar Examination September 30 – October 1, for anyone who is not seated at the July 2020 examination. For more information, please see the COVID-19 Announcements page.


The Board of Law Examiners is operating remotely. Please submit all documents and payments electronically or by mail.

For the latest information about COVID-19 and the impact on the Uniform Bar Examination in Tennessee, as well as information about deadlines, click HERE. A new exam date has been added. To access without using the link above, click on “Tennessee Board of Law Examiners Index” or “Menu” and scroll to the link for COVID-19 Announcements.


4/17/2020: The Supreme Court announced today that, in addition to the July bar examination currently scheduled to take place July 28 – 29, 2020 (the “July Exam”), the Board of Law Examiners will offer an examination on September 30 – October 1, 2020 (the “October Exam”). Those wishing to take the October exam must submit the July 2020 Admission by Examination application and select the October Exam location. The initial deadline for July 2020 applications is May 1 and the final deadline is May 20.

For additional information regarding the July Exam and the October Exam, please visit our COVID-19 Announcements page.


The link for Law Schools to use to upload completed Law Degree Verification Forms is now available. Law School Officials responsible for completing the forms should email the TBLE office for the link. Please save each form as a separate .pdf file, named: student-last name_student-first-name_Law-School-name_LDV.pdf prior to uploading the document.

NOTE: This link is not for Applicants to use. Applicants upload documents to their Application in Synergy.

Update to Board Policies and Procedure

The Board approved amendments for recommendation to the Supreme Court to Board Policy P-6.02, setting the size of Investigatory Committees, and adding new policy P-12.01, “Ethical Considerations.” Two technical amendments, a typographical error in P-3.02 and deleting a provision now included in Rule 7, in P-4.07, were recommended as well. The Supreme Court approved these recommendations on March 25, 2020. The revised Policies and Procedures have been added to the website under Governing Authorities.

Navigating our updated website

In the top bar of each page is the site index, “Tennessee Board of Law Examiners Index” that includes links to pages for each Primary Category:


For small screens in the upper right corner, you will see “Menu” CLICK MENU to show Search function & Index: The index will display when you click the “+” sign.

Upon clicking the link for a Primary Category you will be taken to a Directory Page with descriptive links for how to apply for each type of admission, practice pending admission or supervised practice information, as well as additional information regarding admission and application requirements. FAQs, forms and links to Governing Authorities are also included on the Directory Page. For Exam Information, click the link for Admission by Examination Score to find pages dedicated to exam sites, schedules, and successful applicants. At the end of each page are quick links to the Index, directory pages and FAQs.

General Instruction Manual Sent to Applicants

A new General Instruction Manual for bar examination applicants has been emailed to applicants and added to the website here. Please scroll to the end of the page for attachments. The Manual includes all of the information regarding bar exam registration, required items, permitted items and prohibited items, as well as a schedule of testing, the security policy and the honor pledge. The Manual also provides information regarding post-exam interview requirements and grade release. Applicants for the February 2020 exam must upload the attached Acknowledgement to their Synergy application by February 24, 2020, even if they have previously taken the bar examination in Tennessee.

Final Deadline for February 2020 Exam Applications

The final deadline for the applications and all required documents for the February 2020 Uniform Bar Examination administration in Tennessee is Friday, December 20, 2019. All documents that are required to be mailed or delivered to the Board office at the address below must be received by Friday, December 20, at 4:30 p.m. CST.

Please see the step-by-step instructions for admission by examination available on this website and Board Policies and Procedures P-3.01 and P-3.03 for documents that must be mailed or delivered to the BLE office and what constitutes timely receipt.

The Board will review online payments at 3:00 p.m., Central time, on the day of the Final Deadline, and will attempt to provide notice to anyone who has submitted a payment that is not successful. No notice will be given to those paying after 3:00 p.m. Payment by check, money order or cash is accepted at the Board office during regular office hours of 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Central time.