How can I get a copy of my application?
You may download an unofficial copy of your application from Synergy for exam applications starting with the February 2014 exam and Comity/MJP applications filed after January 1, 2016.
- For a certified copy of your application, please send a signed letter of request to our office with a check for the appropriate fee (see below). Please make sure to include the mailing address for the copy.
- Copy Fee: $20
- Archive Retrieval Fee (for files that have been archived): $40 in addition to the copy fee.
- Files older than 10 years have been destroyed and are no longer available in any format. If you require a letter stating that your file has been destroyed, please send an email to the Board with your full name, the approximate date that you sat for the exam or applied for admission, and the address where you would like the letter mailed.
Which Application do I select?
EXAM Applications: If you have never taken the examination in Tennessee, select the First Time Application even if you previously submitted an application but did not sit for the exam. If you have previously taken the TN Bar exam, and it has been less than 3 years since your last application select the Re-Exam Application. If it has been more than 3 years since your last application your application has expired and you must apply as a first time applicant.
Should I wait until I see that all of my items are uploaded before sending payment for admission by examination?
No. You should not wait to send or make payment until you think all of your documents have been received. If you submit your Tennessee Application and pay the fee on or before the Initial Deadline, the staff of the TBLE will provide you notice of missing or incorrect items, if any, at least once prior to the Final Deadline. Items sent directly to the Board such as law degree verifications will never be visible to the applicant. Because the Board is prohibited from taking any step in the process until the fee is received, the staff of the TBLE does not review applications for missing documents or send notice of such until after payment is received. See Board Policy P-3.03
How do I pay the Tennessee application fee?
Online payments are accepted for First-time, Re-Examination, UBE Score Transfer, Comity and In-House Counsel Applications. Credit card service fees, sometimes called convenience fees, will be paid directly to the vendor in a separate credit card transaction at the same time as the filing fee is paid. If you do not wish to pay by credit card, you may mail a check or money order to the Board or pay in person (cash, checks or money orders only; credit cards are only accepted online) at Tennessee Board of Law Examiners, 511 Union Street, Suite 525, Nashville, TN 37219.
Do I need letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation are no longer required for most applications. The only exception is for applicants who are licensed in another country.
Who must be interviewed and when are interviews conducted?
- Applicants for admission who are not licensed in another jurisdiction must appear for an in-person interview. If an applicant is licensed, active and in good standing in another U.S. jurisdiction, an interview is not required but may be directed by the Board.
- Interviews are typically conducted in March, August and September. The BLE office does not schedule interviews; applicants are contacted by the interviewer directly. Interviews are assigned based on the county chosen in the applications for admission by exam score.
- CHANGE LOCATION: If you wish the change the county you selected for your interview, you must submit a request in writing by email no later than ten (10) days after the exam and you must explain why the change is necessary. Please note that while every effort is made to schedule applicants in their selected counties, there are not enough interviewers in each of the 95 Tennessee counties to handle all of the interview requests. If the selected county is not available, applicants are typically scheduled in a contiguous county.
- The preference of the Board is for the interview to be conducted in person. However, in cases of extreme hardship, an applicant may file a written request via email for a Skype/Facetime or similar video conference interview. The applicant must get agreement from the interviewer to conduct the interview other than in person before the applicant submits the request to the Board. The request must include an explanation as to why the Applicant cannot appear in person at the interview. Travel requirements or expense alone do not constitute an extreme hardship.
- Re-exam Applicants are typically only required to appear for another interview if it has been more than two years since the last interview or there have been significant amendments to the application since the previous interview.
- The interview requirement cannot be waived. Applicants will not be eligible for licensing until the interview has been completed. For more info See Board Policies and Procedure P-6.02.
May I practice while my application is pending?
Applicants who are licensed in another jurisdiction and have a pending application for admission by examination score may practice pending admission after registration pursuant to Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 7, §10.07. Applicants who are recent law school graduates may engage in supervised practice under Rule 7, § 10.04.
Must an EXPUNGED matter be disclosed?
Any matter, other than matter resolved as a Juvenile, must be disclosed to the Board in your application, even if expunged. See generally State v. Schindler, 986 S.W.2d 209 (Tenn. 1999), Wright v. Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, 277 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. 2008).
How do I withdraw my application for an exam?
To withdraw from an exam, please send an email indicating that you are withdrawing from the exam. The email must affirmatively state that you are withdrawing from the examination. An email that indicates you are considering withdrawing from the exam will not be considered as a withdrawal from the exam. Emails must be received by July 1st for a July exam and February 1st for a February exam in order to receive a partial refund ($150). Fees cannot be applied to a future exam.
What kind of color photo meets the requirements for the application?
The color photo must be 2 x 2 photo headshot, facing forward against a light colored backdrop which must be saved in .jpg format. It is similar to a passport-type photo but is not A SCAN OR PICTURE OF YOUR ACTUAL PASSPORT OR PASSPORT PICTURE. Scans or pictures of your passport or passport picture will not meet the requirements for the photo in a .jpg format. If you are scanning a photo to save as a .jpg, please make sure that it is cropped to the 2×2 headshot.
The color photo must be uploaded to each exam application, including applications for re-exam. If you are submitting a re-exam application you may use the same photo from the last application (providing that it is still representative) but it must be uploaded to the current application. Failure to upload a proper passport photo or uploading the photo in any format other than .jpg will result in a determination that you are not eligible to sit for the bar examination.
May I use my school email address as my Synergy login?
The TNBLE discourages the use of school email accounts (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Synergy as many schools disable these accounts after graduation. All correspondence from the BLE, including exam instructions and results, is sent via email to the account you registered in Synergy. If your email is deactivated you will not receive this timely and important information. You cannot change your email address in Synergy; you must request an email address change by contacting the TNBLE at BLE.email@example.com.
What are the application deadlines?
- Schedules for submitting Applications for Examination (First time or Re-exam) are as follows:
- Winter/February Examination: October 1 – December 20
- Summer/July Examination: March 1 – May 20
- These are the only times during which an exam application may be filed. If your application is not complete and paid in full by the posted deadline, you will not be eligible to sit for the examination.
- If a deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, the deadline will be the following business day.
- All items required for an application must be received by the final deadline or you will not be eligible to sit for the examination. This includes completion of all steps in the NCBE application process, including payment of the NCBE application fee and receipt by the NCBE of Authorization and Release forms.
If I am applying for Admission by Examination for the first time, when can I start/submit my Background Investigation Application to the NCBE?
> You may begin the NCBE Character and Fitness Application at any time after February 15 prior to the time applications open for the July exam or August 15 prior to the time applications open for the February examination you plan to take. For example, if you are applying for the July 2024 examination, applications open on March 1, 2024, and you can begin your NCBE application on February 15, 2024.
> However, you may not upload the .pdf of the NCBE application to the TBLE until the application period is open for submission.
How do I access the NCBE Application for background investigation?
To access and submit your NCBE Application, login to your NCBE number account and complete the online NCBE character and fitness application for background investigation. When you have completed the NCBE application form on-line, save the application and all attachments as a .pdf file. Submit the materials and payment to the NCBE as required in the NCBE instructions.
Am I eligible to sit for the exam?
Neither the Board nor the staff may offer advisory opinions on eligibility. Please refer to Rule 7 and Board Policies for admission requirements.
How do I transfer my UBE or MBE score to another state?
If you would like to have your score transferred to another state, please contact the NCBE for score services.
What application do I file to transfer my MBE score to Tennessee?
Tennessee does not accept MBE scores transferred from previous Tennessee exams or from another jurisdiction, whether or not concurrent. All applicants sit for the entire examination and only scores earned in a single administration will be considered.
When will I find out my seating assignment?
Seating assignments are emailed to applicants a week to 10 days prior to the exam. The office is unable to confirm status before assignments have been emailed.
Do I send the laptop fee with my exam fee?
Laptop fees are paid directly to the software provider during the specified registration period. Do not send the fee to the office with your exam fee. Visit ExamSoft and Laptop Instructions for more info.
Do you need a transcript from every school I attended?
No. The Board requires a transcript only from the school where you received an undergraduate (bachelor) or combined bachelor/higher degree.
When is the undergraduate transcript due? Can my school send electronic or faxed transcripts?
Official transcripts must be received on or before the final deadline. Applicants are encouraged to request their transcripts far in advance as the Board does not have the discretion to waive the deadline. Transcripts must be sent directly to the Board of Law Examiners. Electronic transcripts directly from the school or clearinghouse may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My law school grades will not be finalized before the final deadline. What should I do?
Your Law Degree Verification Form must be filed with the BLE on or before the final deadline.
- If you attended more than one law school (transferred or withdrew and enrolled at a different school), each law school you attended must submit a Law Degree Verification form, even though a degree was not conferred from each school.
- If your grades will not be finalized by the final deadline, your school must complete and submit the form for the deadline, checking the box that you are on track to graduate; once grades are finalized, the law school must submit the Late Confirmation of Degree Form (page 5 of the Law Degree Verification) no later than the Friday immediately preceding the exam.
- An applicant will not be eligible to sit for the examination if the Law Degree Verification form is not submitted by the Final Deadline or the Late Confirmation of Degree is not submitted by the Friday preceding the exam.
- The Board does not have the authority to waive or modify these requirements.
When is the Law Degree Verification due?
Law Degree Verification forms (LDV) must be received directly from your law schools on or before the Final Deadline. Applicants are encouraged to send the form to their schools far in advance as the Board does not have the discretion to waive the deadline. A link for secure upload of the LDV may be requested by the law school by emailing email@example.com.
I am having trouble uploading a document, what I am doing wrong?
All documents must be in .pdf format, except for the color photo as noted above. Other formats such as .doc, .tif, or .exe do not upload correctly.
Do I need a Certificate of Good Standing?
For applicants who are or have been admitted in other jurisdictions, the Board requires a certificate of good standing with disciplinary history from the court of highest authority (not the state bar) in all states where admitted, regardless of active or inactive status.
Can I wear a jacket, sweater, hoodie, cap, or hat at the exam?
It is advisable to dress in layers as temperature affects everyone differently and it is cool in the testing rooms. Caps, hats, or hoods, including hooded sweatshirts, jackets or shirts, are not allowed. Additionally, proctors may determine that a scarf or other item is not appropriate for the exam room and direct you to take the item to the bag drop. If so, you must follow the proctor instructions and place the item in the bag drop for the remainder of the exam. All pockets in all clothing must be emptied prior to entering the exam room. Please contact the TBLE prior to the exam if head coverings are worn for religious observance.
Can I bring in medicine?
If you have a medical need, please file for accommodations as soon as possible using the application for non- standard testing in Synergy. Non-medicated eye drops in a clear bottle with the label removed may be left on your table; otherwise you must file an application for accommodation using the application in Synergy.
Can I bring a sack lunch or a snack to have during exam?
A sack lunch can be brought to the site but must be left in the designated bag drop area during testing; it may not remain at your exam table. You must leave the exam room (and in some locations, the building) during lunch. You are permitted to have unwrapped hard candy or hard mints at your table (See below FAQ). If you have a medical need for additional food at your exam table, you need to file for accommodations using the application for non-standard testing in Synergy.
Can I bring mint, cough drops, chewing gum, or have any type of candy during the exam?
Hard mints, cough drops, or hard candy are permitted, if unpackaged/unwrapped and placed on the exam table prior to the start of the exam. Gum, soft candies, or chocolates are not permitted. Anyone chewing on hard candy during the exam will be asked to refrain from doing so as it disturbs other people testing in the area. If the conduct persists, the person will be dismissed from the exam.
Can I bring a water bottle, juice, carbonated drink, or a 5 hour energy drink?
You may bring water in a clear, unlabeled, unmarked container. No other drinks are permitted.
Can I bring tissue for my nose?
You may have up to two tissues at the exam table but the tissues must be out of the package and placed on table prior to start of exam. You may not access the package during the exam; however, tissues are available at the proctor or restroom table. It is also okay to go to the restroom during the test by following the correct guidelines given by the proctor during the instruction period.
Can I have a travel clock, a digital watch, or any watch/timer?
No clocks or watches of any kind. There will be at least one clock provided in the room that will be visible to all. Anything with a battery or that is otherwise mechanical (a wind-up watch, for example) is prohibited.
Do I need to bring any materials such as pencils, pen, or paper?
FOR THE WRITTEN PARTS OF THE EXAM (MPT AND MEE): You need to bring blue or black stick-type ink pens; up to 2 are permitted if answering your questions using a laptop, and 3 are permitted if you are handwriting the exam answers. Retractable pens are not permitted, nor are pens that store data or that can be used on a computer screen. Scratch paper is incorporated in the MPT and MEE books. White out in any form, highlighters, or pens with ink that is not blue or black, are not permitted. Gel ink is not recommended if you are handwriting as it smears easily, making answers difficult to read.
FOR THE MULTISTATE BAR EXAMINATION (MBE): You need to bring no more than 4 “Number 2” pencils and are permitted to bring one pencil-top eraser. Mechanical pencils, erasers, other than those attached to pencils or one pencil-top eraser, and pencil sharpeners are not permitted. The Board will provide pencil sharpeners. Scratch paper is not permitted.
All items brought into the exam room are subject to inspection.
How do I transfer my score from the July 2020 Remote Admissions Assessment?
Several jurisdictions entered into agreements to accept qualifying scores from the July 2020 Remote Admissions Assessment Scores under the same rules as are in place for a UBE Score. Please note that these scores expire, as do UBE scores, and you must comply with the rules of the jurisdiction to which you are transferring your score. The score on the July 2020 Remote Admissions Assessment is NOT a UBE Score and, therefore, not accepted by all UBE jurisdictions.
Scores from the following jurisdictions will transfer to or from Tennessee:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- New York
Jurisdictions that will accept the July 2020 Remote Admissions Assessment scores from Tennessee: