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FAQ Without Examination


Tennessee Board of Law Examiners

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 for Comity/MJP applications filed after January 1, 2016. For a certified copy 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.

  • Fees apply:
  • Copy Fee: $20
  • Archive Retrieval Fee: $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 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.

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. Any applicant licensed to practice in a foreign country must submit at least 3 letters from attorneys or judges in such foreign country certifying that the applicant is in good standing at that bar, or was in good standing at that bar when the applicant left that foreign country.

Which Application do I select?

If you are licensed in another jurisdiction, you may qualify for admission without examination. See information on this site for Comity Admission if you have been engaged in the full-time active practice of law for 5 of the last 7 years. If you are working for an organization in Tennessee as In-House Counsel, you may wish to register your active license from another jurisdiction as  In-House Counsel. 

Can I qualify for admission without examination if I have been in practice for fewer than 5 of the last 7 years?

No. You must have been engaged in the full-time active practice of law for 5 of the seven years immediately preceding the date of your paid Tennessee application. See Section 5.01(c) of Rule 7 under Governing Authorities for details on what constitutes time in practice.

Does time working as In-House Counsel or for the federal government count as time in practice for comity admission?

For work to qualify as time in practice, you must have an active license in good standing in at least one U.S. jurisdiction. If you have been employed as In-House Counsel, your time will count towards the durational requirement if you are licensed in the jurisdiction in which you are employed or, if not in a jurisdiction where you are employed, you are practicing as In-House Counsel as required by the rules of that jurisdiction. For example, if you are in a jurisdiction that requires In-House Counsel to register and you have registered, your time as In-House Counsel will count towards your required time in practice if within the 7 years immediately preceding your application. If registration was required but you did not register, your time will not count. If your legal education was received at a non-ABA accredited school or if you were educated in a country outside the United States or its territories, you are not eligible for admission without examination.

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.

Who must be interviewed and when are interviews conducted?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The interview requirement cannot be waived. Applicants who are not currently licensed, active, and in good standing in at least one jurisdiction 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. 

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?

To withdraw your application, please send an email indicating that you are withdrawing your application. The email must affirmatively state that you are withdrawing. An email that indicates you are considering withdrawing will not be considered as a withdrawal.

Do you need a transcript from every school I attended?

No. We only need a transcript from the school where you received an undergraduate (bachelor) or combined bachelor/higher degree and where you received your law degree.

I am having trouble uploading a document, what I am doing wrong?

All documents must be in .pdf format. Other formats such as .doc, .tif or .exe do not upload correctly. If your document is not saved as a .pdf, you cannot upload it.

Do I need a Certificate of Good Standing?

Applicants admitted in other jurisdictions must provide 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.

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.