Bar Exam

Tennessee adds fall bar exam after reducing seating for July test, allows longer supervised practice

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Seating is limited for would-be lawyers taking the Tennessee bar exam in July, so the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners has taken the unprecedented step of scheduling a fall exam to help accommodate those who didn’t get a seat.

Seating for the July exam is limited to no more than 50% of the customary number to comply with restrictions on gatherings under COVID-19 orders, according to a policy adopted by the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners that was affirmed by the state supreme court May 11. More information is available here.

Priority for seats at the July exam will be given to 2019 or 2020 graduates of law schools in Tennessee who are taking the exam for the first time. The fall exam will be given Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, according to a press release and a May 21 letter sent to Tennessee lawyers.

In addition, the Tennessee Supreme Court has extended the time that a would-be lawyer can practice law under an attorney’s supervision. Spring and summer law graduates who applied to take the July bar exam can engage in supervised practice through Nov. 15, 2021, according to an April 2 state supreme court order.

The extended deadline also applies to lawyers licensed in other states who applied for the July bar exam.

Tennessee is one of only six states offering an extra exam in 2020, according to the letter sent to Tennessee attorneys.

“We are all navigating new and difficult times in a rapidly changing landscape,” the letter said. “Even with all of these changes, over 800 applicants will have the chance to take the Tennessee Bar exam, receive their grades, and be admitted to practice law before the end of 2020. And applicants need not wait until they are fully licensed to practice—your new associates can begin working today under the supervised practice provisions.”

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