Tennessee Supreme Court cancels July Bar Exam

Tennessee supreme court_116806

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Graduating law students will have to wait to take their bar exam in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order Thursday canceling the July 28-29 administration of the Uniform Bar Examination in Tennessee citing the recent increase in coronavirus cases in the state.

“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,” said Bill Harbison, president of the board of law examiners. “Applicants can continue to practice even if subsequent examinations are affected by the national healthcare crisis.

“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.   

Stringent public health and safety protocols were planned.

“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,” a release from the court reads.

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 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,” the release states.

All applicants for the July 2020 exam 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 Sept. 30 to Oct. 1.


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