Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 30, 2020

Tennessee Supreme Court orders remote bar exam

The Tennessee Supreme Court has issued an order approving remote administration of the February 2021 Uniform Bar Examination, citing the continuing risk associated with large gatherings due to the pandemic and the increase in COVID-19 cases in the state.

A “remote examination” means the examination will be administered in the applicant’s home or location of choice.

The in-person and remote examination will be administered Feb. 23 and 24 and will consist of two Multistate Performance Tests, six Multistate Essay Questions and 200 Multistate Bar Examination questions.

Scores earned on the examination will be portable Uniform Bar Examination scores.

The NCBE is the national organization that develops, produces and controls the licensing tests used by most United States jurisdictions for admission to the bar. It coordinates the Uniform Bar Examination, which results in score portability, and determines the dates and conditions for conducting testing using any of their materials.

In entering its order, the court recognized the hardships COVID-19 has placed upon applicants to the Tennessee bar, as well as the interests of the applicants, the public and the administration of justice as they relate to licensing and admission of attorneys.

“We continue to balance the need for applicants to the Tennessee bar to be afforded an opportunity to move forward in the licensing process with the need to protect the public by establishing that new lawyers meet the basic competency required of attorneys in Tennessee,” says Justice Roger Page, liaison to the Board of Law Examiners.

“This balance must be part of the discussion as we continue to navigate a pandemic that limits social interaction. Remote examination that results in a portable UBE score provides that balance.”

Tennessee was one of 20 jurisdictions that administered a remote examination to July 2020 applicants, with 683 Tennessee applicants participating in the remote assessment that was administered to over 30,000 applicants Oct. 5 and 6.

“Remote testing is a wonderful option for our applicants and offers a legitimate assessment of competency,” says Bill Harbison, president of the Board of Law Examiners. “The remote UBE will be given on the same dates as the in-person testing and applicants will not experience delays in results and licensing due to the limitations cause by the pandemic.”

The court ordered additional modifications to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, section 11.03, and approved new board policies and procedures related to remote administration of the examination. These are located at www.tnble.org.

Source: Tennessee Supreme Court