TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jul 22, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court has rejected a petition for an emergency rule waiver that asked the court to waive the bar examination requirement of the Tennessee Rules for Admission to the Bar and grant diploma privilege to those currently registered for the July, September and February 2021 bar exams. The petition argued that the COVID-19 pandemic “created exceptional circumstances in Tennessee which warrants emergency diploma privilege” and included impact statements from applicants on the hardships they have experienced because of the pandemic. The deans of four Tennessee law schools also expressed support for the petition. The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners opposed the petition arguing that “exempting certain bar applicants from taking a competency examination poses an unreasonable risk of harm to the public.” The board also noted that the court had already taken several steps to address issues faced by recent law school graduates. The court said that while it is sensitive to the hardships and challenges faced by the graduates, it did not believe the measure was in the interest of the public and the administration of justice.