Instructions for Application for Admission by Transferred Uniform Bar Examination Score
Be sure to select the NCBE Character and Fitness Application for Background Investigation for UBE Score Transfer. Do NOT submit an NCBE background investigation for exam or comity admission.
The process for submitting an Application for Admission to the Tennessee Bar by Transferred Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) Score is completed online at synergy.tnble.com. Admission by Transfer UBE Score is governed by Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Section 3.05 and Board Policy P-3.05. Tennessee does not provide courtesy or concurrent seating. Applicants by Transferred UBE Score must have already earned a qualifying score in one exam administration in order to apply for admission.
STEP 1 OF 6
Read and familiarize yourself with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7 and the Board Policies and Procedures, found under "TN Supreme Court Rule 7" in the bar at the top of this page or under Governing Authorities in the list to the left or by clicking the link. The full version of Rule 7 and the Board Policies are at the bottom of the Governing Authorities page.
STEP 2 OF 6
Go to www.ncbex.org and create a secure NCBE number account. The NCBE number will be required on all forms completed for the NCBE and the TBLE application process.
STEP 3 OF 6
Go to www.ncbex.org and complete the character and fitness application. You may begin the NCBE Application at any time within six (6) months prior to the date your application is received by the TNBLE. When you have completed the application form on-line, save the application and all attachments as a .pdf file. Submit the materials and payment to the NCBE in Wisconsin as required in the NCBE instructions. You will upload the saved .pdf file to your Synergy Application as provided in Step 5, below. Failure to provide complete information may result in denial of your application. A duty of candor applies (Rule 7, Sec. 6.04).
Note: The NCBE application and all attachments must be submitted to the NCBE and a .pdf uploaded to your Synergy Application. You will upload the saved .pdf file to your Synergy Application as provided in Step 4, below. A detailed checklist with mailing instructions is available after finalizing your online NCBE application. Your NCBE application will not be complete until you have complied with all of the requirements included in the checklist sent by the NCBE, including receipt by the NCBE of any required mailings.
FAILURE TO PROVIDE COMPLETE INFORMATION MAY RESULT IN DENIAL OF YOUR APPLICATION. A DUTY OF CANDOR APPLIES (Rule 7, Sec. 6.04).
Expunged matters: A matter that has been expunged MUST be disclosed unless it is a matter that was resolved as a juvenile. 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).
Important Note: The NCBE and the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners are separate entities. The NCBE conducts background investigations for the TBLE. Submitting documents only to the TBLE or only to the NCBE will not meet the filing requirements and will not constitute a complete application. You MUST submit your application to the NCBE and upload a .pdf of your complete NCBE application to your Tennessee Synergy Application (see Step 4). Your licensing will be delayed if you submit the application only to the NCBE or only to the TBLE.
STEP 4 OF 6
A link to the Tennessee application portal can be found in the upper right corner of this page. Click on the Synergy tab and complete the new user registration and submit. Upon completion of your Synergy registration, you will receive an email to confirm your registration (check your spam if you do not receive the email and be sure to add "@tncourts.gov" to your trusted senders). Once you have completed the confirmation, you may log in to Synergy from the website or by clicking here. From the dashboard select “Application for UBE Score Transfer Applicant”. You will have a chance to review your answers before you “submit and finalize” the application. Be sure to read and answer each question fully. Failure to provide complete information may result in denial of your application. A duty of candor applies (Rule 7, Sec. 6.04).
NOTE: Applicants for admission on transferred UBE score who are not licensed and/or are not in good standing in another jurisdiction must appear for an in person interview, which will be scheduled after your background investigation is completed. Interviews are conducted three times per year. Applicants who are licensed and in good standing in another jurisdiction may, in the discretion of the Board, be required to appear for an in person interview.
STEP 5 OF 6
Once you have finalized the Synergy online application, return to the Dashboard and click the “details” link next to the application (looks like a magnifying glass). From that screen, you will upload the required documents listed below in .pdf format unless otherwise noted. Certain third party forms must be sent directly from the third party to the TBLE, as noted below. An application for admission by transferred UBE score consists of the following items:
- the application for admission by transferred UBE score – completed online at synergy.tnble.com;
- the .pdf file of the NCBE application completed online with all attachments, created in Step 3, above;
- an official NCBE Score Report sent directly from the NCBE to the TBLE of a score that meets the requirements of Rule 7 and Policy P-3.05, both found here;
- your current resume (.pdf format only);
- undergraduate transcripts for degrees earned (Bachelor’s or above) mailed directly from the school or transcript service to the TBLE (see additional information below including petition requirement for undergraduate degree from non-SACS approved* schools);
- completed Law Degree Verification and Certificate of Dean of Law School form from every law school attended; disclosure form from Non-ABA approved law* school, other than Tennessee law schools approved by the Board (mailed directly to the TBLE office, see additional information below) REQUIRED FORMS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE END OF THIS PAGE;
- if you are licensed in another U.S. jurisdiction*, certificates of admission and of good standing for each jurisdiction in which you have been admitted (.pdf format only) – some states use one form for both but certification of admission to the highest court and of current good standing before the Bar are both required for admission (see below for more information);
- if you received your legal education outside the United States*, District of Columbia or U.S. territories, an equivalency evaluation and/or completed Certification of Dean of Legal Studies in the U.S. form and Affidavit of Practice in Foreign Country, and letters from three attorneys in each country in which you are licensed who can verify that you are licensed and attest to your practice in that country; see Rule 7, Section 7.01 and Policy P-3.05 and P-7.01, all found here;
- if you attended a law school outside of Tennessee that was not an ABA-accredited law school* at the time of your graduation, proof of licensing in the jurisdiction in which the law school was located and an Affidavit of Past Practice; and
- full payment of fees.
STEP 6 OF 6
Submit the $625 application filing fee (ONLINE by credit card only after the Synergy application is finalized and submitted OR by CHECK OR MONEY ORDER payable to the TN Board of Law Examiners; do not mail cash) to the Board of Law Examiners, 511 Union Street, Suite 525, Nashville, TN 37219. Please be sure to clearly mark your full name and NCBE number on the check or money order. Credit card service fees, sometimes called convenience fees, charged by the vendor will be paid directly to the vendor in a separate transaction.
OTHER INFORMATION: TRANSCRIPTS, FORMS AND ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
Undergraduate Transcript. Order an official transcript from the school where you received your bachelor’s and/or master’s degree(s) and have the transcript sent directly to the TBLE. DO NOT send a transcript from every school you attended, only from those where a degree was conferred. Electronic or PDF transcripts are not accepted. Transcripts must be sent directly to the Board for the application to be complete.
Law Degree Verification. Print the Law Degree Verification and Dean Certification Instructions and forms for each law school attended, even if you did not complete your degree at the school (see forms below). For each law school, complete and have the Authorization and Release form notarized and send ALL pages to your law school Dean for completion, including Instructions. Forms must be sent directly to the Board by your law school for the application to be complete.
BOTH THE UNDERGRADUATE TRANSCRIPT AND THE LAW DEGREE VERIFICATION FORM MUST BE SENT TO THE TENNESSEE BOARD OF LAW EXAMINERS DIRECTLY FROM THE SCHOOL OR CLEARINGHOUSE AND MUST CONTAIN THE SCHOOL SEAL.
*Applicants who are admitted in other jurisdictions, educated at a non-ABA approved out-of-state law school or an unaccredited undergraduate college, or have an undergraduate or law degree from a foreign country have additional requirements that must be filed in order to be eligible for admission by transfer UBE score. Please refer to Rule 7, Board Policies and Procedures, the application, and directions below for information.
Waiver of Non-Accredited Undergraduate Education including Foreign Undergraduate Degree (U.S. J.D.)
If you received your undergraduate education from a college that was not on the approved list of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (SACS) or equivalent regional accrediting association, or you received your undergraduate education at a school located in a foreign country, you must include with your application a request for waiver with evidence that your undergraduate education is substantially equivalent to an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited school, see Rule 7, Sec. 2.01(c). For applicants who received their legal education in a foreign country and who did not receive a J.D. from an ABA-accredited or Tennessee-approved law school, see Foreign-Educated Applicants, below.
Other Bar Admissions. If you have ever been admitted in another jurisdiction you must submit certification, dated within the last 6 months, from the highest court of each state in which you are or have been licensed, indicating (1) that you are admitted to the highest court of the jurisdiction and (2) the standing of your licensed in the jurisdiction (good, inactive, suspended, etc). This may be a single or multiple certificates, depending on the certification process of each state. A certificate from the state bar is not sufficient unless the State Bar is the agency charged with maintaining the official admission and disciplinary records. If you become licensed in another jurisdiction while your Tennessee application is pending, you must amend your application and provide certification of admission to the highest court and good standing.
If your legal education was received in a country other than the United States, you may qualify for admission on transferred UBE score if you meet the requirements for eligibility. There are two paths to qualify:
1. Foreign Education is "Substantially Equivalent" to a U.S. Bachelor's Degree or higher and a J.D. Degree: You must satisfy the Board that your undergraduate education and legal education were substantially equivalent to the requirements of Sections 2.01 and 2.02 of Rule 7 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court. This means that your foreign education degree(s) must be substantially equivalent to a Bachelor's degree or higher and a Juris Doctorate degree, but this does not necessarily mean that two separate foreign-earned degrees are required. Proof of equivalence to both degrees must be shown. To substantiate your education, applicants must submit a comprehensive evaluation that includes a course-by-course evaluation, determination of equivalency, plus authentication of transcripts (the “Foreign-Education Report”) from a Credential Evaluation Service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (www.naces.org). The Foreign-Education Report must be sent directly to the Board of Law Examiners by the company performing the evaluation. See Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 7 § 7.01(a). NOTE: If you are licensed in a foreign jurisdiction, you must comply with the provisions in paragraph 3 below.
2. Foreign Education is not "Substantially Equivalent" but have a Law Degree from a Foreign Jurisdiction: You do not have education that is substantially equivalent to the requirements of Sections 2.01 and 2.02 of Rule 7 but have completed a course of study in and graduated from an accredited law school in a foreign jurisdiction, and you have an LL.M. Degree that meets the requirements and is certified as provided in sub-paragraph a, below, and you are licensed in a foreign jurisdiction and have practiced law in that jurisdiction for five of the eight years prior to your application, as explained further in sub-paragraph b, below.
a. LL.M. Degree: You must have been awarded, by a law school fully accredited by the ABA or a Tennessee law school approved by the Board under section 2.03 of Rule 7, an LL.M. Degree that meets the following requirements:
i. LL.M. Requirements: The LL.M. program:
* must prepare students for admission to the Bar and for effective and responsible participation in the United States legal profession;
* must teach the courses for the LL.M. Degree in English; and
* must be taught and attended by applicant on site at the ABA- accredited or Tennessee-approved law school in the United States or its territories; distance learning of any kind is not permitted.
ii. Certification of LL.M.: In order to document that the LL.M. Degree meets these requirements, you must provide the Legal Studies in U.S. for Foreign-Educated LL.M. Verifcation, available below, to your law school and such form must be submitted by your law school directly to the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners. You must complete the first page of the form, have it notarized and send it to your U.S. law school.
b. Admission in foreign jurisdiction: You must be admitted to practice in a foreign jurisdiction and in good standing at the bar of the foreign jurisdiction and you must have been engaged in the active practice of law in the foreign jurisdiction, as defined in section 5.01(c) of Rule 7, for at least five of the eight years prior to applying for admission to the Tennessee bar. See paragraph 3, below, for documentation required to certify that you are licensed in a foreign jurisdiction. Include with your application the Affidavit of Foreign Practice, available below, to document your time in practice.
3. Documentation of License to practice in a jurisdiction other than in the United States: For any foreign-educated applicant who is licensed to practice law in a jurisdiction other than one in the United States, you must furnish with your application the following:
a. A certified copy of the record or license of the court which admitted you to practice in such country;
b. At least three (3) letters from attorneys or judges in such country certifying that you are in good standing at that bar, or were in good standing at that bar when you left that country; and
c. Documents provided to the Board of Law Examiners must be translated to English by a certified translator with a copy of the original text provided.
Applicants for admission on transferred UBE score must have achieved an MPRE score of 82 or higher within two years to be eligible for admission.
Applicants who are licensed, active and in good standing in another jurisdiction and who are using an expired MPRE score pursuant to Rule 7, Section 4.07(c), must provide proof of an MPRE score of 82 or higher.
See Rule 7, Sec. 4.07 and Board Policy P-4.07(d)(1)-(4) for additional information. For Information Regarding MPRE Test Dates, Sites, Fees, visit http://www.ncbex.org/exams/mpre.
SPECIAL NOTES FOR ALL APPLICANTS
SCORE EXPIRATIONS: UBE scores are valid for admission for three years from the date grades were released in Tennessee for the exam in which the score was earned . You must complete all requirements for admission within that time or your scores expire; however, if you are licensed in another jurisdiction, you may use an expired UBE score if you have practice for 3 of the preceding 5 years. See Rule 7, Sec. 3.05 for additional information.
AMENDMENTS TO APPLICATION: While your application is pending, if you have supplemental, new or different information to report, you must print and complete the application amendment form (see files below). Once completed, the form should be saved as a .pdf file and uploaded to your Synergy application under 'Applicant Additional Documentation'. Changes to your personal address and phone number are done in Synergy (https://synergy.tnble.com) in your system profile (My Profile Page). To change an email address only, please email BLE.firstname.lastname@example.org to request the change. Please note that if your NCBE background investigation is still pending, you are required to amend your application with the NCBE as well. Visit www.ncbex.org for amendment requirements.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT PRACTICE PENDING ADMISSION, GOVERNING AUTHORITIES, THE TENNESSEE LAW COURSE AND FEES, PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK TO FIRST TIME EXAM APPLICATIONS.