Legal Ethics

Tennessee Adopts New Attorney Licensing Rules

attorney licensing rulesWith the new year, comes new attorney licensing rules in Tennessee.

Last March, the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners (TBLE) sought to amend Supreme Court Rules 6, 7, and 8 which govern the admission and licensing of the state’s attorneys.

In December, the Court officially approved a number of the proposed changes, repealing Rule 7 in its entirety, replacing it with a revised rule, subsequently requiring the Court to amend Rule 6, Rule 8, and Rule 43.

One of the changes includes allowing attorney military spouses to obtain temporary law licenses if their spouses are serving in the state or at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

This license is effective for two years and those who are admitted under these special circumstances are subject to the same membership obligations of the rest of the Tennessee bar, including fees and CLE requirements.

Likewise, an applicant seeking comity admission in Tennessee may be admitted to practice if he/she meets all necessary educational requirements; has been admitted by bar examination in another US jurisdiction; has been engaged in “active” practice in at least one US jurisdiction for five of the seven years immediately prior to the filing of the application; is in good standing in all of his/her admitted jurisdictions; possesses the character and fitness to practice; and is not subject to any disciplinary matters.

On top of these admissions and attorney licensing rules, the Court now permits lawyers with degrees from non-accredited ABA schools in other US jurisdictions who have practiced for five years, the opportunity to sit for the state’s bar exam. In addition to this, applicants of the Tennessee bar who have attended law schools in foreign countries are now required to obtain an onsite LL.M. taught in English at an ABA accredited school or Tennessee approved law school.

All of these changes to Rule 7 officially took effect on January 1st this year.

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