Tennessee Supreme Court Cancels July Bar Exams Over COVID-19 Concerns


The Tennessee Supreme Court announced on Thursday it was canceling the July 28-29 administration of the Uniform Bar Examination.

The court’s order is available here.

Although stringent public health and safety protocols were planned for the administration of the July 2020 examination, 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.

The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday also cancelled its July bar exams, Law.com reported.

On Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 46,890 confirmed cases, a one-day increase of 1,575.

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Supreme Court said the state had the largest single-day increase in new cases. In the past week, all three locations for the July exam, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville, reported their highest single-day increases. The court also expressed concern that some of the biggest gains came from people between the ages of 22 to 35, and pointed out that these ages comprise the majority of those who take the exam.

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.

Lawyer applicants who have not already been rescheduled to February 2021 should plan to take the exam from Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

“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. Applicants can continue to practice even if subsequent examinations are affected by the national healthcare crisis,” said Bill Harbison, President of the Board of Law Examiners.  “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.”

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Tennessee State Supreme Court Justices” by Tennessee Courts.







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