The Tennessee Supreme Court today ordered that the July 2021 bar exam be held as a remote, computer-based test because of continued concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. The February 2021 bar exam is also being held remotely. The July 2020 exam was originally canceled and moved to October, and then was held remotely in October.
In the Order, the Court concludes many of the exam’s traditional test takers, who are typically in their 20s, will likely not be vaccinated by July 2021, and restrictions on holding a large, indoor, two-day event will still be in place. The Court’s Order modifies Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7 to allow for a remote, computer-based exam.
“We recognize the continued hardships that the pandemic has placed upon applicants to the Tennessee bar,” the Court said in its Order. “The decision to remotely administer the July 2021 Uniform Bar Examination balances the interests of the applicants, the interests and safety of the public, and the administration of justice as they relate to the licensing and admission of attorneys.”
The National Conference of Bar Examiners is preparing a remotely administered Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) that will be utilized. Applicants who pass the online bar exam will be eligible for admission in Tennessee and any of the 35 other states that accept a UBE score. Tennessee first adopted the UBE in 2018, with the first UBE exam given in February 2019.
“The Board of Law Examiners is pleased to be able to provide aspiring attorneys with a remote UBE exam,” said Jeff Ward, president of the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners. “We wanted to provide test takers with a decision as quickly as possible so they can plan and prepare.”
Registration for the July 2021 bar exam will open on March 1, 2021. Passage rates for the October 2020 remote exam were similar to those of previous July bar exams.