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Registration for In-House Counsel and Foreign Legal Consultants

The Application to Register as In-House Counsel is limited to lawyers who are admitted to the practice of law in another U.S. jurisdiction or as a Foreign Legal Consultant, to lawyers admitted to practice law in a country other than the United States and territories, and who are employed as a lawyer by an organization, the business of which is lawful and consists of activities other than the practice of law or the provision of legal services, and who has a systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction pursuant to Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 8, RPC 5.5(d)(1). The process for submitting a Tennessee Application to Register as In-House Counsel is completed online at synergy.tnble.com

Lawyer’s working as In-House Counsel or Foreign Legal Consultants must register within 180 days of establishing a systematic and continuous presence in Tennessee. A lawyer who opts to submit an application for admission by examination, transferred UBE score, comity or as spouse of a military service-member rather that register as In-House Counsel or a Foreign Legal Consultant is not protected by the 180 day grace period and should register for practice pending admission.

Registration is governed by Section 10.01 of Rule 7 of the Tennessee Supreme Court Rules. To register as In-House Counsel/Foreign Legal Consultant in Tennessee, you must provide two applications – the NCBE Character and Fitness Application (the “NCBE application”) found at www.ncbex.org and the Tennessee application for registration as In House Counsel/Foreign Legal Consultant, found at synergy.tnble.com (the “Tennessee application”). You must finalize your NCBE application before you begin your Tennessee application but you do not need to request a background investigation; you are only completing the online application (see Step 2, below). There is a separate fee for the NCBE application and the Tennessee application. Both can be paid by credit card online after you finalize the online applications. You may also pay by cash, money order or check. The TBLE cannot accept payment without a Synergy application. Hard copies of applications are not accepted.  Tennessee Applications to Register as In-House Counsel/Foreign Legal Consultant are governed by Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Section 10.01. Additional Instructions can be found in Steps 3 – 5, below.

Please follow the steps below to register as In-house Counsel or Foreign Legal Consultant:

STEP 1: Read and familiarize yourself with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7 and the Board Policies and Procedures, found under Governing Authorities in the menu list or by clicking the links. .

STEP 2: 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 BLE applicant process.

STEP 3: Login to www.ncbex.org  using your secure account and complete the character and fitness application. Be sure to select the In-House Counsel option from the drop down labeled “application type” in the section after selecting which jurisdiction you are applying to. An online payment is required for this application; the payment link is accessible from the NCBE Application Home Page. You may skip the Fee Schedule section by clicking on “Next Question” as the displayed fees do not apply to In-House Counsel applicants. Be sure to also check In-House Counsel from the drop down for “Applying As” in the Personal Information section of the application. Save the application as a .pdf and include all forms and supporting documentation. You do not have to request a background investigation; you only need the completed application.

STEP 4: Navigate to Synergy at synergy.tnble.com for the Tennessee Application. Complete the new user registration and submit. You will receive an email to confirm your registration. Once you have completed the confirmation, you may log in to Synergy. From the dashboard select “Application for In-House Counsel”. Complete the application, then click Finish. Your application will display for review. Once you have reviewed your application, click on “submit and finalize” (bottom left button)

STEP 5: Once your application has been finalized, return to the dashboard and click the “details” button next to the application. From there you will upload the following documents, please note all documents must be in .pdf format:

  • .a .pdf file of the NCBE application completed online including a bar-coded application number and all attachments that were uploaded to the NCBE, as created in Step 3, above;
  • for lawyers licensed in any U.S. state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory, 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; 
  • for foreign lawyers, a certified copy of the record or license of the court which admitted you to practice in such country and 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. 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.
  • an affidavit from your employer verifying that you serve as In–House Counsel (see Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Section 10.01 (a)(4)); and
  • any and all attachments to the application.

STEP 6: The In-House Counsel Application* fee of $600 may be paid online by credit card after completing the online Synergy application. A convenience fee will be charged as a separate transaction; the amount depends on the type of card used. Fees paid by check or money order must be payable to the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners and mailed to our office at TBLE, 511 Union Street, Suite 525, Nashville, TN 37219, or paid in person by check, money order, or cash. Please be sure to clearly mark your name and NCBE number on the check.

FAILURE TO REGISTER: A lawyer who fails to register within 180 days of commencement of employment may register but will be required to pay a late registration fee in addition to the application fee, will be subject to discipline, and will be ineligible for admission under section 5.01. See Rule 7, section 10.01(h)

A foreign lawyer who was and remains employed as In-House Counsel by a corporation in Tennessee at the time this Rule was amended to require registration has until September 30, 2019 to register under Rule 7, section 10.01.

RE-INSTATEMENT of In-House Registration: See Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Article 10.01(g). This is not an online application process. Print out and complete the Application for Reinstatement of Registration: In-House Counsel application found at the bottom of this page. Complete the form and attach the requested documents. Mail or hand-deliver the original to the Board of Law Examiners, 511 Union Street, Suite 525, Nashville, TN, 37219 with your check or money order made payable to the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.