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Graduates of Foreign Law Schools

Foreign-Educated Applicants may qualify for admission by examination or transferred UBE score if all eligibility requirements are met. There are two paths for admission based on foreign legal education. The first path found in Rule 7, § 7.01(a), requires you to have foreign education that is substantially equivalent to the educational requirements for applicants educated in the United States. The second path found in Rule 7, § 7.01(b) provides an alternative to the education only provisions of § 7.01(a) and requires, in addition to a foreign legal education degree, licensing in the foreign jurisdiction, time engaged in the active practice of law in the foreign jurisdiction and an LL.M. from an ABA-accredited law school in the United States.

  • PATH 1 – § 7.01(a): 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 foreign 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, you 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.
  • PATH 2 – § 7.01(b) 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 below; and
      • you are admitted in a foreign jurisdiction and have practiced law in that jurisdiction for five of the eight years prior to your application, as explained further below.  
    • LL.M. Degree requirements if Education is not Substantially Equivalent: 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 which must:
      • prepare students for admission to the Bar and for effective and responsible participation in the United States legal profession;
      • teach the courses for the LL.M. Degree in English; and
      • 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. 
      • provide certification that you received a qualifying LL.M. by providing the Legal Studies in U.S. for Foreign-Educated LL.M. Verification, available below, to your law school and having your law school submit the completed form 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. 
    • Admission in foreign jurisdiction requirements if education is not substantially equivalent:
      • You must be licensed 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. Include with your application the Affidavit of Foreign Practice, available below, to document your time in practice.

Documentation Requirements for all Applicants Admitted in a Jurisdiction other than in the United States: For any applicant, whether or not educated outside the United States, who is licensed to practice law in a jurisdiction other than in the United States, you must furnish with your application the following:

  • 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.