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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118722
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners denied me a seat for the

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The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners denied me a seat for the July 2013 bar examination claiming that my Character and Fitness application with the NCBE needs to be updated first. I contend that Rule 7 Sec. 603 (b) is a licensing requirement and not a requirement to sit for the bar examination and therefore I have a legal right to sit for the exam and update my Character application after I successfully pass the bar exam and before I receive my license.
In addition, the Tennessee Board has created other obstacles for me to overcome and also will not refund the $300. I sent with the timely submission of the application to take the July 2013 examination.
I would like to take the February 2014 bar examination and need for what I believe to be discriminatory actions to be resolved as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your consideration.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

While you contend that 603(b) is only for licensing, there is no case law to support that and no ethics decisions of the TN Supreme Court to support that. However, in support of your position, there is Rule 2.01,

To be eligible to take the examination, an applicant must file as part of the application:
(a) Evidence satisfactory to the Board that prior to beginning the study of law, the applicant had received a Bachelor's Degree from a college on the approved list of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, or the equivalent regional accrediting association, or any accreditation agency imposing at least substantially equivalent standards; and
(b) A certificate from the dean or supervising authority of the school of law in which the applicant is enrolled or from which the applicant graduated, that the school is accredited by the American Bar Association, or has been approved by the Board under Section 2.03, and that the applicant has completed all the requirements for graduation and will have the number of credit hours required for graduation by the date of the bar examination. If the latter type of certificate is furnished, a supplemental statement by the dean or other supervising authority must be made showing completion of all requirements for graduation by the date of the examination.
(c) The Board in its discretion may waive the requirement of graduation from an accredited undergraduate school if the applicant has graduated from either: (i) a law school accredited by the American Bar Association or (ii) a law school approved by the Board pursuant to section 2.03

The rule regarding qualifications to sit for the exam do not state that the NCBE must be completed before SITTING for the examination. At this point, you should also file a written appeal to sit for the bar with the TN Supreme Court, since they are the one who oversees the bar examiners.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I fulfill the requirements of 2.01: I have a Ph.D. and also a J.D. from an accredited law school (certified by Dean).

I am basing my charge of discrimination on other factors too lengthy to discuss here.

However, as you suggest, I will file an appeal with the TN Supreme Court. I will also file a complaint with the ACLU and with the Southern Poverty Law Center and with TN Senator Lamar Alexander.

Thank you for your time.

Isa Infante

Thank you for your response.

That is what I was stating though, if you fulfill the requirements in 2.01 et seq. to sit for the examination, those requirements do not have anything to do with 6.03 for licensing. The Senator cannot do much other than have someone look into the matter, it is the TN Supreme Court that has the sole discretion on licensing and examinations for the Bar in TN. If they are denying you the right to sit based only on your age/race/sex/national origin/religion/disability, then you have a claim for discrimination as well.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Although the Senator may not be able to do what I need to be done, it doesn't hurt to try because he does know people who might help. I think it more likely that the ACLU or other organizations of the type might be interested in pursuing this further. Even, as you say, there is no case law or ethics decisions of the TN Supreme Court, a civil rights group might consider a test case. I certainly cannot afford a private attorney since my sole income is a modest social security stipend and even paying the $36. for your advice constitutes a hardship for me.

I, and others I have consulted, have a strong sense there is an indication that the barriers that have been placed before me may have to do with age/race/sex/national origin/political affiliation. I need to find a group to undertake the arduous task of finding out what screen(s) are preventing me from getting my license in TN.

Thank you for your response.

I was merely letting you know about what the Senator could do. You have not paid me anything at all yet, all you have done is made a fully refundable deposit and I get nothing until you leave positive feedback.

I do not know what your reasons for claiming the discrimination are, as you said you did not want to get into them here, so I could only tell you generally that if there is evidence on those illegally discriminatory grounds causing you to not sit for the bar, then you have grounds for groups such as the ACLU or the NAACP (if it is based on race) to intervene. Also, if there is discrimination on one of those illegal grounds the US Attorney's Civil Rights Division might also investigate.

I cannot speak for any group taking this as a test case, I know nothing of your facts other than the one thing we discussed. Test cases cost money, so groups like the ACLU have to find that this situation is happening to more than just one person most times to spend that kind of money for a test case.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I do intend to give positive feedback because you have been responsive, attentive and kind and I appreciate it.

It would be interesting to do the research that a civil rights groups can do to find out how many persons in my demographic(s) have applied to take the bar exam in TN in the past ten years and how many have passed and received their licenses.

Very briefly, I want you to know of some of the barriers of which I speak. The TN bar examiners want me to:

1. file a new (not updated) application with the NCBE which means an increased fee plus getting all the original documents and recommenders once again;

2. three new and original letters of recommendation from either law professors or attorneys I've worked with. They already have three original letters from my law school professors;

3. undergo another personal interview with a local attorney. I've already undergone three interviews and passed them.

4. retake the MPRE, the professional responsibility exam which I've already taken and passed. This involves an additional fee. The former Executive Director of the TN bar examiners thinks it unnecessary since I already passed it once.


In a flurry of emails, phone calls, letters (including a certified one from the bar examiners) I found misinformation, ommisions, and a reluctance to answer my questions. The last email said that they would not give clarification on any further matters at all. Thus began my quest to find answers elsewhere. They also indicated that I could sit for the Feb. 2014 bar exam if I fulfilled their requirements, which in addition to the fee I already paid and which they will not return or apply to the next exam ($300), the additional work will cost $748.


I understand that you are not in a position to assist me any further, however, I want to thank you for your helpful information.


Thank you for your response and additional information.

I do not understand why they are requiring you to submit all of the information again if it was submitted and is current, this would indicate some other reason or possible bias to stop you from taking the examination or receiving your license upon passing. There seems, from your description, to be more to the reasons for their denial and that is what you also need to pursue and argue to the TN Supreme Court as they should not duplicates of anything you have already provided them original documents of.
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