Steps to Becoming a Lawyer in Tennessee

Nashville is Tennessee’s largest city with a population of nearly 700,000 residents. The automotive sector is the state’s largest industries. The geographical region between Oak Ridge and Knoxville has become one of the larges in the country, led by Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Tennessee is also home to the Tennessee Titans of the NFL and the Nashville Predators of the NHL. For lawyers, the mean annual salary was about 129,000. They might become certified to work in any number of areas, including family law and malpractice law. Maybe you’d like to become a lawyer in Tennessee. If so, read on.

Get Your Tennessee Undergraduate Degree First

As per the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners, you must obtain your undergraduate degree before you can get into law school. It doesn’t tell you what classes you have to take though. English, political science, sociology, psychology and government are all classes that any pre-law student should take. When it comes to a major, the American Bar Association doesn’t designate a major field of study either. It’s more interested in a student who is actively engaged in and challenged by their major. That leads to a good grade point average and a chance at getting into law school. That means you can get your undergraduate degree in any field of study that you wish. It can range from accounting to earth science. As long as you do well in it, you’ll be considered for admission into a Tennessee law school.


Take some good advice, and take a preparatory class on the LSAT. It teaches you how to take the exam, and it could make as much as a 10 point difference in your score. That’s substantial. As you’re competing nationally, it could be the difference between becoming a lawyer or a teacher. The LSAT is commonly known as the Law School Admission Test. It’s a half day long, and it’s made up of five basic components that follow:

  • Analytical Reasoning: You’re tested on your ability to make relationship structures and draw conclusions about them.
  • Logical Reasoning: These questions test your ability to understand, criticize and complete arguments.
  • Reading Comprehension: Reading and comprehending complex materials are a big part of law school. Your abilities to analyze, comprehend and complete arguments are tested.
  • Experimental Questions: These questions will be from one of the three above topics. You won’t know which one though, and you won’t know whether its’s being scored either. Always try to do as well as possible on the LSAT.
  • Writing Sample: You’ll be given a topic to write about. This portion isn’t scored either, but it goes to every law school that you apply to. Again, be sure to do as well as possible on the LSAT.


To make an application for the LSAT is easy. It’s offered in February, June, October and December in at least 10 different parts of the state. You apply to take the test through the Law School Admission Council. The cost is $215. You’ll get your results in about three weeks. Scores range from between 120 and 180. There are six ABA accredited law schools in Tennessee. Their names and the average LSAT scores for them follow:

  • University of Memphis 152
  • University of Tennessee 158
  • Vanderbilt University 166
  • Belmont University 158
  • Nashville School of Law 146
  • Lincoln Memorial University 149

There are about 200 other ABA accredited law schools scattered around the country. If you’ve scored in the high 140s or above, don’t give up. You can still take the bar exam in Tennessee.

The Credential Assembly Service

The use of this service has been made mandatory by the ABA. The Credential Assembly Service is used to gather all transcripts, letters of recommendation, evaluations, writing samples and LSATs that are used when you apply to law schools. The cost for this is $215 and $45 per school that you apply to. If you apply to only three law schools, the cost is well wort it.

Required Classes in Law School

The Tennessee Board of Law Examiner has put together an extensive list of the classes that you must take to get through law school. Just some of those classes include property. Contracts, torts, constitutional law, civil and criminal law and procedure, evidence, business organizations and trusts and estates. Law students will also be given the opportunity to engage in actual practice through an internship program. They must be careful in their internships. They’re graded too.

Taking the Tennessee Bar Exam

The next step in becoming a lawyer in Tennessee is taking and passing the bar exam. Before taking it, it’s strongly recommended that you take a preparatory class on the bar exam. Just ask around with your classmates, and you’ll know which one to attend. The Tennessee bar exam is given in February and July. It’s a two-day endeavor.  The Uniform Bar Examination is given. First, you’ll take the Multistate Board Exam consisting of 200 multiple choice questions. There will be 100 questions in the morning, and 100 more in the afternoon. Your second day will be broken up into two sections. You have two 90-minute skills-based exams from the Multistate Performance Test. Then, you’ll answer six 30-minute essay questions. Tennessee has passed at least 65% of the students taking the exam since 2011. The bar exam is graded as follows:

  • MPT: 12.5%
  • MEE: 37.5%
  • MBE: 50%

Don’t forget about the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam either. It must be taken and passed within two years of taking the bar exam with a median score of 82.

The Tennessee Law Course

Tennessee has implemented a rule that requires all bar applicants to have passed a Tennessee Law Course. The class is administered online. It must be passed within a year of being admitted.

Tennessee’s cost for taking the bar exam is $575. A repeat exam is $375. When applying to take the bar exam, make sure that you comply with all details of your bar application. If you’re one of the lucky two-thirds, congratulations! You’re a lawyer now. You can practice in any state court in Tennessee.