On December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court of Tennessee filed an Order re-appointing for a second term the following members of the Board of Professional Responsibility: J. Russell Parkes, Michael E. Callaway, Margaret Craddock, and Wade V. Davies. The Court also appointed Odell Horton to replace Clarence Halmon, whose second term as a Board Member expires on December 31, 2013. The Order states that J. Russell Parkes has been appointed as Chair of the Board, and Michael U. King as Vice-Chair. These appointments and re-appointments are effective January 1, 2014.
The role of the Board is to aid the Court in supervising the ethical conduct of Tennessee attorneys. The Board of Professional Responsibility is comprised of nine lawyer members and three non-lawyer members who offer an enhanced and balanced perspective of the professional responsibilities of the legal profession. Board Members are not compensated for their service.
Click here to read a copy of the Court's Appointment Order.
On August 30, 2013, the Tennessee Supreme Court filed comprehensive changes to Supreme Court Rule 9 governing attorney discipline. Changes to new Rule 9 address reinstatements; confidentiality; recusal; practice monitors; attorneys convicted of crimes; incapacitated attorneys; appointment of a receiver; appeals and attorney suspensions for default of student loans.
The effective date of the Court's new Rule 9 is January 1, 2014.
Click here to read a copy of the Court's Order and the new rule in its entirety.
On August 30, 2013, the Supreme Court entered an Order amending Tennessee Supreme Court Rules 21, 33 and 43 in order to make these rules consistent with revised Rule 9. These impact the annual registration fee paid by Tennessee attorneys to the Board of Professional Responsibility.
The effective date of the amendments to Rules 21, 33 and 43 is January 1, 2014.
Click here to see a copy of the Court's Order amending Rules 21, 33 and 43.
On September 4, 2013, the Supreme Court entered an Order amending Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 13 to permit the Administrative Office of the Courts to reduce fee claims paid to attorneys owing unpaid disciplinary costs to the Board of Professional Responsibility. The effective date of this rule change is January 1, 2014.
Click here to read a copy of the Court's Order and the addition to Rule 13.
Click here to read the Board of Professional Responsibility's newly-issued Formal Ethics Opinion 2013-F-157:
Question: Is it a conflict of interest for a lawyer who was appointed guardian ad litem to subsequently represent another interest in a matter regarding the child for whom the lawyer was appointed guardian ad litem?
Conclusion: RPC 1.7 would permit a lawyer representing a child or the child's interest as GAL pursuant to SCR 40 or 40A to represent another interest(s) only if other interest(s) was consistent with and did not compromise or interfere with the GAL's exercise of their independent judgment on behalf of the child or the child's interest and did not require the lawyer to violate RPC 1.6 or 1.8(b) by revealing information relating the representation or using such information to the disadvantage of the child or the child's interest. However, other statutes and/or rules of substantive or procedural law appear to prohibit a lawyer from serving as GAL while representing other interest(s) in the same matter. RPC 1.9(a) would permit a lawyer who formerly represented the child and/or the child's interest as GAL pursuant to SCRs 40 and/or 40A to represent another subsequent interest(s) in the same or substantially related matter only if the interest(s) is consistent with the interest of the former client/child and does not violate RPC 1.9(c) by revealing information relating the former representation or using such information to the disadvantage of the child or the child's interest. A lawyer who formerly represented the child or the child's interest(s) as GAL pursuant to SCRs 40 and or 40A could represent adoptive parents in the subsequent adoption proceeding only if the adoption is consistent with the interests of the former client/child and they did violate RPC 1.9(c). It would be advisable to secure consent or permission from the judge who had appointed the lawyer as GAL to represent the other interest.
By Orders filed on March 18, 2013; April 23, 2013; May 1, 2013; and June 21, 2013, the Supreme Court appointed or re-appointed Hearing Committee Members to assist with the disciplinary process. Hearing Committee Members review Disciplinary Counsels' recommendations regarding resolution of complaints and serve on three-member hearing panels conducting formal disciplinary hearings. Hearing Committee Members are not compensated for their service.
- Click here for the Orders filed March 18, 2013.
- Click here for the Order filed April 23, 2013.
- Click here for the Order filed May 1, 2013.
- Click here for the Order filed June 21, 2013.
The Board of Professional Responsibility regularly announces public disciplinary
actions and judgments taken by the Board and the Supreme Court of Tennessee and other
relevant information to the public and the legal community. For more
information click here.
Recent decisions by the Supreme Court of Tennessee of interest to Tennessee attorneys:
- Supreme Court upholds nine-month suspension for Chattanooga attorney continued... (August 9, 2013)
- Supreme Court denies reinstatement to suspended Williamson County attorney continued... (June 24, 2013)
- Supreme Court affirms costs assessed to disciplined attorneys; rejects challenges to disciplinary process continued... (May 24, 2013)
The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) helps people with
questions or problems with their Tennessee lawyer. Many problems may be
resolved by providing information, contacting the lawyer, or informally
mediating the dispute.
When serious unethical conduct may be involved, complaints will be referred to
Disciplinary Counsel for consideration as to attorney discipline.