What to Expect
You may expect that the Board and Disciplinary Counsel will be genuinely concerned with your complaint. No complaint is ignored. Your complaint will receive full and prompt attention. You'll be required to sign your complaint.
An attorney who is a full-time salaried employee of the Board may ask you for additional information regarding your complaint.
You may be called as a witness to testify under oath if the Board authorizes filing formal disciplinary charges against the attorney based upon your complaint. Because of the number of complaints that are received and the various steps of disciplinary procedure, you may expect the process to take some time. Disciplinary hearings are held before a hearing panel composed of three volunteer, unpaid hearing committee members appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The procedure at a disciplinary hearing is similar to that in court trials. A record is kept by a reporter. Testimony is given under oath. Rules of evidence and civil procedure are observed. Attendance of witnesses and the production of records may be compelled by subpoena.
The decision of the hearing panel is made in the form of a written report and recommendation to the Board.
The hearing committee report is reviewed by the Board. Both the attorney-respondent and the Board have the right to appeal the report and recommendation of the hearing panel.
All hearing panel recommendations go to the Supreme Court for review and final action.
You'll receive the Board's services without charge. The funds for the operation of the disciplinary system in Tennessee are obtained through an annual assessment paid by every practicing lawyer in Tennessee. The Board receives no funds from the public.