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Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-159

On September 11, 2015, the Board of Professional Responsibility issued Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-159 responding to the question, "May an attorney ethically store confidential client information or material in “the cloud”? 

37th Annual Report

The Board has issued the 37th Annual Report representing Fiscal Year 2017/2018 which provides a summarized overview of activities throughout the year.

Access to Justice Pro Bono Donations

On March 31, 2015, the Supreme Court of Tennessee entered an Order amending Tenn. Sup. Ct. Rule 9, Sections 10.10 and 10.2, providing a voluntary funding mechanism for attorneys to contribute to access to justice programs when renewing their annual registration with the Board of Professional Responsibility.   Read more…

Recent Supreme Court Opinions

The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld the decision by a hearing panel of the Board of Professional Responsibility to suspend Anderson County lawyer Yarboro Sallee’s law license for one year. The Court held that the sanction was appropriate in light of the multiple ethical violations Ms. Sallee committed.


In 2010, Ms. Sallee was hired to file a wrongful death action arising out of the death of the clients’ daughter. They agreed to pay her an hourly rate,

Board Notes Newsletter Spring 2016

The latest issue of Board Notes, Spring 2016, is now available.  Board Notes is a semi-annual publication of the Board of Professional Responsibility which offers information to Tennessee attorneys and judges such as recently-issued Formal Ethics Opinions; Supreme Court Rule amendments; information about Board members and Hearing Committee Members; and recent Disciplinary Actions.  

Supreme Court Amends Rule 9, Sec. 5.4(c)

On October 6, 2015, the Tennessee Supreme Court entered an Order amending Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, § 5.4(c) regarding the confidentiality of attorneys’ ethics inquiries to the Board of Professional Responsibility and the Board’s responses to those inquiries.  This newly-amended section now reads as follows*:

“An advisory ethics opinion may be issued by Disciplinary Counsel orally when there is readily available precedent.&

Criminal Law Practice

Criminal defendants account for nearly 50% of complaints filed by the 3,800 legal consumers who contact the Board’s Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) each year. The practical pointers included in this article are taken directly from complaints received. The primary ethical rule involved is given before each section of practical pointers

Amended Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160(a) "Client Files"

Amended Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160(a) "Client Files"

The Board of Professional Responsibility has been requested to issue a Formal Ethics Opinion as guidance for lawyers regarding the lawyer's responsibility with regard to client files.  Click here to read Formal Ethics Opinion 2015-F-160.

Amendment to Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 22

By Order filed February 1, 2016, the Court solicited public comments on a proposed amendment to Rule 9, Section 22 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court to further clarify discipliknary measures when an attorney received judicial diversion for a criminal offense. By Order filed May 9, 2016, the Court adopted an amendment to Rule 9, Section 22, adding an additional subsection, 22.7, as set out in the attached Appendix.

Department of Revenue Professional Privilege Tax Due June 1st

The Tennessee Department of Revenue would like to remind all licensed professionals about the June 1 due date of the professional privilege tax.  The $400 professional privilege tax is an annual tax imposed on certain professionals who hold an active license or registration on the June 1 due date, regardless of whether the person practices his or her profession in Tennessee.


For a list of professionals subject to the professional privilege tax, visit http://www

Special Edition Board Notes

The Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP), the Board of Professional Responsibility, the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education have partnered to publish this Special Edition Board Notes.  The focus of this newsletter is the recently released study by the American Bar Association/Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation on substance use and other mental health concerns among American attorneys.  We are hopeful this study and the relat

Board-sponsored Ethics Workshop

The Board of Professional Responsibility’s 2017 Ethics Workshop was held November 3, 2017 at the Nashville School of Law. Featured topics at the workshop included ethics in criminal law; "Raising Cain in and with the Court;" social media and professionalism; trust accounting; an attorney's competent use of technology; everyday ethical dilemmas; and Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP).  The registration fee for 6.5 hours of dual CLE credit w

Tennessee Supreme Court Amends Rule 8

On July 11, 2016, the Tennessee Bar Association filed a peition asking the Court to amend Rule 8 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court. In summary, the TBA proposed to amend selected portion sof Rule 8 in light of similar revisions to the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct that were adopted by the ABA's House of Delegates in August, 2012. In addition, the TBA also proposed a number of housekeeping amendments to Rule 8. On August 18, 2016, the Court en

Spring 2017 Board Notes

The Spring 2017 issue of Board Notes, the Board of Professional Responsibility's semi-annual newsletter is now available.

New Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-162 -- Workers Compensation

The Board of Professional Responsibility was requested by the State of Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Department of Labor and Workforce Development to issue a Formal Ethics Opinion regarding the extent to which an ombudsman attorney may provide “limited legal advice” within the meaning of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 50-6-216(e)(3) which provides that “[a]n ombudsman who is not a licensed attorney shall not provide legal advice however, an ombudsman who is a lice

Rule 19 Amendment - Appearance Pro Hac Vice

Amendment to Rule 19 – Appearance Pro Hac Vice  

On January 25, 2017, the Supreme Court of Tennessee entered an Order amending Rule 19 to eliminate a potential conflict between Rule 19 and Rule 7, section 5.01(g)(8).   Read Order.

Supreme Court Amends Rule 9, Section 32

On August 30, 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court entered an Order granting the Board’s Petition to Amend Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, Sec. 32.1, which clarifies that hearings are open to the public unless subject to a protective order.