News and Publications

The Board of Professional Responsibility provides these online resources to help keep the legal community and the public informed about the Board's actions and legal happenings throughout the state of Tennessee.

Latest News


Two New Formal Ethics Opinions

The Board of Professional Responsibility recently issued two new Formal Ethics Opinions. The first Formal Ethics Opinion, 2017-F-163, is regarding Prosecutors' ethical obligations to disclose information favorable to the defense. Click here to read Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-163.

The second Formal Ethics Opinion, 2018-F-165, is regarding the ethical implications of a website owned and operated by a company on which businesses and invidivuals may post a description of legal services for which they are seeking representation and lawyers/law firms may subsequently submit quotes for the cost of the legal services. Click here to read Formal Ethics Opinion 2018-F-165.

Spring 2018 issue of Board Notes

The Spring 2018 issue of Board Notes is now available.  Board Notes is a semi-annual publication of the Board of Professional Responsibility which offers articles of interest and other information to Tennessee attorneys and judges such as recently-issued Formal Ethics Opinions and recent Disciplinary Actions.  Click here to read the Spring 2018 issue of Board Notes.

Ethics Workshop 2017

Three-hundred attorneys attended the Board of Professional Responsibility 2017 Ethics Workshop which was held on November 3rd at the Nashville School of Law.  Each attorney attending had the opportunity to earn 6.5 hours of dual CLE credits at a cost of $106. Prominent speakers included Ed Yarbrough on ethics in criminal law; Ashley French from Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program discussed effective coping skills; Justice Roger Page and Judge Brandon Gibson spoke on social media and professionalism; Judge Joe Riley shared information about trust accounting and Bill Ramsey addressed an attorney’s competent use of technology. Additionally, Laura Chastain addressed advertising; Laura Chastain, Krisann Hodges, Beverly Sharpe and Sandy Garrett presented a panel on everyday ethical dilemmas; and Sandy Garrett discussed “Raising Cain” in the courtroom.  Click here to view photos from the workshop.

Rule 9 Amendment

On March 13, 2017, the Board of Professional Responsibility filed a petition asking the Court to amend Rule 9, Section 32 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The petition proposed to amend the Rule Section in order to clarify that hearings are open to the public, unless subject to a protective order.  On August 30, 2017, the Court granted the Board’s Petition.  Click here to read the Order.

Rule 8 Amendments

On July 11, 2016, the Tennessee Bar Association filed a petition asking the Court to amend Rule 8 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court. In summary, the TBA proposed to amend selected portions of 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 entered an order soliciting comments on the proposed amendments. The Court received comments from the Board of Professional Responsibility and the Knoxville Bar Association. After due consideration, the Supreme Court entered an Order on March 6, 2017, adopting the proposed amendments as set out in the Appendix attached to the Order. The amendments took effect immediately upon the filing of the Order (read Order here).

Rule 19 Amendment

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.

New Formal Ethics Opinion

The Board of Professional Responsibility was requested to issue a Formal Ethics Opinion regarding the opening and operation of a proposed interstate law firm, using a trade name, SETCO Law (the “Firm”). Interstate law firm partnerships are permitted if they comply with The Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct. Such interstate law firm partnerships may use a tradename if it complies with RPC 7.1 and RPC 7.5. Interstate law firm partnerships may lease space from a title company if there is a distinct separation between the law firm and the title company with regard to entry way, signage, letterhead, business cards, etc., and the customers of the law related services are advised that the protections of the client-lawyer relationship do not apply to the provision of the law related services of the title company, preferably in writing. Read Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-164.

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 related articles assist lawyers and judges by providing helpful information and tools to improve lawyer wellness and our profession.

**Notice to Fax Recipients**

Please be advised that effective immediately the Board of Professional Responsibility will be sending releases of information by email and will no longer be sending releases of information by facsimile.

If you are a judge, you will receive releases by email.  If you are not a judge and want to continue receiving releases, please send your email contact information to

Additionally, please note that all releases can also be accessed by clicking on "Informational Releases" in the "News and Publications" section of this website.

The Board and staff appreciate your interest in the Tennessee Supreme Court's disciplinary system.

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