Time Running out for In-house Counsel Working in Tennessee to Register with BLE

June 23, 2016

All in-house counsel members working in the state that do not have a Tennessee law license must register with the Board of Law Examiners before July 1 or face discipline and a bar examination in order to continue practicing in Tennessee.

The July 1 deadline marks the end of an amnesty period granted by the Tennessee Supreme Court in January, when changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct and attorney licensing policies went into effect.

After July 1, in-house counsel starting work in Tennessee without a Tennessee license to practice law will have 180 days from the commencement of their work here to register with the Board. Any attorney who fails to register by the amnesty deadline or within 180 days of starting work here will face:

1.    Professional discipline in this jurisdiction;

2.    Ineligibility for admission without examination (Comity); and

3.    Required referral by theBoard of Law Examiners to the Board of Professional Responsibility and to the disciplinary authority of the jurisdictions of licensure.

For more details visit the BLE website.

Q&A on In-House Counsel Requirements:

Do I have to register?

If you are In-House Counsel for a corporation and you are located in Tennessee, you MUST register as In-House Counsel/MJP (Tenn. Sup. Ct. Rule 8, RPC 5.5 (d) and Rule 7, Section 10.04).

What is the deadline for registration?

You must submit your application to register as In-House Counsel/MJP within 180 days of commencement of employment as In-House Counsel in Tennessee.

What are the consequences for failing to register?

Failure to register as In-House Counsel carries dire consequences:

1.    the lawyer is subject to professional discipline in this jurisdiction;

2.    the lawyer is ineligible for admission without examination (Comity); and

3.    the Board of Law Examiners is required to refer the lawyer to the Board of Professional Responsibility and to the disciplinary authority of the jurisdictions of licensure.

How do I register as In-House Counsel?

The process for submitting an Application to Register as In-House Counsel/MJP is completed on-line. Information and instructions for registration can be found here.