Supreme Court Rule Permits Deduction of Unpaid Disciplinary Costs From Attorney Indigent Defense Claims

September 5, 2013

The Tennessee Supreme Court has added a provision to Supreme Court Rule 13 that will permit the Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) to deduct unpaid costs from attorneys’ entitlement to compensation for indigent defense.

Recently, the BPR reported that a small number of Tennessee attorneys were receiving payment for court-appointed services while failing to pay their obligations for costs incident to their disciplinary proceedings.

Under the new provision to the rule, the Administrative Office of the Court’s (AOC) audit process for such fee claims will take into consideration any unpaid amounts due the BPR. The revised rule provides the AOC with the authority to deduct the amount of any unpaid costs from the fees earned by representing indigent clients.

The rule will go into effect January 1, 2014. Click here to read a copy of the Court’s Order and the addition to Rule 13.