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An Important Alert for Tennessee In-House Counsel from Adams and Reese LLP:

Are you licensed in Tennessee? If not, act before
June 30, 2010, or lose your chance at “amnesty.”

For many years, Tennessee law has required that in-house lawyers working in Tennessee be fully licensed as Tennessee lawyers. In-house lawyers practicing in Tennessee but not admitted in Tennessee have been at risk of unauthorized practice of law (UPL) accusations and disciplinary charges. If you are an at-risk in-house lawyer, and don’t act soon, you will forever lose a clear shot at forgiveness.

Effective January 1, 2010, the Tennessee Supreme Court created a new, easier option for in-house lawyers licensed in other states to practice as in-house lawyers in Tennessee without the burden of full Tennessee bar admission. Now lawyers admitted only in other states may work as in-house lawyers in Tennessee, if they merely file a short-form application, pay a fee, and undergo a background check. No bar exam required.

But what about those Tennessee in-house lawyers not in compliance now with the law because they have been practicing here, but not admitted? The Supreme Court approved an “amnesty” period through Wednesday, June 30, 2010, for out-of-compliance lawyers to register as in-house lawyers and avoid questions about past noncompliance.

It is very important for Tennessee in-house lawyers not licensed here to take this very limited opportunity to come into compliance with so little effort and cost.

For complete information on taking advantage of this amnesty period and becoming registered, visit http://www.state.tn.us/lawexaminers/HowToApply.htm#MJP.

Please forward this message to any in-house counsel you know who might not be fully licensed in Tennessee, or to any in-house lawyer who supervises other in-house lawyers who might not now be in compliance. Prompt action is required.

We have helped a number of in-house lawyers and their employers address issues of licensure and admission to the Tennessee bar, and stand ready to help you navigate the new rules.

Lucian Pera
Brian Faughnan