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Tennesse Supreme Court Adopts New Rule of Professional Conduct Regarding Unidentified Trust Funds

On November 21, 2019, the Board of Professional Responsibility (the Board) and the Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection (TLFCP) jointly petitioned the Tennessee Supreme Court to adopt new Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15(f) allowing attorneys to remit unidentified trust funds in a IOLTA account to Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. This amendment, which has been adopted in several jurisdictions, offers a practical solution to the dilemma of unidentified trust funds in an IOLTA account after an attorney has unsuccessfully attempted to ascertain ownership of the funds for 12 months. By Order filed June 5, 2020, the Tennessee Supreme Court adopted RPC 1.15(f). By using a form made available by the Board and TLFCP, a lawyer may remit unidentified funds to TLFCP. An attorney who remits funds in error may later file a claim for return of the funds. TLFCP will return funds remitted in error after verification.

Supreme Court of Tennessee Amends Rule 25

On May 8, 2018, the Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection filed a Petition to Amend Rule 25 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court. By Order filed May 9, 2018, the Court solicited public comment regarding proposed amendments to Rule 25. The Court has received comments from the Knoxville Bar Association (“KBA”), the Chattanooga Bar Association (“CBA”), and attorney Terry Cox. The Court has carefully considered the comments received and thanks the KBA, the CBA, and attorney Cox for the same.

After due consideration, the Court hereby amends Rule 25 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court in the form set out in the Appendix to this Order. The Amendments to this Rule shall be effective immediately.

The Clerk shall provide a copy of this Order to LexisNexis and to Thompson Reuters. In addition, this Order shall be posted on the Tennessee Supreme Court’s website.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Amended Rule 25 APPENDIX