The Ethics and Professional Liability Practice at Adams and Reese represents and advises attorneys, law firms, their clients and other businesses that retain lawyers about all aspects of the law. Occupying a unique niche, our lawyers combine an intensely practical approach with many years of experience representing clients and providing leadership, both nationally and locally, on issues of legal ethics and lawyering. In representing lawyers, we do for them what they do for their clients: we take on an often complex problem, so that they can more effectively focus on their work of representing clients.

Recent assignments have included defense of lawyers and law firms in disciplinary investigations and proceedings; counseling clients with disciplinary and other claims against lawyers; advising law firms about ethics, loss prevention and claims; and defending and prosecuting motions to disqualify lawyers or impose sanctions. We also advise clients with disputes with their lawyers or who are simply seeking a second opinion about their lawyer’s conduct. We regularly assist bar applicants and attorneys with bar admission issues.

We also work with businesses that do business with, or seek to do business with, lawyers, advising them on law ranging from the legal ethics rules and other issues and regulation that may affect how they do business.

Our Attorneys

For more than a decade, members of our team have been involved in the successful drafting and adoption of lawyer ethics rules, both at the state and national level. Firm lawyers have been substantively involved in all of the most recent revisions of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which are now the model for lawyer ethics rules in virtually every U.S. jurisdiction. Firm lawyers have led the revisions to ethics rules in Tennessee for over a decade.

Because of their knowledge of and central role in this process, and their real-world experience, our lawyers are frequently called on not only to represent clients with serious or cutting-edge issues, but also to testify as experts. Our lawyers regularly provide expert witness testimony in matters concerning legal ethics, professional responsibility and the standard of care for lawyers and law firms. On both a state and national basis, team members write and speak frequently on legal ethics and professional responsibility.

Core Practice and Clients

Our clients include not only lawyers and law firms, but also businesses and individuals who work with lawyers. Practice areas include:

Ethics and Loss Prevention: advising law firms on ethics issues arising in investigations, lawyer advertising, conflicts of interest, law firm systems, claims by clients and others, and circumstances that might lead to claims

Motions to Disqualify Counsel and Sanctions: representing lawyers, their clients and other opposing parties in litigation where courts are considering disqualifying or sanctioning lawyers.

Legal Malpractice Defense: defending lawyers and law firms in claims by clients and others for malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims.

Disciplinary Investigations/Prosecutions: defending lawyers in connection with disciplinary complaints filed with their state bars, as well as representing clients and others who are considering filing or pursuing complaints of misconduct against lawyers.

Advice to Businesses Serving the Legal Market: providing advice and counsel to business owners who serve or deal directly with lawyers and law firms, from litigation funding companies to web-based lawyer-advertising or lawyer-matching services, on regulatory, ethics, and other legal considerations in doing business in the legal services market. 

Bar Admission: representing applicants for admission to the bar.

Expert Witness Testimony: serving as consulting and testifying experts in matters concerning legal ethics, professional responsibility, and the standard of care for lawyers and law firms.