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Licensure & Discipline
James Holt Walker was reinstated to the practice of law on March 19 after complying with Supreme Court Rule 21, which requires mandatory continuing legal education. Walker, a lawyer in Hixson, was suspended on Jan. 29, 2002.
The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended the law license of Davidson County lawyer James D. McWilliams on March 19 based on his plea of guilty to the serious crime of felony child abuse. The court also ordered the Board of Professional Responsibility to institute a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline. The suspension remains in effect until dissolved or amended by the court.
The law license of Nashville lawyer Philip K. Lyon was suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court on March 22 for one year. The court also ordered Lyon to enter into a secured promissory note payable to a former client in the amount of $42,500 and make full restitution to the client before being reinstated. The court acted after Lyon self-reported improper handling of his trust account funds, failure to protect client property, and use of funds for his own benefit. He was found to have violated Supreme Court Rules 1.15 (b) and (d) and 8.4(a), (b) and (c). The court also ordered him to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.
The Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended the law license of John E. Clemmons on April 2 after finding that Clemmons misappropriated funds to his own use and determined that his continued practice of law posed a threat of substantial harm to the public. The suspension remains in effect until dissolved or modified by the court.
Dyersburg lawyer Martin L. Howie was suspended on April 5 for three years, with one year to be served on active suspension, retroactive to Feb. 8, 2011, and the other two years to be probated subject to several conditions. Those conditions include making restitution to former clients, participating with the Tennessee Lawyer’s Assistance Program and hiring a practice monitor. The Board of Professional Responsibility filed a petition for discipline against Howie based on 11 complaints that he accepted fees but then neglected cases and failed to communicate with clients. In addition to the client complaints, another complaint was filed for his failure to provide the Tennessee Supreme Court with advance notice before the day of trial in a criminal case related to his suspension for noncompliance with continuing legal education requirements. The court determined that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.16, 3.2, 8.1 and 8.4.
BOARD OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT ACTIONS
The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct issued a public censure and public reprimand to Third Judicial District Circuit Court Judge John K. Wilson on April 5. The board reports that the censure is a result of Wilson’s conduct at a 2011 deposition as well as his failure to abide by a resolution and agreement previously reached with the Court of the Judiciary (the board’s predecessor organization). The reprimand was because of an improper ex parte hearing and improper ex parte relief granted with respect to a petition to modify a permanent parenting plan.
A public censure requires Wilson to personally appear before the board, which will meet next in August.
Administrative Suspensions Now Online
Notice of attorneys suspended for, and reinstated from, administrative violations — including failure to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility fee, file the IOLTA report, comply with continuing legal education requirements and pay the Tennessee professional privilege tax — is now available exclusively on the TBA website.
Visit www.tba.org/directory-listing/administrative-suspension-lists to see administrative suspensions imposed since 2006.
Compiled by Stacey Shrader Joslin from information provided by the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Licensure and disciplinary notices are included in this publication as a member service. The official record of an attorney’s status is maintained by the board. Current information about a particular attorney may be found on the board’s website at www.tbpr.org/consumers/attorneysearch.