Walker v. The Board Of Professional Responsibility Of The Supreme Court Of Tennessee

38 S.W. 3d 540 (2001)


D placed an advertisement for divorce services in the Chattanooga News Free Press TV Magazine. The ad states in its entirety: 'DIVORCE, BOTH PARTIES SIGN, $ 125 + COST, NO EXTRA CHARGES, Ted Walker, [address & telephone number].' P filed a complaint against D alleging that this advertisement listed divorce as a specific area of practice but did not include the disclaimer required by DR 2-101(C) of the Code of Professional Responsibility. DR 2-101(C) provides: A lawyer who publishes or broadcasts a communication with regard to any area of law in which the lawyer practices shall: . . . (3) if the lawyer has not been certified as a specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization in an advertised area in which certification is available, state with respect to each such area, 'Not certified as a (area of practice) specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.' D argued that his advertisement fully complied with the United States Supreme Court's decision in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona. D agreed to change his advertisement to add the required disclaimer. P issued an Informal Admonition and D sent a letter to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel asking that the proposed discipline be vacated and that a formal proceeding be initiated. P filed a petition for discipline. P filed a 'Supplemental Petition for Discipline' for D's running of two more ads. The TV guide ad stated: 'DIVORCE, BOTH PARTIES SIGN, $ 90.00 + COURT COSTS $ 89.50, No 'Extra' Charges, TED WALKER, [phone number], Not certified as a specialist by the TN Commission on Certification and Specialization.' The second ad in the Business Directory Section did not contain the 'not certified' statement. D alleged that the ad in the TV Guide did not use 'the precise language required by the Tennessee Supreme Court in quotation marks within Tenn. R. S. Ct. 8, DR 2-101(C), with no variations or abbreviations, an interpretation adopted by the Board in Tennessee Formal Ethics Opinion 95-F-137.' D entered a 'no contest plea' to both the Petition for Discipline and the Supplemental Petition for Discipline. D was privately reprimanded. D appealed.