On September 11, 2023, the Supreme Court of Tennessee suspended attorney Brian Chadwick Rickman from the practice of law for violation of several rules of professional conduct.
The case is entitled “In re: Brian Chadwick Rickman,” and was brought by the Board of Professional Responsibility, case no. M2023-01224-SC-BAR-BP.
The charges cited Rickman’s violation of Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2 (Scope of Representation), 1.15 (Safekeeping Property and Funds), 3.4 (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), 5.1 (Responsibilities of Supervisory Lawyers), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), 8.3 (Reporting Professional Misconduct), and 8.4(d) and (g) (Misconduct).
The Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The disciplinary action arose from a petition for discipline against Rickman concerning a specific case where Rickman was alleged to have repeatedly failed to ensure the safekeeping of client funds, failed to protect clients against the misconduct of his supervising employer, and failed to report the misconduct of his supervisors to the court or to the Board. Furthermore, Rickman failed to comply with court orders directing the disbursement of client funds and failed to comply with requests for information from Disciplinary Counsel. Additionally, Rickman, while suspended from the practice of law, failed to notify the court and opposing counsel of his suspension in compliance with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, § 28.
According to the court filing, Mr. Rickman through counsel filed an answer to the petition, and the Board of Professional Responsibility subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motion for summary judgment on January 13, 2023.
On May 25, 2023, a final hearing was held to discuss sanctions. On June 9, 2023, the Hearing Panel submitted its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, concluding that Rickman had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct as charged. Rickman did not file an appeal.
Accordingly, after thorough consideration of the case, the Court ruled against Rickman and suspended the latter for a period of five years, with two years served as an active suspension and the remaining three years on probation.
As part of the suspension order, Rickman is required to fulfill certain conditions before being eligible for reinstatement. These conditions include meeting with a Practice Monitor monthly and cooperating with an evaluation by the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program. If he fails to meet any condition, probation may be revoked.
Prior to seeking reinstatement, Rickman must meet all continuing legal education (CLE) requirements and settle all outstanding registration fees and professional privilege taxes.
Additionally, the Supreme Court of Tennessee has directed Rickman to cover the expenses and costs related to the disciplinary case, which amount to $2,374.50 inclusive of the $100 filing fee paid to initiate the proceedings.
At the time of writing, Mr. Rickman’s professional profile indicates that he practiced in Memphis, Tennessee prior to the suspension. He attended the University of Memphis – Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. He acquired his law license in Tennessee in 1995.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.