Faculty Profiles

Tim Chinaris

Tim Chinaris

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Professor of Law
B.A., Florida State University; J.D., University of Texas School of Law; M.A., Florida State University

Phone: (615) 460-8264
Email: tim.chinaris@belmont.edu

Timothy P. Chinaris is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tennessee.  Dean Chinaris has operational responsibility for the College of Law's academic program and teaches courses in insurance law, legal ethics, and other subjects.  Before joining the faculty at Belmont, he held similar positions at Faulkner University's Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in Montgomery, Alabama, Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, and Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is licensed to practice in Alabama, Florida, and Texas, and is admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.

Dean Chinaris was Ethics Director of the Florida Bar from 1989-1997.  His responsibilities included managing the Bar's popular "ethics hotline" service, which annually answers more than 20,000 phone calls per year from lawyers with ethics questions.

Dean Chinaris has a bachelor's degree cum laude in Business Administration from Florida State University, received his J.D. with Honors from the University of Texas School of Law, and earned his master's degree in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University.  After graduating from law school, he clerked for the Texas Court of Appeals.  Prior to accepting a position with the Florida Bar, he was an associate in Dallas with what is now the law firm of Godwin Lewis PC.

Dean Chinaris writes on legal ethics for various publications and speaks to local, state, and national organizations on a wide range of professional responsibility issues.  He is President-elect of the Florida Bar Out-of-State Division and Chair of the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Rules and Enforcement Committee.  He has served on and chaired the Professional Ethics Committee of the Florida Bar and has served on state bar unauthorized practice of law committees in Alabama, Florida, and Virginia.  Dean Chinaris advises lawyers and others on professional responsibility and law library matters.  He has served as an expert witness on legal ethics matters, including in the first case decided under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Dean Chinaris co-authors the comprehensive ethics treatise “Florida Legal Malpractice and Attorney Ethics” (published annually) and the legal ethics website "sunEthics."


Florida Legal Malpractice and Attorney Ethics (American Legal Media 2015) (with Warren Trazenfeld and Robert Jarvis).

We Are Who We Admit:  The Need to Harmonize Law School Admission and Professionalism Processes with Bar Admission Standards, 31 Miss. C. L. Rev. 43 (2012).

“New Directions in Professionalism,” report prepared for the Florida Bar Center for Professionalism, August 2009.

Florida Ethics Guide for Legal Assistants and Attorneys Who Utilize Legal Assistants (4th ed., Fla. Bar Continuing Legal Education, 2006).

Even Judges Don’t Know Everything:  A Call for a Presumption of Admissibility for Expert Witness Testimony in Lawyer Disciplinary Proceedings, 36 St. Mary’s L. J. 825 (2005).

More Than the Camel’s Nose:  The Sarbanes-Oxley Act as Bad News for Lawyers, Clients, and the Public, 31 Ohio Northern Univ. L. Rev. 359 (2005).

Chapter on “Ethics, Professionalism, and Discovery” in Virginia Discovery, primarily authored by Jeffrey Kinsler (West Publishing 2005).

Florida Professional Responsibility in 1999:  The Rules of the Game, 24 Nova L. Rev. 199 (Fall 1999) (with Elizabeth Clark Tarbert).

Professional Responsibility:  1998 Survey of Florida Law, 23 Nova L. Rev. 161 (Fall 1998) (with Elizabeth Clark Tarbert).

The Ethics of Ethics Consultation:  The Consulted Lawyer’s Perspective, The Professional Lawyer, 1997 Symposium Issue.

Florida Professional Responsibility Law in 1997, 22 Nova L. Rev. 215 (Fall 1997) (with Elizabeth Clark Tarbert).

Professional Responsibility:  1996 Survey of Florida Law, 21 Nova L. Rev. 231 (Fall 1996).

Professional Responsibility in Florida:  The Year in Review, 1995, 20 Nova L. Rev. 223 (Fall 1995).

Ethics As Law:  High-Impact Teaching of Legal Ethics, featured on the front page of law.com, March 6, 2001.

Answers to Frequently-Asked Ethics Questions, 65 Florida B. J. 49 (January 1991).

Legal ethics web site “sunEthics.com” (www.sunethics.com).