Skip to main content
Belmont University logo

Tim Chinaris


Timothy P. Chinaris is Associate Dean for Information Services and Professor of Law at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tennessee. Dean Chinaris oversees the College of Law Library and related services. He teaches courses in legal ethics, torts, insurance law, and sales. Before joining the faculty at Belmont, he held similar positions at other law schools. Dean Chinaris is licensed to practice law in Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, 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 25,000 phone calls from lawyers with questions about ethics and professionalism.

 Dean Chinaris holds 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. Before joining the Florida Bar he was an associate in Dallas with what is now the law firm of Godwin Lewis PC.

Active in professional organizations, Dean Chinaris chairs the Tennessee Bar Association’s General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm Section and is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee. He is a presenter on professional responsibility for the Tennessee Law Course component of the Tennessee Bar Exam. Dean Chinaris is immediate past chair of the Florida Bar Committee on Professionalism and the Alabama State Bar Non-Resident Members Section. Additionally, he is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association Attorney Well-Being Committee, the Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee, the Alabama State Bar Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, the Alabama State Bar Lawyer Referral Board of Trustees Committee, and the Alabama State Bar Non-Resident Members Section Executive Council.

Dean Chinaris previously served as Commissioner on the Alabama Ethics Commission, chair of the Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee, past president of the Florida Bar Out of State Division, and chair of the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Rules and Enforcement Committee. He is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society, a Director of the World War I Historical Association, and a member of the National Advisory Board of the Theodore Roosevelt Association. He was an expert witness in the first case decided under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Dean Chinaris authors the comprehensive legal ethics website “” and co-authored the ethics treatise Florida Legal Malpractice and Attorney Ethics. His next book, Florida Legal Ethics, will be published by West Academic Publishing in 2020.

Areas of expertise: Legal ethics, judicial ethics



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). | SSRN

“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). | SSRN

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). | SSRN

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). | SSRN

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

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). | SSRN

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

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

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

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

Legal ethics web site “” (