Tim Chinaris

Tim Chinaris

Professor of Law

College of Law

B.A., Florida State University; J.D., University of Texas School of Law; M.A., Florida State University



Timothy P. Chinaris is Professor of Law, and former Associate Dean, at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tennessee. Professor Chinaris teaches courses in legal ethics, torts, insurance law, and sales. Before joining the faculty at Belmont, he held similar positions at other law schools. Professor Chinaris is licensed to practice law in Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, and Texas, and is admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. 

Professor 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 almost 30,000 calls and emails from lawyers with questions about ethics and professionalism.

Professor 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, Professor Chinaris chairs the Tennessee Bar Association Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee and is on the executive council of the Tennessee Bar Association General, Solo, and Small Firm Section. He is an author and presenter on professional responsibility for the Tennessee Law Course component of the Tennessee Bar Exam. Professor Chinaris has chaired bar association ethics and professionalism committees in Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida.  In addition to the TBA Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee, he currently serves on the Alabama State Bar Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, the Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee, the Florida Bar Committee on Professionalism, and the Florida Bar Student Education and Admission to the Bar Committee.

Professor Chinaris previously served as a public official in two states: as Commissioner on the Alabama Ethics Commission, and Trustee of the Jacksonville Florida Public Library System. He is a Trustee and Vice-president 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 for the prevailing party in the first case decided under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Professor Chinaris authors the comprehensive legal ethics website “sunEthics.com” and co-authored the ethics treatise Florida Legal Malpractice and Attorney Ethics.

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 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).