Local attorney's law license temporarily suspended

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   The law license of an Elizabethton-based attorney has been temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court of Tennessee, according to a release of information issued by the Court's Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR).
   The Supreme Court temporarily suspending the law license of Douglas Paul Jones on Aug. 23, according to BPR information released Wednesday.
   According to a release of information issued by the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court, Jones license was suspended upon finding "that Mr. Jones presents a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public in that he has abandoned his law practice."
   The Board's Disciplinary Counsel filed a petition with the Supreme Court after receiving information from three lawyers and his secretary that Jones had abandoned his law office, according to the BPR's statement.
   "We have the authority to ask the Supreme Court for an immediate suspension where we think the lawyer presents an immediate harm to the public," William W. Hunt, III, disciplinary counsel for the Board told the Star on Thursday.
   "Because we believe Mr. Jones had in effect abandoned his law practice, we believe he did present such harm to the public."
   Hunt said Jones could represent his current clients for 30 days from the date of his license suspension but could not accept any new clients. After Sept. 23, he was prohibited from representing all clients.
   The Board's order requires Jones to notify all clients of the Supreme Court's order suspending his law license. Supreme Court rules requires Jones to deliver to all clients any papers or property to which they are entitled.
   Jones had previously maintained his law office at the Charles Crockett Law Office at 116 S. Main Street in Elizabethton.
   An answering machine reached at Jones' home telephone number on Thursday afternoon reported the mailbox was full and requested callers to try again later.
   The suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the Supreme Court. Jones may petition the Supreme Court to request dissolution or modification of the suspension.
   Hunt said the Board of Professional Responsibility would be investigating "underlying complaints" about Jones. He said no timetable on the length of the investigation or when a hearing on the suspension would take place.
   "We are not talking about next week or next month," Hunt said of the investigation.