Attorney suspended for 25 months after insider trading plea - WSMV News 4

Attorney suspended for 25 months after insider trading plea

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Jim Cope (WSMV file photo) Jim Cope (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

James Cope, the former county attorney for Rutherford County, was suspended for 25 months, according to a release from the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Cope pleaded guilty to insider trading in 2016, and pursuant to the rules governing the discipline of attorneys, the Tennessee Supreme Court immediately suspended him and referred the matter to the Board of Professional Responsibility for formal proceedings to determine his final discipline.

Cope, through his law firm, previously served as county attorney for Rutherford County government.

Cope purchased stock in Avenue Bank based on non-public information he received as a member of the Board of Directors for Pinnacle Financial Partners. Cope pleaded guilty to insider trading in federal district court.

Cope argued he should be suspended for 25 months retroactive to his summary suspension in October 2016.

When the Board of Professional Responsibility sought an order of enforcement from the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Court proposed that the attorney’s discipline should be increased.

After arguments, the Tennessee Supreme Court analyzed the circumstances of the case and the discipline imposed in other cases where attorneys were convicted of felony offenses. The Court concluded that the hearing panel’s judgment must be modified to conform to discipline imposed in other cases.

While the Court agreed that a 25-month suspension was appropriate under the circumstances, the Court ordered that the suspension period would begin upon the filing of the opinion in May 2018.

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