Clients call on me for advice to help extricate them from serious challenges or capitalize on unusual opportunities in legal ethics, media law, and the First Amendment arenas. I do my best to get them to the most productive outcome.
Lucian Pera’s practice focuses on legal ethics work, media law, and commercial litigation.
Lucian is one of the nation’s leading legal ethics practitioners. For more than 30 years, Lucian has represented lawyers, law firms, clients, and those who do business with lawyers and law firms, on the widest possible array of issues relating to legal ethics and the regulation of lawyers. His practice is national in scope.
The ABA Center for Professional Responsibility recently bestowed on him the prestigious Michael Franck Award, their highest award for work in the field of ethics and professional responsibility over his career. For twenty years, in addition to his work as a practicing ethics lawyer, he has been a leader at the highest levels of the ABA on revisions to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and other important lawyer conduct issues.
Lucian was the youngest member of the ABA “Ethics 2000” Commission that rewrote the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. He recently served three years as chair of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility. He speaks and writes extensively on the ethical and regulatory aspects of the rapidly-changing legal services market. He is founding chair of the Practising Law Institute’s annual full-day program, “The Ethics of NewLaw.”
Known for his command of legal ethics issues, Lucian represents clients in matters ranging from lawyer discipline defense to lawyer malpractice defense to expert witness work. He also represents and advises clients — including lawyers and their firms and other businesses — on a wide range of potential business ventures, especially ventures and business models new to the legal services market. He advises on the ethical and lawful use of innovative marketing techniques, as well as lawyer and law firm relationships with vendors of all kinds, from marketers, to outsourcing vendors, to litigation funders. He has helped lawyers and law firms establish and maintain compliance while providing non-legal ancillary services to clients and others.
Since the earliest days of his practice, Lucian has also represented media outlets in matters ranging from claims for defamation or invasion of privacy to access to courtrooms, public records, and meetings of government bodies.
Lucian’s wide-ranging civil litigation practice includes a variety of commercial, personal injury, and intellectual property litigation, as well as numerous state and federal appeals.
Lucian also writes and speaks frequently, both nationally and in Tennessee, on legal ethics and professional responsibility and media law. In addition, he routinely conducts presentations and seminars for national audiences.
“ There’s more change going on in the business and practice of law today than in the last 100 years. The most exciting work I’m doing these days is advising real innovators trying to deliver legal services better, faster, and cheaper, using technology and really different business models, while still complying with laws written to regulate the law business of the 20th Century. ”
- Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 1985
- Princeton University, A.B., 1982
- United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Areas of Practice
- Best of the Bar, Memphis Business Journal, 2017
- AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Best Lawyers® - Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation, Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law, First Amendment Law, Health Care Law, Legal Malpractice Law (Defendants/Plaintiffs), Litigation - First Amendment, Media Law
- Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year – Memphis Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law, 2022
- Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year – Memphis Litigation - First Amendment Law, 2012
- Mid-South Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) Business Litigation 2006-2019
- "Top Rated Lawyer in Commercial Litigation" - American Lawyer Media, Martindale-Hubbell™, 2013
- Best 150 Lawyers in Tennessee - BusinessTN Magazine
- The Power Players - Business Litigation - Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine, 2010-2015
- Power Players - Business Litigation - Inside Memphis Business, 2021
- Who's Who in American Law 1992-Present
- Justice Joseph W. Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing 1992
- Sam A. Myar, Jr. Memorial Award - Memphis Bar Association 1997
- President’s Award - Tennessee Bar Association 2000, 2003
Professional Affiliations & Memberships
- Active involvement in the most recent complete revision of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct, now the model for the lawyer ethics rules in all but one American jurisdiction, through his service as the youngest member of the ABA “Ethics 2000” Commission. Since his Ethics 2000 experience, Lucian has been deeply involved in the ABA House of Delegates’ consideration of every other significant change to the ABA Model Rules. He currently chairs the governing committee of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, the home of the ABA’s standing ethics, discipline, and professionalism committees.
- Served as ABA Treasurer (2011-2014), including service on the ABA Board of Governors and Executive Committee. Prior service on the ABA Board of Governors as a young lawyer from 1994-1997, including chairing its Finance Committee and serving on its Executive Committee. Membership in the ABA House of Delegates, primarily representing the TBA, for all but three years since 1991. View video of his August 2013, February 2014, and August 2014 reports to the ABA House of Delegates.
- Served as President of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL), the national membership organization of lawyers who work in legal ethics.
- Leadership of the Tennessee Bar Association ethics committee from 1995 through 2009, including spearheading the TBA’s petitions to the Tennessee Supreme Court seeking ethics rule revisions. These included the TBA’s successful petition that led to Tennessee adopting in 2002 its own version of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct to replace Tennessee’s prior ethics rules, which had been in place since 1970.
- Active involvement in the Media Law Resource Center, the national organization of media lawyers and outlets, including as an annual contributor to several of its national surveys on media law. He also currently serves as President of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, an alliance of media and citizen groups advocating for transparency in government at all levels.
- Assisted in creation of the TBA and ABA websites and chairing the ABA Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems.
- Immediate Past President of the Tennessee Bar Association.
Lucian has litigated key media access cases, including a Tennessee Supreme Court case extending access under the Tennessee Public Records Act to records of private companies that are the “functional equivalent” of government (Memphis Publishing Co. v. Cherokee Children & Family Services, Inc., 87 S.W.3d 67 (Tenn. 2002)) and expressly confirming the constitutional right of public and press access to attend civil trials (King v. Jowers, 12 S.W. 3d 410 (Tenn. 1999)).