Commission & Board Policies
The ARDC operates under the administrative supervision of its seven-member Commission, the members of which are appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court. The ARDC’s Hearing Board presides over formal disciplinary proceedings, and the ARDC’s Review Board acts as an appellate tribunal in disciplinary cases. From time to time, as part of its administrative oversight, the Commission adopts policies relating to the work of the ARDC. The Hearing and Review Boards may also adopt policies relating to the handling of proceedings before those tribunals. The Commission and board policies now in effect are set forth below.
Accessibility of Documents Subject to Motion to Seal
If a motion to seal documents is filed, the Clerk of the Commission will treat the subject documents as public during the time period between the filing of the motion to seal and the ruling on the motion, absent a contrary written order from the Chair of the Hearing Panel. (September 6, 1996)
Assignment of Cases Remanded to Hearing Board or Review Board
Cases remanded to the Hearing Board. Whether remanded by Supreme Court order or by recommendation of the Review Board, a case remanded to the Hearing Board should be assigned to the panel that previously heard the case, unless the remand order has a contrary direction.
Cases remanded to the Review Board. When the Supreme Court remands a case to the Review Board, the case should be assigned to the same panel that previously heard the matter, unless the remand order has a contrary direction.
Cases remanded to the Hearing Board and later appealed to the Review Board. When a case that was remanded to the Hearing Board by either order of the Court or by recommendation of the Review Board is subsequently appealed to the Review Board after the remanded proceedings, the case should be assigned randomly to a Review Panel.
Approved by the Commission on July 13, 2003, effective immediately
Released as written policy on February 25, 2004
Board Members Providing Expert or Opinion Testimony in Non-Disciplinary Cases
The Commission acknowledges that our Board members may be retained to provide expert or opinion testimony pertaining to the appropriate standard of care expected of an attorney in representing a client in proceedings which do not involve attorney discipline. In order to properly safeguard the integrity of our disciplinary system, the following policy shall apply:
A Board member may provide expert or opinion testimony pertaining to the appropriate standard of care expected of an attorney in representing a client in any non-disciplinary matter provided that the Board member does not use his/her affiliation with the ARDC at any time during the period the Board member is retained to provide such testimony for the purpose of establishing qualification as an expert. The Board member shall not include his/her affiliation with the ARDC on any resume or curriculum vitae submitted in connections with providing such expert or opinion testimony.
For purposes of this policy, the term "testify" shall include oral and written statements made at any stage of the proceedings, and the term "Board member" shall include all members of the Commission, Review Board, Hearing Board, Inquiry Board, Oversight Committee, and Client Protection Review Panel. (April 16, 2010)
Board Members Testifying as Character and Expert Witnesses
No Board member shall voluntarily testify as a character witness in any matter before the Hearing Board. If a Board member is subpoenaed to testify before the Hearing Board, the member shall not lend the authority of his/her position to advance the private interest of others and shall not convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the Hearing Board. Further, if a Board member testifies as a character witness, the member shall not discuss any aspect of the case with any other Board member, personnel of the Clerk of the Commission, or Adjudication Counsel. A Board member shall not testify as an expert witness in any matter before the Hearing Board. For purposes of this policy, the term "Board member" shall include all members of the Commission, Review Board, Hearing Board, Inquiry Board, Oversight Committee, and Client Protection Review Panel. (June 17, 2005)
Hearing and Review Board Panel Members Assignment Procedures
Hearing Board Panel Chair Assignments
In accordance with Commission Rule 212, upon the docketing of a new complaint filed pursuant Supreme Court Rule 753, and petitions filed pursuant to Supreme Court Rules 758, 759 (if referred to the Hearing Board by the Supreme Court), and 767, the Clerk of the Commission shall assign the matter to a Chair of the Hearing Board. The Clerk will enter the assigned proceeding number into the Hearing Board Panel Selection Program, and based on the Respondent’s business address listed on the Master Roll, the program will assign the case to a Chair serving in the corresponding geographic location, either Chicago or Springfield. The random selection of a Chair is based on various factors, including the number of active proceedings each Chair has pending on their calendar. After the program selects the Chair, the Clerk will enter an order assigning the matter to the Chair, and serve the order on the parties.
Hearing Board Panel Attorney and Public Member Assignments
In accordance with Commission Rule 212, after the entry of the Order by the Chair of the Hearing Panel scheduling a hearing date, the Clerk of the Commission will assign an attorney and non-attorney member for the hearing. The Clerk will use the Hearing Board Panel Selection Program, which will randomly generate the name of an attorney and non-attorney member.
After the program provides the name of a prospective panel member, the Clerk’s office will contact the panel member, and ask the member if they are available to serve on the date of the scheduled hearing. If the member is unavailable, the Clerk will record the reason they are unavailable, and remove the member’s name from the pool of prospective members. The Clerk will repeat the random selection process for the attorney and non-attorney members until a hearing panel has been filled. If the member is available and agrees to serve on the hearing panel, the Clerk will enter an order assigning that member to the hearing panel, and serve the parties with the order.
If, after the assignment has been made, the panel member is unable to attend the scheduled hearing, the member shall notify the Clerk, in writing, requesting that they be removed from the panel. Upon receipt of the notice, the Clerk will follow the same procedures to select another member for the hearing. If, an assigned panel member is unable to attend a hearing, and there is insufficient time to reassign the matter using the random selection procedure, the Clerk may, with the approval of the Chair of the Hearing Board, bypass the random selection procedure, and reassign the matter by directly contacting prospective panel members. The Clerk will make a record entry memorializing the authorization by the Chair of the Hearing Board, enter an assignment order, and serve the order on the parties.
In the event the Chair of a Hearing Panel schedules two hearings on the same date, in the interest of judicial economy, the Clerk, with the approval of the Chair of the Hearing Board, will bypass the random panel selection program and contact the assigned members of the first hearing and ask if they can serve on the panel for the second hearing. If the member agrees, the Clerk will manually select the names of the hearing panel members assigned to the first proceeding, and assign them to the second proceeding. The Clerk will make a record entry memorializing the authorization by the Chair of the Hearing Board, enter an assignment order, and serve the order on the parties.
Review Board Member Assignments
In accordance with Supreme Court Rule 753(d), a matter before the Review Board shall be decided by a panel of three members. After a matter is scheduled for oral argument, the Clerk of the Commission will utilize the random panel selection program to assign three members of the Review Board to the pending matter. Also pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(d), the most senior member of the panel shall preside over the matter.
Adopted September 15, 2017, effective November 22, 2017
Prohibiting the Representation of Respondents by Board Members
No Board member shall represent a respondent in any disciplinary proceeding or action, pending or filed during his/her term as a Board member. A disciplinary proceeding includes, but is not limited to, all investigations, all proceedings before the Inquiry, Hearing and Review Boards, and all related proceedings before the Illinois Supreme Court. For purposes of this policy, the term "Board member" shall include all members of the Commission, Hearing Board, Review Board, Inquiry Board, Oversight Committee, and Client Protection Review Panel. (June 17, 2005)
Recusal and Disqualification of Board Members
A Board member shall withdraw from participation in a matter or proceeding in which the member’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned or when there is a substantial showing that the member cannot participate in a fair and reasonable manner, including but not limited to instances where:
- the member has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party’s lawyer, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings;
- an attorney-client or other fiduciary relationship exists between a party or party’s lawyer and an attorney member or an individual with whom the attorney member is currently associated in the practice of law. For purposes of this policy a member shall not be disqualified if he is represented by Counsel for the Administrator in any action brought as a result of the member’s actions in a Commission matter;
- a party or a party’s lawyer has a substantial business relationship with a public member or a substantial business relationship with an individual with whom the public member is currently professionally associated;
- a party or party’s lawyer appearing before the member is a co-counsel or adversary counsel of the member in another pending matter in any forum or a party or party’s lawyer and the member have any pending matters in which either has acted as referring counsel. For purposes of this policy a referring counsel is one who receives some economic benefit as defined in Rule 1.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct;
- the member served as a lawyer in connection with any events relating to the matter or proceeding, or a lawyer with whom the member practices law served as a lawyer in connection with any events relating to the matter or proceeding. For purposes of this subparagraph a lawyer in a governmental agency does not necessarily have an association with other lawyers employed by that agency;
- the member, individually or as a fiduciary, or the spouse of the member, or any child living in the member’s household, has more than a de minimis financial interest in any events relating to the matter or proceeding.
For purposes of this policy, the term "Board member" shall include all members of the Review Board, Hearing Board, Inquiry Board, and Client Protection Review Panel. (June 17, 2005)
Recusal by Administrator’s Counsel During Investigations and Related Proceedings
- ARDC Policy regarding Appointment of Special Counsel
The ARDC Commission shall appoint members of the bar pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 751(e)(5) to serve as special counsel. Special counsel shall conduct investigations as assigned. The authority and responsibilities of special counsel shall be the same as Administrator's counsel under Supreme Court and Commission rules, except that special counsel shall not take direction from the Administrator or his or her legal staff. Special counsel shall exercise independent authority to investigate and to refer an investigation to the Inquiry Board. Special counsel shall report to the Commission regarding the status and disposition of investigations assigned. Special counsel may be removed by the Commission at any time, without cause.
Special counsel shall act in matters involving allegations against attorneys associated with the ARDC, including counsel for the Administrator, Adjudication counsel, Commissioners and members of ARDC boards. Special Counsel shall conduct investigations under the related rules of the Supreme Court and the ARDC, as modified by this policy. In determining pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 752 and Commission Rules 51 and 52 whether to investigate a charge that makes allegations related to an attorney's conduct in a disciplinary investigation or proceeding, special counsel shall determine whether the allegations, if true, would constitute misconduct and whether the allegations otherwise meet the requirements of a charge as set forth in Commission Rule 52. In making that determination, special counsel shall take into account the attorney's role and fiduciary obligations in the matter and shall not be required to investigate allegations to the extent that they involve the attorney's exercise of discretion or judgment, the attorney's decision in the matter, or the complainant's general dissatisfaction with the disciplinary process or outcome.
- Recusal by Administrator's Counsel during Investigations and Related Proceedings
Administrator's counsel must be sensitive to familial or close personal or professional relationships between Administrator's counsel and a respondent or complainant in a pending matter. In determining whether a relationship is of sufficient closeness to implicate this policy, staff lawyers must, of course, comply with applicable conflict provisions of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (e.g., Rule 1.7(a)(2) and Rule 1.11(d)), and should also be guided by the judicial disqualification factors listed in Supreme Court Rule 63(C)(1)(c through e), which is set forth below, to the extent that the judicial rule is more stringent and/or detailed than the conflict provisions of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.
Counsel who learns of such a relationship shall bring those circumstances to the attention of the Administrator or Deputy Administrator, who will review the disclosure and all relevant circumstances. If the Administrator or the Deputy Administrator agrees that the policy is implicated by the disclosure, the Commission Chair will be apprised. The investigation shall be assigned to special counsel. In no event shall the staff lawyer with the relationship have any involvement in or access to the investigation or any related proceeding.
Rule 63(C) provides:
- A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances where:
- the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party's lawyer, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;
- the judge served as a lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom the judge previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge has been a material witness concerning it;
- the judge was, within the preceding three years, associated in the private practice of law with any law firm or lawyer currently representing any party in the controversy (provided that referral of cases when no monetary interest was retained shall not be deemed an association within the meaning of this subparagraph) or, for a period of seven years following the last date on which the judge represented any party to the controversy while the judge was an attorney engaged in the private practice of law;
- the judge knows that he or she, individually or as a fiduciary, or the judge's spouse, parent or child wherever residing, or any other member of the judge's family residing in the judge's household, has an economic interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or has any more than de minimis interest that could be substantially affected by the proceeding; or
- the judge or the judge's spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person:
- is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party;
- is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;
- is known by the judge to have a more than de minimis interest that could be substantially affected by the proceeding; or
- is to the judge's knowledge likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.
- A judge shall keep informed about the judge's personal and fiduciary economic interests, and make a reasonable effort to keep informed about the personal economic interests of the judge's spouse and minor children residing in the judge's household.
- A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances where:
Adopted by the ARDC Commission on September 16, 2011 and published on December 16, 2011, following review by the Supreme Court
Amended October 26, 2012, effective January 1, 2013
Recording of Proceedings
All hearings will be video and audio recorded. The recordings are made for the purposes of security, training and monitoring of the hearings to ensure that all proceedings are conducted safely and in accordance with the Commission’s standards and policies. These recordings will not take the place of the current court reporter procedures, and are intended for internal use only, are not discoverable, and will not be made available to the parties or the public. The equipment will be turned on only when the Hearing Board Panel is in the room. It is set up to capture the podium, bench and witness stand, and is not aimed at counsel tables. The audio recording is done through the current microphone system, so discussions outside the range of the microphones will not be detectable.
Policy effective as of January 1, 2020
Timely Filing of Review Board Briefs
If an appellant’s brief has not been timely filed, five days thereafter the Clerk shall forward a notice to counsel of record, advising that (1) Commission Rule 302(j) requires that the Review Board strike the Appellant’s exceptions “within the time set by” Rule 302 “or any additional time which the Review Board allows,” (2) Appellant’s Brief has not been filed as provided by that rule, (3) pursuant to the Review Board’s authority under that rule, Appellant is granted an additional 10 days or until ________ (specifying the exact date) to file his or her brief, and (4) and that if it is not filed by that date, Appellant’s exceptions will be stricken pursuant to the rule.
The Clerk shall then, in the name of the Review Board, automatically strike the Appellant’s exceptions if the brief or a motion for a further extension of time is not filed within the seven days, allowing for the necessary extra days to receive the same by mail. If a motion for additional time is filed, the same shall be considered and disposed of on its merits, but such tardy motions shall not be favored. If such a motion is denied, Appellant’s exceptions shall be stricken at that time.
In the event a tardy motion is allowed, and Appellant’s Brief is thereafter not timely filed, no second notice to counsel of record as previously described shall be forwarded. Instead, the Clerk, in the name of the Review Board, shall automatically strike Appellant’s exceptions as soon as it has been determined that the brief has not been timely filed.
No motion to strike exceptions, based upon an appellant’s failure to timely file a brief, shall be filed.
Policy effective as of April 9, 2010