News & Events
September 14, 2023
On September 13, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Lea S. Gutierrez to serve as the new Administrator of the ARDC, effective October 23, 2023. Ms. Gutierrez succeeds Jerome E. Larkin, who is retiring after 16 years as ARDC Administrator.
A member of the Illinois bar since 2005, Ms. Gutierrez graduated from Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia. She formerly worked at the ARDC in the positions of Litigation Counsel, Litigation Manager, and Director of Diversity and Inclusion. She returns to the ARDC after having led diversity and inclusion efforts at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the American Lung Association. Ms. Gutierrez will be the fifth ARDC Administrator, the second woman to hold that office, and the first person of color to do so. Read more.
On July 1, 2023, several significant amendments adopted by the Illinois Supreme Court to the fees rule (Rule 1.5) and the rule governing funds or property held in trust (Rule 1.15) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct will take effect.
Lawyers should review the new rules and act to ensure that their fee agreements and handling of clients’ funds meet the new requirements when they take effect on July 1, 2023. The ARDC has made the following resources available to assist Illinois attorneys who wish to learn more about these amendments:
• E-learning Program Now Available! The ARDC’s new 0.5 Hr. PRCLE webcast: New IRPC 1.5 & 1.15 2023 Amendments: What Illinois Lawyers Should Know is now available. Click on the above link or access this new program under the Education & Resources tab, above.
• New Rules 1.5 and 1.15, available on the Illinois Supreme Court website at www.illinoiscourts.gov/courts/supreme-court/.
• What Illinois Lawyers Should Know: Summary of Changes to RPCs 1.5 and 1.15, available on June 30 on the ARDC website under Education & Resources/Client Trust Accounts.
• ARDC Client Trust Account Handbook (rev. July 2023), available on June 30 on the ARDC website under Education & Resources/Client Trust Accounts.
What should lawyers know about Illinois’ New Code of Judicial Conduct? This free on demand program, which has been approved for 1.25 hours of MCLE credit in Illinois, provides viewers with an overview of the new ethical standards applicable to the Illinois judiciary, as well as candidates for judicial office, and explains why all lawyers should be aware of the provisions contained in the new Code of Judicial Conduct, which became effective January 1, 2023. Helping lawyers better understand the intersection between the Code and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, this program also describes the procedures to follow when there is an allegation that an Illinois judge has potentially violated the Code of Judicial Conduct.
Click here to view this free on demand CLE program!
May 1, 2023
Learn more about Illinois lawyers and the regulation of the legal profession in 2022.
No Board member shall provide, in any proceeding, expert or opinion testimony with respect to the appropriate standard of care or conduct expected of an attorney in representing a client. Amended December 9, 2022, effective July 1, 2023. To view full amended policy, click here.
March 1, 2023
On March 1, 2023, the Chairperson of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission entered an order superseding previous pandemic-related orders for disciplinary proceedings. The March 1, 2023 order, which will remain in effect until further order of the Commission, provides that effective May 1, 2023:
- All uncontested hearings before the Hearing Board, including prehearing conferences, default hearings and consent hearings, shall be conducted remotely. An uncontested hearing may be held in person if there is good cause shown for doing so.
- All contested hearings before the Hearing Board shall be held in person. A contested hearing may be held remotely if the Chair of the case and both parties agree to holding the hearing remotely.
- All oral arguments before the Review Board shall be held in person. An oral argument may be held remotely if the Chair of the Review Board and both parties agree to holding the oral argument remotely.
Rule 4.2 was the subject of two recent ABA formal ethics opinions. The first, ABA Formal Opinion 502 Communication with a Represented Person by a Pro Se Lawyer (Sept. 28, 2022) looked at the question of whether the prohibition of communication with a represented person under Rule 4.2 applies in the context of a lawyer engaged in self-representation. The second, ABA Formal Opinion 503 “Reply All” in Electronic Communications (Nov. 2, 2022) considered whether consent to communicate with a represented client is given, albeit implied, when the lawyer includes the lawyer’s client in an email communication to opposing counsel. Read more.
On October 24, 2022, the Illinois Supreme Court amended Rule 756 relating to attorney registration and fees. The changes reduce the cost of returning to the master roll for retired status attorneys and attorneys whose ARDC registration has lapsed. These attorneys will be responsible for paying the current year registration fee and a $25 per month reinstatement fee for the months they were on retirement status and/or removed due to lapsed registration. The reinstatement fee is subject to a $600 cap. These attorneys will no longer be responsible for paying prior year fees or late fees with no ceiling. Amended Rule 756 also outlines, with specificity, the circumstances under which attorneys may be eligible to receive a fee waiver due to financial hardship. Detailed information regarding fees waivers can be found here.
September 28, 2022
Referral fee agreements are good for lawyers and clients. They incentivize lawyers, who lack the time or expertise to handle a client’s matter, to seek out other lawyers to ensure that clients obtain competent representation. » Read More.
July 27, 2022
If you’ve ever had an opposing counsel threaten you with filing a disciplinary complaint or criminal charges, you’ve probably wondered if opposing counsel crossed an ethical line. » Read More.
The MCLE completion deadline for Illinois attorneys with last names beginning with letters A-M is June 30, 2022. Compliance reports must be made directly to the MCLE Board by July 31, 2022. For general MCLE information and FAQs, to report compliance, or to review MCLE credits earned from August 2019 and forward, visit the MCLE Board website.
On May 16, 2022, the ARDC released a new PMBR Self-Assessment Program on its Online Learning Portal. Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756(e), Illinois lawyers in private practice who do not maintain malpractice insurance are required to complete this approximately four-hour Program as a 2023 attorney registration requirement. In addition, all Illinois lawyers can complete the entire Program, or any module within the Program, for up to four hours of free MCLE professional responsibility credit. Learn more about the PMBR (2022-2023) Program and get started today!
Around May 1 of each year, the ARDC submits its annual report to the Court chronicling all ARDC activities and initiatives during the prior year, as well as an accounting of ARDC’s finances. The 2021 Annual Report of the ARDC provides a comprehensive, statistical snapshot of the legal profession in Illinois. Read More.
February 25, 2022
Whether it’s called the Big Quit, the Great Retirement or even the Career Rethink, the pandemic has certainly caused more of us to consider (reconsider) changes in our personal and professional lives. Learn more about the basics of winding down a law practice or leaving a law firm to join another.
December 28, 2021
Over 4,000 calls are made in a typical year to the ARDC Ethics Inquiry phone line from lawyers with questions about a lawyer’s duties under the ethics rules in Illinois. Most of the time, the answer can be readily found in the ethics rules but some questions involve rules that lawyers may not be so familiar with. Learn more about five ethics rules that lawyers may not know and yet address some of the most asked ethics questions.
December 1, 2021
Odyssey eFileIL has launched a new Electronic Filing Portal. The ARDC Electronic Filing Manual has been updated to reflect changes to the process of filing documents electronically in attorney disciplinary proceedings using the new Portal. Additional training materials as developed by Tyler Technologies can be found here.
October 27, 2021
Whether it’s hitting the “pause” button or considering leaving the practice of law altogether, the pandemic has likely caused more lawyers to consider “retirement”. Learn more about the differences between inactive and retired registration status. Learn more
August 24, 2021
Defining the “of counsel” relationship and its ethical and risk management considerations. Learn more.
June 30, 2021
A lawyer’s duty to report another lawyer’s misconduct is perennially the top area of inquiry to the ARDC Ethics Inquiry Program. Learn more about the duty to report and the answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions.
June 1, 2021
On June 1, 2021, Michelle M. Thome became the Clerk of the ARDC, following the retirement of her predecessor in that position, Kenneth G. Jablonski. Ms. Thome joined the ARDC in 1995 as an Assistant Clerk. In 2009 she was promoted to the position of Deputy Clerk, and in 2012 she became the agency’s Senior Deputy Clerk. She held that position for nine years before succeeding Mr. Jablonski.
Ms. Thome is an experienced records manager with deep knowledge of procedural rules relating to disciplinary cases. She is committed to maintaining the high level of service and efficiency for which the Clerk’s office became known during Mr. Jablonski’s 38-year tenure. Ms. Thome’s Senior Deputy is Andrea Watson, who previously held the position of Deputy Clerk.
Under Commission rules, the ARDC’s Clerk is the individual designated by the Administrator to receive and maintain records and evidence relating to proceedings before the Commission’s Hearing and Review Boards. The Clerk is neutral in all disciplinary matters and does not take case-specific direction from the Administrator. Ms. Thome’s contact information is:
Clerk, Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission
One Prudential Plaza
130 E. Randolph St., Ste. 800
Chicago, IL 60601-6219
Phone: (312) 565-2600
May 18, 2021
On May 18, 2021, the Illinois Supreme Court issued disciplinary orders impacting 16 Illinois lawyers. Four lawyers were disbarred. Eight lawyers were suspended from the practice of law for various lengths of time between 30 days and one year and until further order of the Court. Four lawyers were placed on probation. The Court’s decisions and summaries can be found on the ARDC website under Recent Filings & Decisions, Supreme Court Decisions and Summaries of Supreme Court Decisions.
May 1, 2021
Shortly before May 1 of each year, the ARDC submits its annual report to the Illinois Supreme Court chronicling all ARDC activities and initiatives, as well as an accounting of ARDC’s finances, during the prior year. The 2020 Annual Report of the ARDC provides a comprehensive, statistical snapshot of the legal profession in Illinois. Highlights from the 2020 Annual Report include: there are 94,907 attorneys on the 2020 Master Roll of Attorneys for the state of Illinois; 65,723 or 69.3% of Active and Inactive attorneys reported a principal business address in Illinois; 57,007 or 86.7% of Active and Inactive attorneys practice within the six most populous counties in the state (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will); in 2020 the Commission docketed 3,936 investigations against 3,027 attorneys; 66.4% of grievances stemmed from a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship (neglect of a client’s cause, failure to communicate, billing and fee issues, and failure to provide competent representation); and 81 lawyers were sanctioned by the Court and one lawyer was reprimanded by the ARDC Hearing Board in 2020. Learn more by reading the 2020 Annual Report and Highlights.
May 26, 2021
On May 26, 2021, the Chair of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission entered an order superseding previous pandemic-related orders for disciplinary proceedings. The May 26, 2021 order, which will remain in effect until further order of the Commission, provides:
- effective June 1, 2021, in-person contested hearings may be conducted in the ARDC’s Springfield office within the discretion of the Hearing Panel Chair and subject to the agreement of both parties;
- all other proceedings, including uncontested hearings, contested hearings scheduled to take place in the ARDC’s Chicago office, prehearing conferences, oral arguments and discovery, shall be conducted remotely; and
- the Chair or Vice-Chair of the full Hearing Board shall hear any motion objecting to proceeding with a hearing remotely.
May 18, 2020
Today the ARDC released the PMBR (2020-2021) Program on its Online Learning Portal. This law practice management self-assessment series is available to all lawyers for up to 4 hours of CLE credit. Lawyers who are in private practice and do no maintain malpractice insurance must complete this entire program as a 2021 registration requirement. Find out more about the program here.
March 20, 2020
On March 20, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide stay-at-home order aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus. All non-essential businesses in the state were ordered to close their doors effective March 21, 2020, at 5:00 p.m., and remain closed through April 7, 2020. Read more >>
Event Dates: September 28 – October 1, 2021
The ARDC is hosting the 10th annual International Conference of Legal Regulators (ICLR) virtually on September 28-October 1, 2021. This four day-long virtual experience will consist of online sessions and networking events specifically created to advance the vital work of legal regulators around the world. The sessions slated include, among other topics: 1) Why We Do What We Do: Regulatory Theory and Practice; 2) Legal Education in a Post COVID World: Shaking the Assumptions but Now What?; 3) The Role of Regulators in Promoting Fairer Legal Services: Responding to Issues of Vulnerability and Legal Capability; 4) Artificial intelligence: Rise of the Machines; and 5) Does Fortune Favor the Bold? Deconstructing Legal Innovation Approaches and Finding a Path Forward. Register for the ICLR 2021 and find more information about this year’s conference on the ICLR 2021 website.