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Filing a Request for an Investigation of an Attorney  |  Effect on Your Legal Rights  |  Other Information Provided by the ARDC  |  Request for Investigation Form


What Information Can the ARDC Give Me About an Attorney?
If I Need to Hire an Attorney, Where Do I Go?
What if I Have a Dispute With My Attorney Over the Amount of Fees?
What if I have a complaint about a judge?

What Information Can the ARDC Give Me About an Attorney?

You may call or come in person to either our Chicago or Springfield offices and we can give you an attorney's registration information, such as name, law firm, business address and telephone number, and the date the attorney was first licensed to practice in Illinois. We can tell you if the attorney is currently registered and authorized to practice law ("good standing"), if the attorney has been disciplined in the past and if there are any pending formal complaints. The fact that a request for an investigation was filed, and whether an investigation is closed or pending, is confidential and will not be disclosed.

If I Need to Hire an Attorney, Where Do I Go?

We cannot give referrals for lawyers to handle your matter. However, many bar associations have referral lists that can give you the names of lawyers practicing in certain areas of the law. Two of the larger bar association referral programs are:

  • Chicago Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service. Open to the general public, $20 administrative fee due at the initial consultation, available in Spanish or other foreign languages, referral attorneys are located in Chicago, Cook County suburbs or DuPage County. Lawyer referrals are available through or by phone Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 312/554-2001 or TDD for the hearing impaired at 312/554-2055.

  • Illinois Lawyer Finder Service – A lawyer directory maintained by the Illinois State Bar Association, it is open to the general public, initial half-hour consultation not to exceed $15 fee, no referrals made to lawyers in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Will, Winnebago, Peoria and Kane counties. The directory can be accessed at or by calling 217/525-5297, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Chicago Volunteer Legal Foundation (312/332/1624) provides referrals for low-income people in the Chicago area. For the listing of other bar association referral services in other locations or the listing of legal services organizations, you may wish to consult with the American Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service Directory (, a list of other lawyer referral services on the Illinois Lawyer Finder website ( or by calling the ARDC.

What if I Have a Dispute With My Attorney Over the Amount of Fees?

The propriety of the fee which an attorney charges a client depends both on the agreement between the lawyer and the client and on certain limitations under the ethics rules. We may initiate an investigation into a lawyer’s fee if the fee charged or the fee agreement is improper under the ethics rules, violates a court order or statute, is fraudulent, or keeps a fee paid in advance that was not earned. Many fee issues that are brought to our attention involve a general dissatisfaction with the amount of fee charged based on the results obtained by the lawyer. Those types of concerns are not ordinarily a basis of discipline. In those situations, if you and the lawyer are unable to resolve the dispute, the matter may be resolved by court action or arbitration. Several bar associations operate fee arbitration committees.  The following is a list of some of the Illinois bar associations that provide fee arbitration services:

Chicago Bar Association  (
Committee on Professional Fees
321 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604

DuPage County Bar Association  (
126 South County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187

Peoria County Bar Association  (
411 Hamilton Boulevard, Suite 1618
Peoria, IL 61602

Kane County Bar Association  (
P.O. Box 571
Geneva, IL 60134

Bureau County Bar Association (Bureau County residents and lawyers only)
c/o Robert F. Russell
10 Park Ave. West
Princeton, IL 61356

You may also want to check with the bar association for your county to see if they provide this service.

What if I Have a Complaint About a Judge?

Complaints about the conduct of judges should be directed to the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board. To obtain a complaint form or for information about the Board, please visit the Board’s website at or write the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, Suite 14-500, 100 W. Randolph Drive, Chicago, IL 60601 312/814-5554.

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