The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) has begun its 50th year of assisting the Illinois Supreme Court in its regulation of the legal profession in Illinois. The ARDC offers valuable resources to help Illinois lawyers serve their clients competently, ethically and professionally.
Lawyers can access 30 free, on-demand webinars on the ARDC’s website, www.iardc.org. The webinars are available 24 hours a day, provide 23.75 hours of professional responsibility MCLE credit, and cover everything from maintaining client trust accounts to succession planning for law firms to attorney wellness.
The Proactive Management Based Regulation (PMBR) Self-Assessment Program is an innovative tool for lawyers to examine their practices and minimize malpractice liability and lawyer disciplinary risk. While the program is mandatory for lawyers in private practice who do not maintain malpractice insurance, any Illinois lawyer can view the free PMBR course modules to earn four hours of MCLE credit.
Lawyers who encounter a perplexing ethical issue in their practices may call the ARDC’s Ethics Inquiry Hotline at 312-565-2600 and speak to an ARDC lawyer for research assistance and guidance in resolving the issue. The ethics call program has continued apace despite the COIVID-19 pandemic and took 2,817 calls during 2021.
The ARDC, under the guidance of the Supreme Court, has also endeavored to help lawyers who are the subject of disciplinary investigations. The ARDC works with the Lawyers’ Assistance Program (LAP) to benefit lawyers whose struggles with substance abuse or mental illness may be impacting their practices.
The ARDC refers attorneys to LAP during otherwise confidential disciplinary investigations in order to give those lawyers an opportunity to meaningfully address such issues.
The ARDC has also begun a program whereby independent intermediaries reach out to attorneys who have not responded to repeated ARDC contacts during disciplinary investigations with an aim to have those attorneys engage in the process and avoid the consequences of a default.
Additionally, lawyers who are the subject of particular types of grievances and who agree to comply with certain conditions may be eligible to have their disciplinary investigation closed under the ARDC’s diversion program.
In the event of a lawyer’s death or disability, the ARDC can assist the lawyer’s family, friends, or colleagues in returning client files and otherwise responsibly closing the lawyer’s practice. The ARDC may be appointed receiver for the practice when appropriate.
Please visit the ARDC’s website for more information to help you build a more perfect law practice.