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ARDC brings an Unauthorized Practice Case against lawyer who failed to register since 1995!

The ARDC brought an unauthorized practice of law complaint against an attorney who allegedly failed to register to practice law. That, by itself, would not be interesting. The fact that the lawyer failed to register at any time after 1995 and handled numerous matters for clients during the next ten years is astonishing. The allegations, if true, are astonishing:

At all times alleged in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 756(a) required that, on or before the first day of January of each year, attorneys admitted to practice law in Illinois (subject to certain exceptions that do not apply to Respondent in this matter) register and pay to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (“the Commission”), any registration fee due according to the provisions of the Rule.

2. At all times set forth in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 756(h) required the Administrator, on or after February 1 of each year, to remove from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois the name of any attorney who had not registered for that year as required by the Supreme Court Rules.

3. As of February 1, 1995, Respondent had not registered with the Commission or paid the annual fee that had been due since January 1, 1995, and on that date the Administrator removed Respondent’s name from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois.

4. Shortly after February 1, 1995, Respondent received a notice of his removal from the roll of attorneys, which resulted from Respondent’s failure to register and pay his registration fees.

5. At no time since 1995 did Respondent pay any past-due annual registration fees or penalties to the Commission. During that period, pursuant to Rule 756(f), Respondent was not authorized to practice law in Illinois or to hold himself out as so authorized.

6. Since 1995, while he was removed from the roll of attorneys and not authorized to practice law in Illinois, Respondent earned over $60,000 when he represented clients in at least 53 matters, mainly in the areas of real estate and trusts and estates. During that time, Respondent drafted documents and negotiated with other attorneys on his clients’ behalf, including in the following matters….”

My question for the ARDC, assuming the complaint that it filed is true, is this: How is it that nobody noticed this before?

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.

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