Lawyers have duties to represent their clients honestly and diligently. A client might know that her lawyer violated these duties but is often left wondering how to seek redress. The Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) can be a helpful resource.
The ARDC is an administrative, self-regulating organization for all Illinois-licensed attorneys. Although its members are appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court, the Commission is funded entirely by attorney dues and fees.
What Does the ARDC Do?
The ARDC serves an essential record-keeping function. It maintains a robust repository of attorney disciplinary records, malpractice insurance coverage and other administrative matters. Members of the public can access these records upon request.
The ARDC runs a fully operational legal department that investigates and prosecutes attorneys who engage in gross misconduct. Individuals may submit complaints to the ARDC free of charge. ARDC attorneys review complaints of attorney misconduct and conduct preliminary investigations. If the investigating attorney finds convincing evidence of misconduct, the Commission can initiate disciplinary proceedings, which may eventually result in sanctions. Sanctions can range from probation or fees to more serious consequences like suspension or disbarment.
Through its Client Protection Program, the ARDC provides relief to clients affected by their lawyers’ misconduct in certain circumstances. Additionally, the ARDC spearheads diversity and inclusion initiatives and provides resources to lawyers struggling with mental health and substance abuse. In short, the ARDC seeks to uphold the integrity of the legal profession and promote open channels of communication with the community.
Filing a complaint with the ARDC does not, however, stop the statute of limitations for legal malpractice running, so it is important to discuss your matter with a legal malpractice lawyer if you believe you may have a claim for legal malpractice or breach of fiduciary duty.
If you believe an attorney was negligent or unethical in representing you, contact us to discuss your options.