Jim is an experienced legal ethics advisor and litigator well versed in the law of lawyering. He has built his successful private practice on skills honed in public service, from his early career as a legal aid lawyer to his nearly 15 years as a litigation attorney, and later Senior Counsel, at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

Jim’s work is marked by incisive analysis, careful preparation, and creative trial management. He is a skilled advocate for lawyers who encounter ethical or malpractice issues — in disciplinary inquiries, in civil litigation, or in any other forum. He has provided effective consultations and opinion letters on a wide range of ethical and professional issues, and he has assisted lawyers and law-related businesses in developing ethically sound plans and strategies.

At the ARDC, Jim  litigated extensively before the Hearing Board of the ARDC and in motion practice before the Illinois Supreme Court. He researched and analyzed complex issues involving attorney conduct. In private practice, he has achieved the dismissal of disciplinary charges and complaints against his clients in several ARDC cases. He provides his clients with thoughtful advice about professional problems – or helps to create mindful practices geared toward avoiding future problems.

Jim has also successfully represented clients in proceedings before the Committee on Character and Fitness, and he consults with bar applicants who face issues that may bring them to the attention of that Committee. He is pleased to note that his advice has assisted many applicants in reckoning with difficult situations, and ultimately achieving licensure.

Jim is available to provide expert opinion and testimony addressing the application of the Rules of Professional Conduct in legal malpractice cases or other civil actions.

Jim is a member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility. He is currently serving as Co-Chair of the CBA’s Professional Responsibility Committee.

Beginning in his ARDC days, Jim has created numerous MCLE- and PMCLE-accredited materials and presentations on topics pertaining to professionalism and ethics. He has discussed those topics, and many more, before groups of all sizes in a knowledgeable and engaging way.

Along with Mary Robinson and Sari Montgomery, Jim is a co-author of Chapter 13, “Disciplinary Liability,” Attorneys’ Legal Liability (IICLE®, 2018) and Chapter 9, “Ethical Considerations in Jury Trials,” Inside & Outside the Jury Box (IICLE®, 2018).

Jim is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

  • As Senior Counsel at ARDC, conducted hundreds of investigations and prosecuted more than 70 formal disciplinary cases
  • As defense lawyer, obtained dismissals of all charges in 3 distinct ARDC cases after fully contested hearings
  • Co-author, Chapter 13, “Disciplinary Liability,” Attorneys’ Legal Liability (IICLE®, 2018)
  • Co-author, Chapter 9, “Ethical Considerations in Jury Trials,” Inside & Outside the Jury Box (IICLE®, 2018)
  • Accomplished presenter of legal ethics and professionalism MCLE- and PMCLE-accredited materials
  • Reviews of Jim’s CLE presentations have said:
    • “Real world point of view.”
    • “Mr. Doppke’s explanations of the Rules were both interesting and clear.”
    • “Valuable and excellent advice.”
    • “He knew chapter and verse for every situation.”
    • “He was superb. His recent and extensive ARDC experience added a lot of weight to the program.”
    • “He’s a shining example in our profession.”

Panelist, Ethics 2021: Legal Ethics and Professionalism of Your Favorite TV Show, Yada, Yada, Clifford Law Offices, February 18, 2021

How Much More? Ethical Dilemmas and Pitfalls During the Pandemic, Chicago Bar Association Professional Responsibility Committee, September 17, 2020

Panelist, Data Security for Lawyers: Sensibly Protecting Information in Unusual Times, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, June 12, 2020

She Said What?!? Best Practices for Responding to Negative Internet Reviews, Catholic Lawyers Guild, March 12, 2020 (with Tracy L. Kepler)

On Track to Where? Limited Scope Representation 2020, Chicago Bar Association, Professional Responsibility Committee, January 16, 2020

The Litigation Reach of The Opioid Epidemic, Lunchtime CLE Series, James R. Thompson Center, February 2019

ARDC Charges and Malpractice: How to Protect Yourself (panel participant), National Employment Lawyers Association / Illinois Chapter, 7th Circuit Conference, February 2019

Internal Investigations: Ethics and Practical Guidance, Dominic L. DiCarlo U.S. Court of Int’l Trade Lecture, panel participant, November 2017

Model Rule 6.5: Opening the Door to Brief Service Pro Bono, American Bar Association Center for Professional Development webinar, panel participant, October 2017

Intersections: Legal Malpractice and Attorney Discipline, Chicago Bar Association Attorney Malpractice Committee, April 2017

In-House Counsel: Certain People of Importance, Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago, March 2017

New Lawyers: Ethical Blueprints, DuPage County Bar Association, February 2017

E-Discovery: Basics and Ethics, co-presenter with Percipient LLC at several presentations between 2014-2017 to private law firms, in-house legal departments, and others

The Cloud, Data Security & Legal Ethics, co-presenter with Percipient LLC and EDT Software, September and November 2016

2nd Annual DUI Defense Institute (ethics panel participant), April 2015

Streamlining Client Representation (panel participant), Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Ethics 2014, June 2014

Staying Out of Hot Water: Preventing Ethical Infractions in an IP Practice, Nixon Peabody Chicago Corporate Counsel IP Seminar, June 2014

Ethical Perspectives from the Trenches, NIU College of Law Murer Professionalism Series, February 2013

Ethical Considerations for Real Estate Lawyers, DuPage County Bar Association Real Estate Committee, October 2012

Ethical Guidelines for Prosecutors, Kane County State’s Attorney, June 2012

Understanding the New Client Trust Account Requirements, Kane County Bar Association, May 2012

Trust & Estate Ethical Issues, Chicago Bar Association, May 2012

Understanding the New Client Trust Account Requirements, Kane County Bar Association, May 2012

  • Provides well-researched, concise ethics opinion letters and consultations
  • Has achieved full and partial dismissals of disciplinary charges in seven contested ARDC cases since 2013
  • Successfully represents clients in disciplinary investigations through closure
  • Represents applicants to the Illinois Bar in achieving certification for admission
  • Represents lawyers in Illinois state and federal courts in civil litigation and in ancillary proceedings
  • Represents judges before the Judicial Inquiry Board and Illinois Courts Commission
  • Serves as Co-Chair, Chicago Bar Association Professional Responsibility Committee, 2020-2021
  • Has co-authored chapters in two IICLE® publications
  • Creates and presents CLE- and PMCLE-accredited seminars and panel discussions
  • Has appeared twice on Technically Legal podcast to discuss emerging ethics issues pertaining to innovations in legal tech