Mary Robinson has practiced in the field of lawyer professional responsibility since her 1992 appointment as Administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, where, for 15 years, she was responsible for developing and implementing policies for enforcement of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. During that time, she developed a nationwide network of relationships and participated in a host of initiatives aimed at defining a future for the legal profession where the value of service to clients is enhanced and the quality of life for lawyers is improved. Since leaving the ARDC in 2007, she has been advising lawyers and firms facing ethical challenges, defending lawyers in ARDC investigations and prosecutions, representing judges facing disciplinary inquiries and charges, and providing expert witness services in matters involving lawyer ethics, while continuing to take part in local and national endeavors aimed at improving the profession.
Ms. Robinson values a practical assessment of ethical requirements informed by the realities of practicing law, while remaining committed to a thorough knowledge of legal principles and rigorous legal analysis. Her client base ranges from solo practitioners who represent consumers to partners in major law firms who provide sophisticated legal services for major corporate clients. She also represents technology firms seeking to structure ethically compliant relationships with lawyers and consumers of legal services, as well as governmental officials and law offices needing advice on ethical issues and assistance in training.
Prior to joining the ARDC, Ms. Robinson practiced appellate, criminal and family law in the collar counties and throughout the counties of the Second and Third Illinois Appellate Court Districts. That practice and her tenure at the ARDC allowed her to work with lawyers throughout the state and to understand local variations in legal practice that shape the problems lawyers face and the options available to them.
- Mary Robinson, P.C., Robinson Niro LLC, Robinson Law Group LLC, 2007-2018
- Cook County Shakman Compliance Administrator, 2009 – 2018
- Administrator, Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, 1992 – 2007
- Partner, Robinson & Skelnik, Elgin, Illinois 1982 – 1992
- Office of the State Appellate Defender, Deputy Director, Second District Office 1977- 1982; Assistant Defender, Third District Office 1975-1977
- Cook County Compliance Administrator, by appointment of the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois in Michael Shakman, et al. v. The Democratic Organization of Cook County, et al, No. 69 C 2145
- Illinois Supreme Court Special Committee on Professionalism
- Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, ex officio member
- Commissioner, Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Illinois Supreme Court
- Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, Member
- American Bar Association:
- Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility
- National Conference on Professional Responsibility, Planning Committee, Member and Chair
- Standing Committee on Professional Discipline
- ABA/BNA Lawyer’s Manual on Professional Conduct Editorial Board
- Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee
- Illinois State Bar Association:
- Task Force on Future of Legal Services
- Standing Committee on Future of Legal Services
- Special Committee on Ancillary Businesses
- Task Force on Multi-Disciplinary Practice
- Coordinating Committee for Conclave on Legal Education
- Criminal Justice Section Council
- Committee on Mental Health
- Chicago Bar Association Board of Governors
Lecturer and panelist on professional responsibility issues for:
- ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility
- ABA Conference on the Role of the Court in Improving Lawyer Conduct and Professionalism
- ABA Annual and Midyear Meeting Programs, Webinars
- ABA CoLAP National Conference for Lawyers Assistance Programs
- National Organization of Bar Counsel Midyear and Annual Meetings
- Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers
- International Association of Defense Counsel
- Illinois Appellate Defender
- Illinois Attorney General
- City of Chicago Law Department
- Inns of Court
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Chicago Bar Association
- Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education
- Practicing Law Institute
- Ethnic and County Bar Association programs throughout Illinois
Taught Professional Responsibility Course for Northwestern University Law School and Northern Illinois University School of Law
- J.D., University of Southern California – 1974
- Admitted to practice: Illinois (April 1975), California (January 1975)
- Admitted to the bars of the: United States District Court, Northern and Central Districts, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, United States Supreme Court
Attorneys Legal Liability – 2018 Edition, Chapter 13, “Disciplinary Liability,” Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education
“Mandating Civility: Wisdom or Folly?” ABA The Professional Lawyer, Vol. 22, No. 2 (April 2014)
“Discipline and Disability: When Is Disease a Defense?,” ABA GP SOLO, p. 31, (October/November 2009)
The Professional Cost of Untreated Addiction and Mental Illness in Practicing Attorneys, The Professional Lawyer, 2009 Symposium Issue, p. 101 (ABA Center for Professional Responsibility 2009)
“In The End, It’s All About The Children: Chicago Attorneys Travel to Africa,” CBA Record, p. 40 (September 2008).
“Colleagues in Crisis. Collateral Damage: Careers and Families,” The Judges’ Journal, American Bar Association, p. 37 (Spring 2008).
“A Lawyer’s Duty To Report Another Lawyer’s Misconduct: The Illinois Experience,” The Professional Lawyer, 2007 Symposium Issue, p. 47 (ABA Center for Professional Responsibility 2007).
“Abusive Tax Shelters: Ethical Pitfalls for Lawyers,” The Professional Lawyer, 2007 Symposium Issue, p. 99 (ABA Center for Professional Responsibility 2007).
“Avoiding ARDC Anxiety: A Disciplinary Primer,” 84 Ill Bar J 452 (September 1996).
Oct 2006, Illinois Lawyers Assistance Program Carl H. Rolewick Award
June 2007, John Marshall Law School Corporate Law Association Francis D. Morrissey Lifetime Achievement Award