Recognized by her peers as a “Super Lawyer” and/or “Leading Lawyer” in the area of professional liability for every year since 2007, Stephanie has successfully represented hundreds of lawyers and other professionals before the ARDC, the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (IDFPR), the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar, the Judicial Inquiry Board, and in state and federal civil litigation matters.

After graduating from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Stephanie served as a prosecutor at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (“ARDC”) where she investigated and litigated hundreds of attorney disciplinary cases. In 1999, she was promoted to Senior Counsel to the Administrator of the ARDC, a position she held until leaving the ARDC for private practice in 2002.

Stephanie’s practice largely concentrates on representing attorneys at all levels of investigation and prosecution by the ARDC. Ms. Stewart is committed to providing highly-skilled representation before the ARDC (based on over 20 years of experience) in a cost-effective manner. Ms. Stewart has successfully defended attorneys in hundreds of ARDC matters, including formal (public) disciplinary cases. 

Stephanie has served as both a consulting and a testifying expert in the legal ethics field and regularly advises and represents governmental entities, corporations, law firms, and individual lawyers and other professionals in ethics matters. For example, she has conducted internal ethics investigations, including Himmel investigations, for some of the largest law firms in Chicago. She has also represented attorneys and law firms in relation to legal malpractice, motions to disqualify and for sanctions, fee disputes, and partnership matters. 

She has successfully represented numerous applicants at every stage before the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar (Committee on Character & Fitness), including five-person panel contested hearings.  Stephanie also represents judges before the Judicial Inquiry Board and has obtained the confidential resolution of Rule 4(d) letters without the imposition of discipline. She has represented other professionals, including accountants and physicians, before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and negotiated favorable settlements with non-disciplinary orders.

  • Stephanie won a directed finding and dismissal of the charges against her client at trial before the ARDC Hearing Board, which involved allegations of nearly half a million dollars in improper fees. She thereafter also successfully argued in favor of the affirmation of the Hearing Board’s decision on appeal before the ARDC Review Board.
  • She obtained a full dismissal of the ARDC’s complaint against another client before the Hearing Board after utilizing a forensic computer expert to establish that her client had not improperly manipulated information on a website as charged.
  • She obtained a full dismissal before the Hearing Board following a contested in relation to allegations that the attorney had engaged in an improper conflict of interest in relation to a $425,000 gift made by an elderly client to the attorney’s own foundation.
  • She obtained a dismissal of the charges by the Hearing Board following a contested hearing in relation to allegations that her client converted escrow funds.
  • She obtained a dismissal of the charges by the Hearing Board following a contested hearing in relation to allegations that her client neglected an immigration matter, made misrepresentations to the ARDC, and failed to cooperate with the ARDC.
  • She has successfully represented attorneys in petitions for reinstatement to the practice of law in Illinois.
  • Appointed as a Special State’s Attorney for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office regarding ethics matters
  • Appointed as a Special State’s Attorney for the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office regarding ethics matters
  • Recipient, Carl H. Rolewick Award, Lawyers Assistance Program (2018)
  • Appointed to the Chicago Bar Association’s ARDC referral panel (2007-present)
  • Director, Chicago Bar Foundation Board of Directors (2005-2008)
  • Member, Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Public Interest Law Scholarship Selection Committee (2006-2008)

Education

  • Iowa State University – Ames, Iowa (B.A., 1991, with Honors)
  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law – Chicago, Illinois (J.D., 1994, Dean’s List)

Licensure

  • Illinois (1994)
  • U.S. Supreme Court (2004)
  • Chicago Bar Association (Chair, Committee on Professional Fees (2010-12); Chair, Professional Responsibility Committee, Young Lawyers Section (1998-1999); Vice-Chair, Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law and Multi-jurisdictional Practice (2006-2007, 2007-2008); Mentor, ARDC Law Office Mentoring Committee (2008-present))
  • Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (Secretary, Public Statements Committee (2007-2010); Member (2007-present))
  • National Association of Legal Fee Analysis (NALFA); Faculty Member (2016-present)
  • Appointed to the Transition Team on Education for the Alderman’s Office of the 46th Ward (2011)
  • Speaker, Overview and Avoidance of the ARDC, PLI’s Illinois Basic Skills for New Attorneys (2018)
  • Speaker, Hot Topics in Legal Outsourcing, the Anti-Bias Rule, and Advertising, Illinois Professional Responsibility MCLE Marathon, Practising Law Institute (2017)
  • Speaker, Attorney Fees & Ethics: It Pays to Be Reasonable, National Association of Legal Fee Analysis “NALFA” (2016)
  • Speaker, Attorney Mental Health & Substance Use: A call to Action, the Kennedy Forum (2016)
  • Speaker, Can They Do That? The Future of Legal Outsourcing, Ethics 2016, Law Bulletin Seminars (2016)
  • Speaker, Illinois Lawyer’s Assistance Program Annual Training (2016)
  • Speaker, Getting Paid: Ethical Issues Related to Attorney’s Fees, Law Bulletin Seminars (2015)
  • Speaker, Who’s Watching the Store? Protecting Electronic Client Information, Law Bulletin Seminars (2014)
  • Speaker, Legal Ethics 2012: Hot Topics in Communication and Technology, Lorman Education Services (2012)
  • Speaker, Maintaining Confidentiality and Handling Inadvertent Disclosure, Law Bulletin Seminars (2012)
    Speaker, Conflicts of Interest, Confidentiality, & Technology, Law Bulletin Seminars: Technology & the Rules of Professional Conduct (2011)
  • Speaker, Conflicts of Interest: the Principles and the Price of Being Wrong, Law Bulletin Seminars: Rules 2010 (2009, 2010)
    Co-author, Lawyers’ Liability and Discipline, A National Survey, presented at the Annual and Mid-Year Conferences for the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) (February, August 2008)
  • Speaker, Attorney-Client Privilege and Related Ethical Issues, Lorman Educational Services (2008, 2009)
  • Speaker, Ethical Issues for Government Lawyers, Department of Children and Family Services (2008)
  • Speaker, Ethical Issues in Litigation, Sara Lee Corporation (2008)
    Speaker, An Ethical Attorney-Client Relationship, The Law Bulletin Litigation Skills Conference (2008)
  • Speaker, Current Developments in Lawyers’ Liability & Discipline, Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) Annual and Mid-Year Conferences (2008)
  • Speaker, Issues of Malpractice and Ethics in Divorce, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) & the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) (2008)
  • Speaker, Ethical Issues in Communicating with Your Client and Others in the Employment Law Context, The Law Bulletin Employment Law Conference (2007)
  • Ethics training, Chicago Housing Authority (2005-2006)
  • Faculty Member, Illinois Supreme Court’s Professionalism Program for Law Students (2003-present)
  • Faculty Member, Discovering the Secrets of Effective Depositions, National Institute of Trial Advocacy (1998-present)
  • Faculty Member, National Mock Trial Institute, Northwestern University School of Law (1998-present)
  • Guest Lecturer on Ethics, De Paul University School of Law (2002)

2019 Leading Lawyers Award | Stephanie Stewart