ARDC Defense/JIB Defense, Bar Admissions

ARDC Defense in Illinois

Each year, thousands of Illinois lawyers find themselves facing a disciplinary inquiry which requires them to submit a written response to what may be an unfocused, angry grievance from a client, or an incomplete account of a litigation dispute. Stress and anxiety can follow, and can make it harder for lawyers to avoid the pitfalls of responding These pitfalls can prolong the process and potentially result in additional disciplinary exposure.

Many lawyers avoid seeking legal advice when these kinds of problems arise. But your livelihood is worth seeking out what you give your clients every day: informed, objective risk assessments, thorough investigations, thoughtful strategies, and impassioned advocacy.

At RSMD, we provide all of that and more, using our deep and detailed knowledge of the ARDC and all aspects of the disciplinary system. Mary Robinson led the ARDC for 15 years as its Administrator, and for more than a decade since, she has enjoyed her return to her defense-lawyer roots. Stephanie Stewart, Sari Montgomery, and Jim Doppke each have litigated discipline cases for more than 20 years, both as ARDC prosecutors and as defense lawyers. We are all driven to achieve the best possible results for our clients at every level.

Although every case is different and we cannot guarantee specific outcomes, we are proud to say that since 2014, RSMD lawyers have been responsible for representing the attorney-respondents in 80% of the cases in which the Hearing Board of the ARDC recommended a dismissal of all charges.

No matter the severity of the allegations, we recognize that any contact with the ARDC causes great stress and anxiety. We keep that concern front and center throughout our representation, and provide sympathetic and compassionate counsel.

JIB Defense

RSMD also represents judges in responding to inquiries and making appearances required by the Judicial Inquiry Board. We can offer information on how confidential proceedings are conducted, assistance in formulating written responses and preparing for questioning, and representation in appearances before the Board.  We will also provide thoughtful and avid representation in cases where JIB pursues formal charges to the Illinois Courts Commission.

Bar Admissions

Character and Fitness Proceedings

We are pleased to offer counsel and representation to candidates for admission to the Illinois bar.

We have advised hundreds of applicants at all stages of Character and Fitness proceedings and have obtained unanimous recommendations for admission following five-person contested hearings. In addition, we’ve successfully established the requisite good character and fitness of applicants with multiple criminal convictions, mental health concerns, and/or substance abuse problems.

We also assist attorneys in working through any difficulties they may encounter as they apply for licensure under the Limited Admission of House Counsel program, or with any other admissions issues. We know that like disciplinary cases, admissions matters can be difficult and stressful, and can potentially put a promising career on hold. We combine objective analysis of the process with a humane and caring approach to our clients.