Illinois Supreme Court disbars 1, suspends 12 in latest disciplinary filing
The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on November 18, 2016, during the November Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.
- James Ryan Crowley, Northbrook
Mr. Crowley, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted in state court of possessing child pornography. He was suspended on an interim basis on July 6, 2016.
- James Francis Bishop, Crystal Lake
Mr. Bishop, who was licensed in 1966, was suspended for thirty days. While representing the sellers in a commercial real estate transaction, he mismanaged $1,282.31 in funds that he had agreed to hold as an escrowee. The suspension is effective on December 9, 2016.
- Robert Bless, Arlington Heights
Mr. Bless, who was licensed in 2004, was suspended for one year, with the suspension to run consecutive to a three-year and until further order suspension imposed in a prior disciplinary case. After suffering an injury on duty while employed as a Cook County Sheriff’s police officer, Mr. Bless collected temporary total disability payments for more than two years. During that time, he continued to work as an attorney and was elected to a paid position on the McHenry County Board, despite knowing that he did not have the required approval to engage in secondary employment.
- Samuel J. Cahnman, Springfield
Mr. Cahnman, who was licensed in 1978, was suspended for ninety days. While serving as an alderman for the City of Springfield, he represented a client in cases in which Springfield police officers arrested or issued citations to the client. He also participated in four closed City Council meetings during which the City Council discussed a police records destruction lawsuit and a civil rights lawsuit that his client had filed against the City through separate counsel. During these meetings, Mr. Cahnman was appearing on his client’s behalf in the very same traffic case that gave rise to the civil rights lawsuit. He did not disclose his representation to the City Council. The suspension is effective on December 9, 2016.
- LaOuida Glover, Steger
Ms. Glover, who was licensed in 1993, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court, with the suspension stayed in its entirety in favor of a two-year period of probation, subject to conditions. She failed to determine in a timely manner that her client did not have a viable retaliatory discharge claim against his employer, did not deposit or maintain the funds she received from the client in a client trust account, and unreasonably delayed the refund of unearned legal fees.
- Allen A. Lefkovitz, Chicago
Mr. Lefkovitz, who was licensed in 1980, was suspended for one year, with the suspension stayed after five months by an eighteen-month period of conditional probation. In eight separate client matters, after he received and deposited a check pertaining to the client’s property tax assessment reduction or refund, but before he paid his client their funds, he transferred funds from his client trust account to his personal and operating accounts, overdrawing his client trust
account or leaving the account with insufficient funds to cover what the client was owed. The suspension is effective on December 9, 2016.
- Barry J. Miller, Matteson
Mr. Miller, who was licensed in 1981, was suspended for thirty days. He engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by representing three clients in litigation and transactional matters while removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys for failing to comply with the Supreme Court’s minimum continuing legal education requirements. The suspension is effective on December 9, 2016.
- Michele L. Ohlson, Iverness
Ms. Ohlson, who was licensed in 2002, was suspended for six months, with the suspension stayed in its entirety by a one-year period of conditional probation. She mismanaged $2,185 in escrow funds that she was supposed to hold in connection with two separate residential real estate transactions.
- Linda M. Olsen, Chicago
Ms. Olsen, who was licensed in 1989, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. She neglected two client matters, did not communicate with her clients, failed to expedite litigation in a client’s divorce matter, and did not initially cooperate with the ARDC investigation.
- Jerry Allen Schulman, Oakbrook Terrace
Mr. Schulman, who was licensed in 1973, was suspended for two years. Over a period of approximately ten years, he allowed patent and trademark applications for three clients to
become abandoned when he did not respond to notices from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He also made misrepresentations to two of the clients regarding the status of their applications. The suspension is effective on December 9, 2016.
- Jennifer Cynthia Smetters, Chicago
Ms. Smetters, who was licensed in 1999, was suspended for six months and until further order of the Court. She missed court dates and discovery deadlines in a divorce proceeding, resulting in default orders being entered against her client. She also failed to cooperate with the ARDC investigation and did not appear at her own disciplinary proceeding.
- Robert William DeKelaita, Morton Grove
Mr. DeKelaita, who was licensed in 1997, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. Following a twelve-day federal jury trial, he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit asylum fraud, knowingly offering false statements in an asylum application, and suborning perjury during asylum interviews.
- Rhonda Crawford, Dolton
Ms. Crawford, who was licensed in 2003, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. While a candidate for judicial office in Cook County, she donned a sitting judge’s robe during that judge’s court call, took the bench, and purported to preside over three cases on the call. In addition to the interim suspension, she was enjoined and restrained from taking the judicial oath of office or assuming the office of judge until further order of the Court.