ARDC Annual Report Shows Grievances at Lowest Number Since 1988
The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC), the administrative agency that regulates licensed Illinois lawyers, has filed its year 2016 Annual Report with the Supreme Court of Illinois. The report was released to the public this morning when a copy was posted on the ARDC website.
A summary of the annual report is available at Highlights of the 2016 Annual Report.
The ARDC annually evaluates the effectiveness of the disciplinary system. Complete and comprehensive statistics concerning the disciplinary caseload are submitted to the Illinois Supreme Court and are published in the Annual Report. Few professions account for their regulatory activity in such detail.
In its Annual Report, the ARDC accounts to the Supreme Court for money received and spent. No tax money is used to fund the agency. All operating funds are taken from an annual registration fee paid by Illinois attorneys. By Supreme Court rule, lawyers pay an annual fee of $385. Of that amount, $95 is remitted to the Lawyers Trust Fund to fund legal services for the poor; $10 is sent to the Lawyers’ Assistance Program, an organization that helps lawyers, judges, law students, and their families with alcohol abuse, drug dependency, or mental health problems; $25 is submitted to the Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism; $25 funds the Client Protection Program to indemnify victims of lawyer misconduct; and the balance of the registration fee is used by the ARDC to pay for lawyer regulation.
Annual reports for every year since the ARDC’s founding in 1973 are published at the ARDC website under the tab marked: ARDC Organizational Information. The website also includes the Master Roll of Attorneys in Illinois and permits a user to search for certain basic public registration information, including the business address and public disciplinary record, of Illinois lawyers. The site attracts an average of more than 123,000 visits each month and, in 2016, visitors totaled more than 2 million. It has a searchable database of disciplinary decisions.
The ARDC consists of four members of the Illinois Bar and three non-lawyers appointed by the Supreme Court. The ARDC Chair is James R. Mendillo of Belleville. The Vice Chair is David F. Rolewick of Wheaton. The Commissioners receive no compensation for their services. The Commissioners create ARDC policies, establish an operating budget, appoint members of the Inquiry and Hearing Boards, and manage the Client Protection Program. Subject to the approval of the Supreme Court, the Commissioners appoint the ARDC’s chief executive officer, the Administrator. The Administrator is Jerome Larkin.
There are two ARDC offices: One Prudential Plaza in Chicago and 3161 White Oaks Drive in Springfield.