Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Forms Equal Justice Rules Committee
The Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) of the Supreme Court of Illinois, the entity that investigates and prosecutes attorney misconduct, recognizes its responsibility to work towards making sure that the legal system functions fairly for all citizens. To that end, the ARDC has formed the Equal Justice Rules Committee (EJRC) to examine the ethical rules that govern Illinois attorneys’ conduct with the goal of determining whether amendment of those rules is necessary to enhance attorneys’ rights and refocus attorneys’ duties to act in a manner that supports the equal and fair application of justice.
The committee’s formation is the first step in working toward the goals expressed in the ARDC’s first-ever Statement on Racism, which was released in June 2020 and is posted at www.iardc.org. The committee, which is expected to begin meeting in August, will report its findings and recommendations to the ARDC’s Commissioners.
The EJRC is comprised of 12 distinguished and diverse persons:
- Timothy L. Bertschy, Vice-Chair of ARDC; EJRC Chair
- LaShana T. Jackson, SVP of Human Resources, R1 RCM; EJRC Vice-Chair
- Hon. Vincent F. Cornelius, Judge, Circuit Court of Will County
- Amy E. Crawford, Deputy Bureau Chief, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
- Leynee C. Flores, Immediate Past President, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois
- Lea S. Gutierrez, ARDC Director of Diversity and Inclusion; Litigation Manager
- Cannon D. Lambert, Sr., President-Elect, Cook County Bar Association
- Jerome E. Larkin, ARDC Administrator
- Scott Renfroe, ARDC Deputy Administrator
- Hon. Diane M. Shelley, Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County; President, Illinois Judges Association
- Allison L. Wood, Principal, Legal Ethics Consulting, PC
- Michael Zhang, ARDC Counsel
EJRC Chair Timothy Bertschy said: “Our legal system fundamentally rests upon the principle of equality of justice for all. Discriminatory conduct, or tolerance of such conduct, by any lawyer materially harms that ideal and threatens public confidence in our legal system and profession. Our committee, consistent with the ARDC’s Statement on Racism, will make recommendations for changes to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct to identify and address acts of intolerance by any participant in the legal system.”
LaShana Jackson, the EJRC’s Vice-Chair, added, “I am honored to serve as Vice-Chair for the EJRC and am proud of the steps the ARDC is taking to uncover and act on the presence of any inequity or discrimination in the structures and systems that govern attorneys.”
In addition to addressing the goals expressed in the ARDC’s Statement on Racism, the committee also will function in concert with the ARDC’s internal Diversity and Inclusion initiative, which commenced in 2015.