Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Illinois Report Shows Nearly 3/4 Of Sanctioned Attorneys Were Solos

The Illinois Attorney Grievance and Registration Commission Annual Report for 2011 is available on the ARDC web page.

The report is a treasure trove of information about complaints, investigations and sanctions broken down by age, gender, practice setting, areas of law and other factors that gives a comprehensive understanding of the workings of the Illinois disciplinary process.

One highlight: Of 165 lawyers disciplined in 2011, 120 were solo practicioners, 28 were in firms of 2 to 10 attorneys, one was in a firm of 11 to 25 attorneys, six in larger firms, four in government or judicial positions, three in-house and three "no practice."

And in a tribute to David Letterman, we have the "top ten" causes of trust account overdrafts:

1. check issued against uncollected funds (post-dated check syndrome).

2. deposited item returned.

3. failure to make timely deposit.

4. failure to account for bank fees.

5. on-line computer banking errors.

6. telephone banking errors.

7. using account for personal purposes.

8. lawyer math errors.

9. using wrong checkbook.


10. it was the bank's fault.

As I may have have mentioned before, you could not get this type of information about the D.C. system with a crowbar.

Response to question: How many Bars provide this type of information online? My guess is maybe a half dozen or so --Michigan and Maryland have reports tha I have seen.

This Illinois one linked above is notable for the depth of the information. (Mike Frisch)


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Do any other states publish this information?

Posted by: Jim Milles | Apr 23, 2013 7:07:12 AM

California reports this info and it is deceptive. Are solos disciplined more because they have more questionable ethics? Not likely. My observation is that 1) state bar disciplinarians go for the "road kill", low-hanging fruit, easy to prosecute because they cannot afford high power representation and 2) the transgressions in bigger firms never surface as state bar complaints because the client is "made whole" by the firm, obviating the need for the complaint since mostly it's about the money and not the former client's altruistic desire to prevent similar harm to future clients. Take any of these kinds of stats with a grain of salt.

Posted by: Karen | Apr 24, 2013 6:30:50 PM

Karen's points above are well-taken in all respects. These stats do not show that solos are less ethical, just more at risk.

Posted by: Mike Frisch | Apr 25, 2013 6:13:20 AM

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