Under amended Supreme Court Rule 756, the annual registration fee
will increase from $342 to $382. That amounts to an increase of 11
cents per day for attorneys who are in active status for more than
three years. The $40 increase will be remitted to the Attorney
Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC), which will receive
$30; and the Commission on Professionalism, which will receive $10.
Attorneys in active status for less than three years; inactive
status attorneys; as well as out of state attorneys eligible to
practice in Illinois, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 707, will see
attorney registration fees rise from $105 to $121. The entire $16
increase will be remitted to the ARDC.
Even with the increase in fees, Illinois, which has the fifth
largest lawyer population with approximately 94,000 licensed
attorneys, ranks 21st of the states and the District of Columbia in
the amount it assesses in mandatory licensing fees and dues for
active status attorneys.
The Supreme Court also announced that active attorneys over the age
of 75 will no longer be exempt from paying the attorney license
The ARDC recommended to the Court elimination of the fee exempting
the 1,608 lawyers in Illinois who have reached the age of 75, saying
the cost of the regulatory system should be shared by all practicing
lawyers. By eliminating the exemption, it is estimated that over
$320,000 in additional funding would be available annually to the
ARDC and over $228,000 for the remaining agencies supported by
Retired status lawyers may continue to provide pro bono services
without paying the registration fee, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule
The rule changes are effective immediately. The new registration fee
takes effect with the 2015 attorney registration year, starting
January 1, 2015.
In the 41 years since the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary
Commission (ARDC) was established, registration fees earmarked for
ARDC operations have been raised seven times, with the last increase
taking effect for the 2007 registration year.
"The timing and amount of the ARDC’s fee increase request takes into
account the economic challenges facing many lawyers," said ARDC
Administrator Jerome Larkin. "Our fee has not been raised in eight
years – twice its projected lifespan. The ARDC has acted prudently
to extend the life of that fee in response to the Court’s directive
for fiscal restraint during the economic downturn.
"The amount of the increase for the ARDC is an historic low on a
percentage basis. The additional funds will allow the ARDC to
continue its educational, remedial, and disciplinary work."
The increased revenue will be used to undertake new and expanded
responsibilities in education of the profession, particularly in
support of the updated Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct
that went into effect in 2010; to fund the regulatory and
disciplinary authority of out of state attorneys who practice in
Illinois under Rule 707; and to upgrade technology in following the
Supreme Court's lead in e-business initiatives.
The ARDC operates under the authority of the Supreme Court, which
regulates the admission and discipline of lawyers in Illinois. The
Commissioners establish ARDC policies, appoint members of the ARDC
Hearing and Inquiry Boards, and the Commission's administrator,
subject to the approval of the Supreme Court. There are seven
Commissioners, three of whom are non-lawyers.
Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier serves as Supreme Court liaison to the
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With the increased revenue, the Commission on Professionalism will
assist providers in developing innovative and interactive
professional responsibility continuing legal education (CLE)
courses; continue to expand its successful statewide
lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program; and increase its social media
presence to educate and inspire lawyers.
The Commission's mentoring program has grown since its inception in
2012 to include over 75 law firms, bar associations and other
organizations as sponsoring organizations and over 1,300 new lawyers
and mentors have participated in the program, earning professional
responsibility CLE credits in the process.
More recently, the Commission launched an interactive website
(www.2civility.org) and social media campaign to better reach
lawyers across generations and across the state. Staff,
commissioners, and guests discuss professionalism issues on these
“I am thrilled about the opportunity to work in even more creative
and proactive ways on behalf of our profession,” said Executive
Director Jayne Reardon. “Technology is rapidly changing our
profession, including both the very nature and the delivery of legal
services. Our efforts to promote professionalism are more important
"We are grateful for the support of the Court and that so many
people are joining the professionalism movement."
The Commission on Professionalism was established by the Supreme
Court in 2005 to promote among the lawyers and judges of Illinois
the principles of integrity, professionalism, and civility; to
foster commitment to the elimination of bias and divisiveness within
the legal and judicial systems; and to ensure that those systems
provide equitable, effective and efficient resolution of problems
and disputes for the people of Illinois through collaboration with a
broad array of organizations, including law schools, bar
associations, courts, and others.
The Commission is an outgrowth of the Committee on Professionalism,
first established by the Supreme Court in 2001 as the Committee on
There are 15 Commissioners, all of whom are appointed by the Supreme
Court. In addition, the Director of the Minimum Continuing Legal
Education Program and the Administrator of the Attorney Registration
and Disciplinary Commission serve as ex-officio members of the
Justice Robert R. Thomas serves as Supreme Court liaison to the
Commission on Professionalism.
[Text received; DAWN FRISON COOK,
ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT]
(FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Joseph Tybor, director of communications to the Illinois Supreme
Court, at 312.793.2323 or Dawn Frison Cook, senior communications
specialist to the Illinois Supreme Court, at 312.793.0870)