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Practicing law in Illinois? Now you must register online, tell ARDC more about your practice

By The Cook County Record | May 27, 2015

Attorneys practicing in Illinois will now need to register their practice with the state online, as the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission seeks to boost the quality of the data it collects from practicing attorneys in the state.

Wednesday, the Illinois Supreme Court announced it has changed its Rule 756, which governs how lawyers register each year to practice in Illinois.

Previously, attorneys were given the choice of registering online and providing an assortment of information requested by the ARDC, including their home address, a list of all other states in which they are licensed to practice law, the type of firm at which the attorney practices, the number of lawyers in the firms in which a registering lawyer works, and the areas of practice in which the lawyer focuses, among other bits of information.

Lawyers will not be able to complete the online registration process without supplying the information, the ARDC said.

Attorneys who have not registered in any given year by Feb. 1 or who have not paid all required fees or submitted all required information can be removed from the ARDC’s Master Roll of attorneys, the release said.

Under the previous rule, 81 percent of the state’s 95,000 attorneys registered online in 2015, and a number of lawyers voluntarily provided the data sought by the ARDC.

However, ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin said in a prepared statement lawyers must now furnish the required information to help the ARDC “better understand lawyers’ practices.”

“We'll be able to target our educational and regulatory resources to lawyers and assess whether those approaches are working,” Larkin said.

Larkin said the data collection helps attorney registration agencies in other countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, to tailor regulatory approaches to help firms “practice more efficiently,” while “reducing the number of complaints.”

Larkin said the ARDC will keep the collected information “confidential,” with the exception of the business address and phone number, which is listed on the ARDC’s Master Roll.

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