Attorney's blogging prompts ethics complaint

, The National Law Journal

   | 11 Comments

A Chicago attorney who writes a blog highlighting what she describes as Illinois' corrupt probate system faces an ethics complaint.

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What's being said

  • Harvey

    Probate in California too is rife with cronyism, carelessness and gross disregard of the rights of those intended to be protected. Critics of the pattern of "go along to get along" get their fee applications ravaged, and everything they do becomes much more difficult. It's a closed system that protects itself.

  • Transaction7

    Except that the respondent is (and anyone should realize that she is) biased in this case, having some problems because of representing a family member, this article does not give us enough specific facts to judge the validity or legitimacy, vel non, of the Bar's complaint against this attorney blogger. Please give us more info and keep us advised as this unfolds.

    Probate is one of those fields that have, at many times and in many places, been rife with cronyism, carelessness and gross disregard of the rights of those intended to be protected, and corruption. I ran into some horrifying examples of this early in my practice years ago. Of course, some things in probate law contributed to the problems. Some have been improved in the ensuing years, but abuses are still rampant in many places.

    The legal profession's rules for its lawyer members have not always comported and still do not comport with the Constitutional protections afforded jpoliticians, child molesters, etc. Attorneys are often the only ones who know about dishonest or unethical, or otherwise bad, judges and justices , attorneys, including State Bar lawyers, etc., or the legal system, much of which they learn the hard way in cases in which they and their clients do have an interest and potential bias, and it is simply too dangerous for an attorney to tell the truth about them, from personal and professional experience, much less repeat what another judge, another attorney or attorneys, or other credible person tells you, even with partial corroboration. Others, with the right political and sexual relationships, can openly issue press releases and hire PR firms to influence public opinion in pending cases and it's accepted. Attorneys with proven personal knowledge of certain shocking material facts have told me but told me they were too afraid of retaliation by named judges and the Bar to repeat them privately to State Bar and other government lawyers, etc, much less provide affidavits or testimony.

    As for "bringing" either the State Bar or the legal profession into disrepute, both most State Bars and too many in the legal profession have done a very good job of that without the aid of this blog. I wish I could repeat what a young lawyer who now holds high judicial office told me about the State Bar and its disciplinary process and personnel, which I didn't believe at the time for reasons I would also love to explain publicly, or what a recent past President of the State Bar told me about the profession and too many of its members, years ago, much less now, but the Bar's rules forbit it and they would probably both deny it. As for the legal system, I've represented too many survivors of incestuous child sexual abuwe, some of it at the hands of people who were elected and high appionted officials then or later, disrepute doesn't begin to capture the facts and opinions of such matters, in which most of the perpetrators are not on the sex offender list becuase they were never investigated, prosecuted, etc. and it was covered up.

  • jdit

    > might have suffered from dementia> This statement is made four and a half years after the notarization and a three and a half years after the first documents were filed in the underlying case. In other words, the ARDC has the right ex post facto to declare incompetency with absolutely no timely competent psychiatric evidence. On these grounds, no attorney should ever notarize a document!

    The blog contains the court documents and laws, Supreme Court (IL and US) involved in this case.

  • jdit

    You selected one of the many key features of this case . and this notarization occurred one year BEFORE any actions in court were commenced. In other words, in Illinois, an attorney can be disqualified from representing a client if he/she at some point in the past notarized a document for a non-client with no competent psychiatric evidence of disability.

  • NoMoreMarxistsInDC

    So what else is new. We have a corrupt probate racketeering practice in Passaic County, NJ Superior Court Chancery Division. Just ask anyone who's had wealthy parents go through the Chancery Court there. There are a group of attorneys, along with the Judge, who are acting in concert with each other to strip the assets of the estate by taking power of attorney over the parent and then wiping out the proceeds. I've talked to people that saw the attorneys take over $500,000 in "legal fees" in under 6 months.



    The probate stories coming out of Passaic County remind me of the days of Gov. Christine Whitman who was told during her second campaign to stay away from Passaic County, or the "dirt might rub off".

  • joanne denison--respondent in the complaint

    The ARDC has no right to monitor, regulate or censor attorneys complaining about corruption in the Illinois court system, and more specifically the Probate Court where many seniors are being deprived of life, liberty, civil rights and human rights by being dumped into nursing homes, their paid for homes and bank accounts drained by forced nursing home fees, guardian ad litem fees, plenary guardian fees, which can run tens of thousands of dollars per year or more for atty fees. It starts with the nursing home fees.
    Someone has to stop all of this. Attorneys need to speak out where the seniors and infirm cannot.
    The stories I have heard are horrendous in nature and cannot be ignored. Please write, call and fax the Illinois ARDC and tell them that seniors and the infirm have rights, their stories of corruption and probate abuse can no longer be ignored, and attorneys that speak out and run blogs CANNOT AND MUST NOT BE CENSORED.
    The ARDC has no constitutional right to monitor my speech calling for investigations. Period. The GAL's and attorneys for guardians and OPG's and even judges have to start respecting everyone's constitutional rights in this regard. Grandma and grandpa should be treated better than all of this. Ill. ARDC Director: Mr. Jerome Larkin, One prudential Plaza, Chicago, IL 60601, tfx 312-565-2320. These cases MUST be investigated in a fair and competent manner. Thank you.

  • not available

    The situation that Ms. Denison is bloging is a National Disgrace as well as a new cottage industry - elder abuse and financial exploitation of the elderly. The focus is on the Sykes case pending in the Circuit Court. 755 ILCS 5/11a -10 codifies the due process protection - this is jurisdictional! In the Sykes case it was ignored and for over 3 years Sykes has been deprived of her liberty and property.
    Heaven and earth have been moved as part of the alleged 'coverup'. The ARDC has unilaterally over-ruled Ny Times v sullivan,376 US 254, Citizens United 558 US 310, Snyder 131 S. CT 1207, Alvarez 132 S. Ct 2537, AShcrof 542 US 656, Zauderer 471 US 626.
    Democracy is not a spectator sport - we need law enforcement to do an honest, complete, and comprehensive investigation what has happened to Denison as well as the underlying Sykes and similar cases.

  • Gyi

    Rule 8.3(a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of Rule 8.4(b) or Rule 8.4(c) shall inform the appropriate professional authority.

  • James J. Marlowe II, Esq.

    Corruption? In the Chicago Court system? Get outta Dodge!
    Every attorney-first as a citizen and second as an attorney- has a right and obligation to turn a searchlight on venal conduct in the legal system.
    Official attempts to stifle the ferreting out of dishonesty are as insidious as the prohibited conduct itself.

  • James J. Marlowe II, Esq.

    Corruption? In the Chicago Court system? Get outta Dodge!
    Every attorney-first as a citizen and second as an attorney- has a right and obligation to turn a searchlight on venal conduct in the legal system.
    Official attempts to stifle the ferreting out of dishonesty are as insidious as the prohibited conduct itself.

  • Spook

    Funny how the legal industrial complex calls it "undermining the administration of justice" if you speak about their doings (and I don't see how the bar has any standing to assert "defamation" claims on behalf of the supposed victims), yet the operators of the system do more to "undermine" justice each day than this lone attorney ever could.

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