Illinois Attorneys are lawyers who are able to practice law within the State of Illinois. Illinois Attorneys must be in good standing with the Illinois Bar Association and have either taken, and passed, the Illinois Bar Examination or have permitted to practice within the State through either direct permission, such as pro hoc vice, or through reciprocity with another State. Illinois attorneys who practice in criminal law represent clients who have been charged with felonies, misdemeanors, traffic violations, DUIs and other violations against the city, county or the State of Illinois. Illinois Attorneys who practice in civil litigation will represent clients in matters involving torts, contracts, real estate, landlord/tenant, corporations, and other matters where the plaintiff is looking for damages instead of penalties against the defendant.
How does one become an Illinois Attorney?
In order to practice law within the State of Illinois an Illinois Attorney must meet a number of requirements set out by the Illinois Bar Association. An applicant who wishes to become an Illinois Attorney must have received a bachelors degree from a recognized college or university. In addition, an applicant who wishes to become an Illinois Attorney must also have graduated from an accredited law school within the United States or meet the other options listed in the Illinois Bar Association’s list of acceptable alternatives. Once an individual has been accepted and graduated from an accredited law school then that individual must take and pass the Illinois bar exam.
To be an Illinois Attorney an individual must take, and pass, the Illinois Bar Exam. The Illinois bar exam is a two day exam that gauges a potential Illinois attorneys ability to know both federal and state law as well as write persuasively. The first day of the Connecticut bar exam consists of 3 essay questions comprising written and administered by the Illinois Bar Examiners Office that test on Illinois State Law. The first day also includes 6 Multi-State Essay Exams which comprise federal law. Finally the first day concludes with the Multi-State Performance Test which gauges an applicants ability to take facts and substantive law together to create a persuasive memorandum or brief. The second day of the Illinois Bar Exam is the multi-State bar exam which is a multiple choice exam that is administered by the National Board of Bar Examiners. The Illinois Board of Bar Examiners weighs the tests in the following way: The MBE is 50%; the MPT is 7%; and the Essays are worth 43%. The annual pass rate of the Illinois Bar Exam is around 80%.
In addition to passing the Illinois Bar Exam the future Illinois Attorney must also fill out an application for background checks to ensure the Illinois Bar Association that the applicant represents the character and fitness necessary to practice law as an Illinois Attorney. The Illinois Attorney must also pass the Multi-State Performance Exam with a passing score of 80.
If an individual has been practicing law in a state that has reciprocity with the State of Illinois he, or she, may become an Illinois attorney without taking the Illinois Bar Exam. Illinois has reciprocity with 31 other states and the District of Columbia. The requirements are only that the prospective Illinois Attorney have practiced in another State, that has reciprocity, for 5 of the past 7 years before application and have scored an 80 on the MPRE.
If you have had a problem involving an ethical violation by you Illinois Attorney it may be necessary to file a complaint with the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. It is not necessary that you be the Illinois Attorney’s client, it is only necessary that you have information about an Illinois attorney that reflects poorly on their ability to practice law including allegations of illegal, unethical or dishonest conduct. An Illinois Attorney is considered a lawyer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is expected to uphold the rules of professional responsibility at all times. If you wish to file a complaint against any Illinois Attorney you should go to www.iardc.org. There are no formal requirements to filing a complaint but it must be in writing and it must be signed by the complainant. Your letter to the ARDC must include your name and contact information as well as the information about the Illinois Attorney. Also include any pertinent case numbers and names and copies of any documents. You can mail your complaint to one of two locations, one in Chicago and another in Springfield.
1 Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, Suite 1500
Chicago, IL 60601-6219
1 North Old Capitol Plaza, Suite 333
Springfield, IL 6701
If the disciplinary committee finds merit to the complaint then them matter will be forwarded to the inquiry board. If the inquiry board investigates the matter and finds that punishment is possible then it will recommend disciplinary action to the ARDC.
Finding Illinois Attorneys
If you need to find an Illinois Attorney you may take advantage of an internet search to find an Illinois attorney in your area that practices law in the area that you need representation in. Illinois attorneys keep web pages that in order to solicit clients. These websites are a wealth of information including the Illinois attorneys experience, education, certificates and any other positive attributes of the Illinois attorney.
You can also take advantage of the Illinois Bar Associations lawyer referral service at www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. For a $25 fee you will be directed to an Illinois attorney in your area that practices law in the specific field you need help in. The $25 will pay for a 30 minute consultation to inform you of your legal problem and the basics of what hurdles you will face. All Illinois attorneys in the referral service must be in good standing and have liability insurance.
One other option is to use the laws.com lawyer referral service at the top of this page. By clicking on the “find a lawyer” link on the top of this page you will be able to access the laws.com referral page. By including your name, contact information, and a brief description of your legal problem you will be contacted by a representative from laws.com with information about an Illinois attorney in your area.