United States District Court

Northern District Of Illinois

Local Rules

LR83.58.4. Misconduct

(a) A lawyer shall not:

(1) violate or attempt to violate these rules;

(2) induce another to engage in conduct, or give assistance to another’s conduct, when the lawyer knows that conduct will violate these rules;

(3) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;

(4) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

(5) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;

(6) state or imply an ability to influence improperly any tribunal, legislative body, government agency or official;

(7) assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that the lawyer knows is a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct; or

(8) avoid in bad faith the repayment of an education loan guaranteed by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission or other governmental entity (the lawful discharge of an education loan in a bankruptcy proceeding shall not constitute bad faith under this rule, but the discharge shall not preclude a review of the attorney’s conduct to determine if it constitutes bad faith).

(b) A lawyer who holds public office shall not:

(1) use that office to obtain, or attempt to obtain, a special advantage in a legislative matter for a client under circumstances where the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that such action is not in the public interest;

(2) use that office to influence, or attempt to influence, a tribunal to act in favor of a client; or

(3) represent any client, including a municipal corporation or other public body, in the promotion or defeat of legislative or other proposals pending before the public body of which such lawyer is a member or by which such lawyer in employed.

(c) A lawyer who holds public office may accept political campaign contributions as permitted by law.

Committee Comment. Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud and the offense of willful failure to file an income tax return. However, some kinds of offense carry no such implication. Traditionally, the distinction was drawn in terms of offenses involving “moral turpitude.” That concept can be construed to include offenses concerning some matters of personal morality, such as adultery and comparable offenses, that have no specific connection to fitness for the practice of law. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for offenses that indicate lack of those characteristics relevant to law practice. Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice are in that category. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance, when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.

A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of LR83.51.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law.

Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of attorney. The same is true of abuse of positions of private trust such as trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, agent and officer, director or manager of a corporation or other organization.