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Duty to Report Professional Misconduct

Total General: .75  Total Professional Responsibility: .75

There is substantial interest in the profession regarding the duty to report misconduct. Questions regarding a lawyer’s reporting obligation pursuant to Rule 8.3 is among the most common received by the ARDC Ethics Inquiry Program. This is for good reason. Knowing your reporting obligations under Illinois law is important because, at some point in your career, you may observe unethical conduct of another lawyer. Although lawyers are free to report any unethical conduct of another lawyer, Illinois lawyers with knowledge of another lawyer's conduct that calls into question that lawyer's fitness or honesty may be required to report. An Illinois lawyer who fails to report such substantial misconduct of another lawyer or a judge could be subjected to professional discipline.

In this module, you will
  • Learn the professional conduct rules that require a lawyer to report certain ethics violations by another lawyer or a judge, as well as jurisdictional limitations and exceptions to the reporting requirements;
  • Apply those ethics rules to several different scenarios; and
  • Reflect on your own experience and what steps, if any, should be taken upon learning of the unethical conduct of another lawyer or a judge.
Surveys/Articles ISBA Advisory Opinions

available at ISBA Advisory Opinions on Professional Conduct do not have the weight of law and do not constitute legal advice.

ABA Formal Opinions

These opinions are based on the ABA Model Rules. The laws, court rules, regulations, rules of professional conduct, and opinions promulgated in individual jurisdictions are controlling. See ABA Jurisdictional Rules Comparison Charts (comparing each jurisdiction's rules with the ABA Model Rules).

Note: An Illinois lawyer’s reporting obligation pursuant to Illinois Rule 8.3(a) is comparatively narrower in scope than the reporting obligations under ABA Model Rule 8.3(a).

Informational Websites & Blogs
Content Contributor: James J. Grogan, Former Deputy Administrator and Chief Counsel, ARDC
Video Presenters: Myrrha Guzman, Intake Manager, ARDC and Melissa Smart, Director of Education, ARDC

Important MCLE Notice: This Program was originally released as a PMBR (2022-2023) module. If you have previously viewed this Program as a PMBR (2022-2023) module and received a Certificate of Completion, you may only claim MCLE credit once for this Program within a 12-month period. The ARDC reports individual attorney attendance to the MCLE Board by the 5th of the month subsequent to the date of completion of the MCLE program (for example, September events will be reported by October 5).