The Illinois Courts Commission (Commission) announced that it has hired Shelley M. Bethune as its first Executive Director and General Counsel. Ms. Bethune will serve as the head of the agency and will supervise its day-to-day operations. Her first day will be June 1, 2022.
“We are thrilled to welcome Shelley as the first Executive Director of the Illinois Courts Commission,” said Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis, Chair of the Courts Commission. “Her background in ethics and the discipline process sets her up for success in this position. Her hiring helps maintain public confidence in our courts by providing for a robust judicial disciplinary system.”
Ms. Bethune’s most recent position was with the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP. There she defended attorneys in disciplinary proceedings before the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) and other lawyer regulatory agencies, as well as in civil legal malpractice actions. She also advised law firms and attorneys on various risk management issues to ensure compliance with their professional obligations. As part of this, she composed opinion letters analyzing relevant Rules of Professional Conduct and handled risk management hotline calls from attorneys on a wide range of ethical dilemmas.
“I am very honored to serve as the Courts Commission’s first Executive Director and General Counsel and humbled by the confidence the Commission has placed in me,” Bethune said. “I am excited to bring my experience in legal ethics and attorney discipline to the important work of the Commission, and I am equally eager to help maintain the integrity of the judiciary and inspire the public’s confidence in our court system through this new role.”
Prior to joining Hinshaw and Culbertson, Ms. Bethune served as Litigation Counsel for the ARDC. There she investigated hundreds of allegations of professional misconduct against Illinois attorneys to determine whether public charges of a violation of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct were warranted. She represented the ARDC Administrator in proceedings before the Inquiry and Hearing Boards and prepared pleadings for matters before the Hearing Board and the Illinois Supreme Court. She also provided guidance on ethical issues to Illinois attorneys through the Ethics Inquiry Program.
Ms. Bethune received her Juris Doctor from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan. During law school, she externed in the Chambers of the Hon. Ruben Castillo in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The Executive Director and General Counsel will have an office at the Commission’s headquarters in Chicago. For further information, the Commission may be contacted at info@IllinoisCourtsCommission.gov.