June 23, 2020
On February 3, 2020, the ARDC released for public comment its Intermediary Connecting Services Proposal and companion materials. The proposal is a step toward increasing the opportunity of lawyers to advertise and connect with clients. The proposal recognizes that connecting services can assist the public in bringing awareness to the legal nature of problems and of the availability of legal services to address those problems, that connecting services can bridge geographic and technological gaps, and that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to connecting lawyers to clients. The proposal seeks to bring some clarity and regulation to services that connect lawyers with consumers, by proposing certain amendments to Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2 (which deals with lawyer advertising rules) and Supreme Court Rule 730 (which currently requires group legal services to register with the ARDC). The proposed amendments would clarify when lawyers can participate in connecting services and what connecting services have to do so that lawyers can participate.
After publishing the proposal, the ARDC received comments from individual lawyers, bar associations, and other organizations connected with lawyers or involved with connecting services. The comments were insightful and have assisted the ARDC in examining the proposal by providing additional viewpoints.
The comment period for the ARDC's Intermediary Connecting Services proposal remains open until June 28, 2020. The ARDC welcomes those who have not read the proposal or who have not already commented to do so. Comments can be submitted to the ARDC at: firstname.lastname@example.org. On June 28, 2020, the ARDC will officially move into the consultation and collaboration period.
The ARDC has begun meeting virtually with comment providers to discuss the issues they have raised and to further examine the proposal. The virtual collaboration has so far been productive in identifying specific areas that warrant further consideration.
As part of its outreach to educate, and to receive additional feedback, on June 11, 2020, ARDC Administrator, Jerome Larkin, moderated a panel on the proposal for the Law Bulletin Media's Ethics 2020 Seminar, entitled: Referral to Riches or Ruin? The panel, which also included attorneys Daniel Konicek and Adrian Vucovich, discussed the impact the proposal could have on lawyers across the state of Illinois, what changes to the proposal they thought were appropriate or warranted, and what they would tell lawyers who were interested in participating in a connecting service.
Additionally, on June 25, 2020, the Administrator and I will participate in a one-hour webinar hosted by the Northwest Suburban Bar Association to discuss the proposal.
Further, the ARDC is preparing to host a series of virtual town halls. These town halls will provide the audience with the ability to interact with members of the ARDC to learn more about the proposal, and to express their thoughts on the proposal in a real-time format. More information will be available on the ARDC's website. Stay tuned!