Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 8.3

As amended through December 30, 2022
Rule 8.3 - Reporting Professional Misconduct
(a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of Rule 8.4(b) or Rule 8.4(c) shall inform the appropriate professional authority.
(b) A lawyer who knows that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.
(c) This Rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by the attorney-client privilege or by law or information gained by a lawyer or judge while participating in an approved lawyers' assistance program or an intermediary program approved by a circuit court in which nondisciplinary complaints against judges or lawyers can be referred.
(d) A lawyer who has been disciplined as a result of a lawyer disciplinary action brought before any body other than the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission shall report that fact to the Commission.

Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 8.3

Adopted July 1, 2009, effective 1/1/2010.

Comment

[1] Self-regulation of the legal profession requires that members of the profession initiate disciplinary investigation when they know of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. See In re Himmel, 125 Ill. 2d 531 (1988). Lawyers have a similar obligation with respect to judicial misconduct. An apparently isolated violation may indicate a pattern of misconduct that only a disciplinary investigation can uncover. Reporting a violation is especially important where the victim is unlikely to discover the offense.

[2] A report about misconduct is not required where it would involve disclosure of information protected by the attorney-client privilege or by law. However, a lawyer should encourage a client to consent to disclosure where prosecution would not substantially prejudice the client's interests.

[3] If a lawyer were obliged to report every violation of the Rules, the failure to report any violation would itself be a professional offense. Such a requirement existed in many jurisdictions but proved to be unenforceable. This Rule limits the reporting obligation to those offenses that a self-regulating profession must vigorously endeavor to prevent. A measure of judgment is, therefore, required in complying with the provisions of this Rule. A report should be made to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission unless some other agency is more appropriate in the circumstances. See Skolnick v. Altheimer & Gray, 191 Ill. 2d 214 (2000). Similar considerations apply to the reporting of judicial misconduct.

[4] The duty to report professional misconduct does not apply to a lawyer retained to represent a lawyer whose professional conduct is in question or to a lawyer consulted in a professional capacity by another lawyer on whether the inquiring lawyer has a duty to report a third party lawyer's professional misconduct. Such a situation is governed by the Rules applicable to the client-lawyer relationship.

[5] Information about a lawyer's or judge's misconduct or fitness may be received by a lawyer in the course of that lawyer's participation in an approved lawyers' or judges' assistance program or an approved intermediary program. In these circumstances, providing for an exception to the reporting requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule encourages lawyers and judges to seek treatment or assistance through such programs. Conversely, without such an exception, lawyers and judges may hesitate to seek assistance from these programs, which may then result in additional harm to their professional careers and additional injury to the welfare of clients and the public. See also Comment [19] to Rule 1.6.

[6] Rule 8.3(d) requires a lawyer to bring to the attention of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission any disciplinary sanction imposed by any other body against that lawyer. The Rule must be read in conjunction with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 763.