ARDC Defense and Ethics
For more than ten years, Mary Patricia Benz served as a volunteer on the ARDC Hearing and Inquiry Boards. Having resigned her volunteer position, she is now available to represent and counsel lawyers, or act as an expert witness in matters relating to ARDC.
As an ARDC Hearing Board Chair, Ms. Benz adjudicated more than 20 cases, involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, misrepresentation to a tribunal, failure to deliver client property, failure to inform clients of settlement offers, charging unreasonable fees, conflicts of interest, practicing while suspended, and conviction of a crime involving dishonesty.
Ms. Benz also represents applicants for admission to the Illinois Bar in connection with Character and Fitness committee matters. Applicants can benefit in many ways from expert guidance through a sometimes difficult and stressful process.
Additionally, Ms. Benz provides ethics counseling to lawyers. Many matters that find their way to ARDC involve questions of judgment. A lawyer who seeks professional advice to solve such problems as they come up may avoid the severe consequences that might otherwise follow an incorrect ethics decision. Further, the 2010 Rules of Professional Conduct encourage lawyers to seek privileged and confidential professional advice about ethics issues. The rules expressly allow lawyers to seek legal advice without client permission and to disclose client confidential information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to obtain legal advice about compliance with Rules of Professional Conduct. See Rule 1.6 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010. Ethics counseling can benefit lawyers in any practice setting — solo, large firm or public sector — by providing privileged communications and advice.