Mary Robinson has immersed in the field of professional responsibility since her 1992 appointment as Administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, where, for 15 years, she was responsible for developing and implementing policies for enforcement of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. During that time, she developed a nationwide network of relationships and participated in a host of initiatives aimed at defining a future for the legal profession where the value of service to clients is enhanced and the quality of life for lawyers is improved. Since leaving the ARDC in 2007, she has been advising lawyers and firms facing ethical challenges, providing expert witness services in matters involving lawyer ethics, and defending lawyers in ARDC investigations and prosecutions.
Ms. Robinson practiced appellate, criminal and family law for almost two decades before joining the ARDC, experience that shaped her understanding and application of the law of professional responsibility during her tenure there. She continues to value a practical, experience-based assessment of ethical requirements. By the same token, she values thorough knowledge of legal principles and rigorous legal analysis. Her experience teaching professional responsibility, her work on committees responsible for developing ethics rules and drafting ethics opinions, and her many presentations to local, state and national bar audiences have given her the opportunity to develop comprehensive understandings of the law in this field.
Her experiences in prosecuting and defending discipline cases have inspired a dedication to the merit of prevention. Too many lawyers wander into difficulty because they have not implemented sound office systems and because they are not paying attention to what is not working for them in their practices. Mary appreciates opportunities to work with lawyers any time they decide to take control of the direction of their professional lives. She is an avid supporter of the Lawyers Assistance Program, and has watched dozens of lawyers and their family members find help at critically difficult points in their lives.
In addition to her practice, Mary Robinson serves by appointment of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as the Shakman Compliance Administrator for Cook County, responsible for overseeing compliance with the decree prohibiting unlawful patronage employment practices by the County.
Administrator, Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, 1992 – 2007
Partner, Robinson & Skelnik, Elgin, Illinois 1982 – 1992
Deputy Director, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Second District Office 1977- 1982
American Bar Association
ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Member 2007 – 2010
ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility, Planning Committee, Member 2007 – 2011, Chair 2008 – 2010
ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline, Member 1995 – 1997
Presentations 1992 – present
Lecturer and panelist on professional responsibility issues for, inter alia: ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility; ABA Conference on the Role of the Court in Improving Lawyer Conduct and Professionalism; ABA Symposium on Teaching Professional Responsibility; CoLAP National Conference for Lawyers Assistance Programs; National Organization of Bar Counsel Midyear and Annual Meetings; Illinois Appellate Defender and Illinois Attorney General in-house training programs; Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, IICLE, PLI, ALI-ABA, Law Bulletin and various county bar association programs on professional responsibility.
Law School Teaching
Northern Illinois University School of Law, Professional Responsibility Course, Spring Semester 1999 – 2004
Northwestern University Law School, Professional Responsibility Course, Spring Semester, 2005
Instrumental in development of Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism as liaison to and member of Illinois Supreme Court Special Committee on Professionalism (2001 – 2004); ex officio member of Commission 2004 – 2007
Commissioner, Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Illinois Supreme Court (1989 – 1992)
Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, Member 1988–1991
Illinois State Bar Association: Special Committee on Ancillary Businesses, Task Force on Multi-Disciplinary Practice, Coordinating Committee for Conclave on Legal Education, Criminal Justice Section Council, Committee on Mental Health
Lecturer and panelist for IICLE and bar association courses on criminal law, search and seizure, and appellate practice; coordinator of appellate practice seminar cosponsored by Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association and John Marshall Law School; lecturer for Illinois Appellate Defender training conferences. (1980 – 1991)
Education and Licensing
J.D., University of Southern California – 1974
Admitted to practice: Illinois (April 1975), California (January 1975)
Admitted to the bars of the: United States District Court, Northern and Central
Districts, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, United States Supreme Court
Oct 2006, Illinois Lawyers Assistance Program Carl H. Rolewick Award
June 2007, John Marshall Law School Corporate Law Association Francis D. Morrissey Lifetime Achievement Award
“Discipline and Disability: When Is Disease a Defense?,” ABA GP SOLO, p. 31, (October/November 2009)
The Professional Cost of Untreated Addiction and Mental Illness in Practicing Attorneys, The Professional Lawyer, 2009 Symposium Issue, p. 101 (ABA Center for Professional Responsibility 2009)
“In The End, It’s All About The Children: Chicago Attorneys Travel to Africa,” CBA Record, p. 40 (September 2008).
“Colleagues in Crisis. Collateral Damage: Careers and Families,” The Judges’ Journal, American Bar Association, p. 37 (Spring 2008).
“A Lawyer’s Duty To Report Another Lawyer’s Misconduct: The Illinois Experience,” The Professional Lawyer, 2007 Symposium Issue, p. 47 (ABA Center for Professional Responsibility 2007).
“Avoiding ARDC Anxiety: A Disciplinary Primer,” 84 Ill Bar J 452 (September 1996).