BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
In the Matter of:
ROBERT MICHAEL ROTHSTEIN,
Commission No. 2013PR00136
FILED --- December 23, 2013
Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Sharon D. Opryszek, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753, complains of Respondent Robert Michael Rothstein, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on May 10, 1984, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 770:
(Aiding Unauthorized Practice of Law of Suspended Attorney)
1. On November 19, 2012, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an order suspending attorney Howard Reich, hereinafter "Reich," from the practice of law for six months, effective December 10, 2012, in the matter entitled In re Howard Reich, Supreme Court M.R. No. 25504, Commission No. 08 CH 100.
2. At no time after December 12, 2012 did the Court vacate or set aside its order, enter an order reinstating Reich, or enter an order terminating Reich's suspension in Commission No. 08 CH 100.
3. At no time between December 12, 2012 through June 10, 2013 was Reich reinstated to the practice of law in Illinois.
4. At all times relevant to this complaint, Respondent was Reich's brother-in-law.
5. As of November 19, 2013, or shortly thereafter, Respondent knew that Reich was suspended from the practice of law and was not authorized to hold himself out as an attorney or practice in Illinois at all times between December 10, 2012 and June 10, 2013.
6. On or about December 10, 2012, Respondent offered to hire Reich as a paralegal at the rate of $100.00/hour to assist Respondent in legal matters including real estate transactions and estate planning.
7. Between December 12, 2012 and March 2013, with Respondent's knowledge, authority, and assistance, Reich engaged in numerous activities, including but not limited to the following instances:
(a) negotiated residential real estate contracts, including but not limited to preparing and editing attorney modification agreements on the following properties:
(1) 8450 North Lawndale, Skokie, Illinois;
(2) 3939 W. Jarvis, Chicago, Illinois; and
(3) 2833 W. Estes, Chicago;
(b) identified himself as an attorney and misled third parties into believing that he was an attorney authorized to practice law in conjunction with Respondent; and
(c) developed, implemented and communicated legal strategies on behalf of clients without consultation with Respondent.
8. On February 19, 2013 and March 3, 2013, Respondent paid Reich legal fees of $400, from a total attorney's fee of $1200, and $900, from a total attorney's fee of $1200, respectively, for his work on the matters described in paragraph 5(a) supra.
9. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:
a. assisting a person who is not a member of the bar in the performance of activity that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law by conduct including employing a suspended lawyer to function as a paralegal on Respondent's behalf, in violation of Rule 5.5(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;
b. sharing fees with non-lawyers by conduct including providing a suspended lawyer with a portion of fees collected in real estate transactions, in violation of Rule 5.4 (a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;
b. giving assistance to another's conduct, when the lawyer knows that conduct, by conduct including assisting a suspended attorney in the unauthorized practice of law, will violate the Rules of Professional Conduct in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(2); and
c. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, including but not limited to the engagement of a suspended attorney to represent clients in real estate transactions without advising anyone of the attorney's suspension, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.
WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.
Sharon D. Opryszek
Jerome Larkin, Administrator