BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
OF THE
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
AND
DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

TERENCE MICHAEL FENELON, 

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 3126087.

 

Commission No.  06 CH 20

FILED -  September 15, 2008

JOINT STIPULATION OF FACTS
AND RECOMMENDATION FOR DISCIPLINE

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by her attorney, Melissa A. Smart, and Respondent, Terence Michael Fenelon, pro se, stipulate that the following facts are true:

I. JOINT STIPULATION OF FACTS

1. Beginning in 2002, Respondent represented Jeffrey Brackmann in matters related to his petition for dissolution of his marriage to Deborah Brackmann.

2. In December 2003, Jeffrey was found in contempt for failure to contribute to his child's medical expenses and was ordered to pay $1,069 to Deborah within 14 days.

3. As of January 9, 2004, Jeffrey had not paid the $1,069 to Deborah or given any funds to Respondent for payment to Deborah.

4. On January 9, 2004, when Respondent learned that Jeffrey was not going to pay Deborah within the 14 days, as ordered by the court, Respondent disbursed a check payable to Deborah for $1,069 from his client trust account, which held at least that amount in Respondent's fees. Respondent then advised Jeffrey to reimburse him.

5. Between January 9 and February 20, 2004, Jeffrey paid $1,069 to Respondent.

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II. MISCONDUCT

6. By reason of the conduct outlined above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. advancing or guaranteeing financial assistance to a client while representing the client in pending litigation, in violation of Rule 1.8(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;

  2. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

III. FACTORS IN MITIGATION

7. Respondent has expressed remorse for his conduct and has been cooperative during the formal disciplinary proceedings in this matter.

8. If this matter proceeded to hearing, Respondent would present the testimony of friends, attorneys and a judge who would testify to his good character and reputation.

IV. RECOMMENDATION FOR DISCIPLINE

9. The parties hereby waive the twenty-one day period for filing exceptions and request that the Hearing Board administer a reprimand to Respondent at the conclusion of the hearing in this matter pursuant to Commission Rule 282.

10. This recommendation is consistent with the sanctions in In re Chapman, et al., 92 SH 500 (January 25, 1995) and In re Cuda, 05 CH 36 (November 22, 2005), where attorneys committed misconduct similar to that of Respondent in the instant matter.

11. In In re Chapman, et al., 92 SH 500 (January 25, 1995) four attorneys in the Chapman firm were censured, and one, Melissa Ann Chapman Rheinecker, was reprimanded for guaranteeing bank loans for clients and advancing living expenses to clients.

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12. In In re Cuda, 05 CH 36 (November 22, 2005), the attorney was censured for making financial advances to nine separate clients totaling $16,515, while representing the clients in contemplated or pending litigation. Like Cuda, the misconduct in the present case involves making financial advances to a client, but in the present case there was only one instance, whereas in Cuda the advances were made to nine separate clients.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator and Respondent jointly request that the Hearing Board enter an order reprimanding Respondent as a result of his misconduct.

Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission
 

By: Melissa A. Smart

Melissa A. Smart
Counsel for the Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, Ste. 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Telephone: (312) 565-2600
 

Terence Michael Fenelon
Attorney-Respondent

 

By Terence Michael Fenelon

Terence Michael Fenelon
4513 Lincoln Ave., #111
Lisle, IL 60532-1290
Telephone: (630) 737-1255

REPRIMAND

Based upon the agreement and stipulations of the parties, the panel of the Hearing Board hereby makes findings, and reprimands and admonishes you, Terence Michael Fenelon, as follows:

1. You are being reprimanded for providing financial assistance to your client, Jeffrey Brackmann, during the litigation of his domestic relations matter, by advancing a sum to Brackmann's wife after Brackmann failed to comply with a court order. Had you avoided paying the sum on behalf of your client, these disciplinary proceedings might have been avoided.

2. Your conduct undermines the public's confidence in the legal profession. Attorneys have an obligation to avoid all conduct that could bring the legal profession into disrepute.

3. Your conduct as described in this Reprimand and in the Stipulation was improper. You have violated Rules 1.8(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 770. You are therefore reprimanded not to repeat the conduct which has resulted in the imposition of discipline.

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4. You are further advised that while this reprimand is not formally presented to the Illinois Supreme Court, it is not to be taken lightly. This reprimand is a matter of public record and is on file with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and may be admitted into evidence in subsequent disciplinary proceedings against you.

WHEREFORE, Terence Michael Fenelon, you are hereby REPRIMANDED. You are admonished not to engage in such misconduct in the future and to strictly comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct. You are further admonished that this disciplinary action is of public record and will be considered in the event of any future disciplinary proceedings relating to you.

Kenn Brotman, Chair
of the Hearing Panel

Cheryl M. Kneubuehl, Member
of the Hearing Panel

William Murray Dickson, Member
of the Hearing Panel