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

In the Matter of:

NEIL ALAN SPECTOR,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6181744.

 

Commission No. 2010PR00075

FILED -  June 8, 2010

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney Claudia R. Silva, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Neil Alan Spector, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 5, 1981, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute:

COUNT I
(
Engaging in conduct that is meant to embarrass a third party)

1. On or about March 30, 2009, Nathaniel George ("Mr. George") allegedly grabbed his step-son by the collar and threw him out of a room. On March 30, 2009, in the Circuit Court of DuPage County, case no. 09 OP 580, the court entered an order or protection and ordered Mr. George to have no contact with his step-son or his step-son's grandmother, Maria Valentin ("Valentin"). On April 23, 2009, Mr. George was charged with the unlawful violation of the order of protection previously entered in 09 OP 580. The clerk of the court docketed the matter as People of the State of Illinois v. Nathaniel George, case no. 09 DV 623, in the Circuit Court of DuPage County. The Honorable Elizabeth Sexton presided over the matter. Judge Sexton ordered Mr. George to have no contact with his step-son or Valentin.

2. On or about April 24, 2009, Respondent agreed to represent Mr. George in the matters relating to the allegations that Mr. George had violated the order of protection.

3. On or about October 19, 2009, Respondent appeared in court in case no. 09 DV 623. Valentin also appeared in court. On that date, Respondent asked the court to continue the matter, and the court granted Respondent's motion.

4. As both Respondent and Valentin left the courtroom, Respondent stated the following to Valentin: "have a nice day, you piece of shit."

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

  1. using means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person in violation of Rule 4.4 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990); and

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

COUNT II
(Failure to cooperate with the Commission)

6. On October 23, 2009, Valentin filed with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission ("ARDC") a "Request for Investigation of a Lawyer" in which she described Respondent's conduct as stated in paragraph four above. The Administrator reviewed the request and docketed an investigation, 09 CI 4740, into Valentin's allegations.

7. On November 2, 2009 and December 1, 2009, Counsel for the Administrator sent letters to Respondent's registered address requesting that he respond to the allegations raised by Valentin in investigation no. 09 CI 4740. Respondent received Counsel's letters shortly after the dates that they were sent.

8. As of February 5, 2010, Respondent had not responded to Counsel's letters dated November 2, 2009 and December 1, 2009.

9. On February 5, 2010, Counsel for the Administrator issued a subpoena to Respondent requiring his appearance on March 4, 2010 in relation to investigation no. 09 CI 4740. Respondent was served with the subpoena via certified mail on or about February 10, 2010.

10. On March 4, 2010, Respondent did not appear at the offices of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission as required by the subpoena served upon him on or about February 10, 2010.

11. On March 30, 2010, Counsel for the Administrator sent Respondent a letter advising him that pursuant to Commission Rule 55, the Administrator had referred investigation 09 CI 4740 to the Inquiry Board. The letter also advised Respondent that, pursuant to Commission Rule 55, Respondent could request to appear before the Inquiry Board at its next meeting on April 14, 2010.

12. On the afternoon of April 13, 2010, one day before the Inquiry Board meeting, Respondent sent correspondence to the Administrator which stated, in part, "I sincerely apologize for not responding sooner to your inquiry. There is no excuse for letting the matter get to this point. I suppose that my inaction was, in part, motivated by a resentment that I would have to answer such petty complaints." At no time in his letter, did Respondent address his failure to appear pursuant to subpoena on March 4, 2010, nor did he request the opportunity to appear before the Inquiry Board pursuant to Commission Rule 55.

13. As of April 14, 2010, the date the Inquiry Board voted that a complaint be filed in this matter, Respondent had not appeared in compliance with the Administrator's subpoena. Respondent's appearance was never waived or excused.

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

  1. failure to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(2) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);

  2. failure to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority in violation of Rule 8.1(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and

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

COUNT III
(Unauthorized practice of law after being removed from the roll of attorneys for failing to
comply with minimum continuing legal education and failure to register)

15. On September 29, 2005, effective on that date, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted Rule 794, requiring that, on or before June 30, 2009, every attorney admitted to practice law in Illinois whose last name began with the letters "N" through "Z" complete 20 hours of minimum continuing legal education (hereinafter, "MCLE"), including at least four hours relating to professional responsibility. As of September 29, 2005, Respondent knew or should have known of Rule 794 and his responsibility to comply with that rule.

16. On September 29, 2005, effective on that date, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted Rule 796, requiring that all attorneys report their completion of MCLE credit hours to the MCLE Board, and that, after being informed by the MCLE Board of an attorney's failure to comply, the Administrator was to send notice to that attorney informing him that his name would be removed from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois on a date no sooner than 21 days from the date of the notice if the attorney did not comply with that rule. As of September 29, 2005, Respondent knew or should have known of Rule 796 and his responsibility to comply with it.

17. As of October 15, 2009, Respondent had not completed the MCLE coursework as required by Rule 794, or reported his completion of MCLE as required by Rule 796, and, at that time, the MCLE Board informed the Administrator of Respondent's failure to comply with those rules. On October 20, 2009, the Administrator sent a notice to Respondent at his registration address informing him that his name would be removed from the roll of attorneys on November 20, 2009, if he did not comply with his MCLE requirement before that date. Respondent received the Administrator's notice shortly thereafter.

18. As of January 15, 2010, Respondent had not reported to the MCLE Board his completion of MCLE coursework in compliance with Supreme Court Rule 794, and, on that date, the Administrator removed Respondent's name from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois.

19. On January 15, 2010,  the Administrator sent Respondent a notice of Respondent's removal from the master roll as a result of his failure to report to the MCLE Board his completion of MCLE in compliance with Supreme Court Rule 794. Respondent received the Administrator's notice shortly thereafter.

20. At all times alleged in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 756(a) required that, on or before the first day of January each year, every attorney admitted to practice law in Illinois (except those who were exempt) register and pay an annual registration fee, the amount of which was specified according to the provisions of the rule.

21. At all times alleged in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 756(g) provided that on February first of each year, the Administrator was to remove from the master roll of attorneys, the name of any attorney who was not registered for that year, as required by Supreme Court Rule 756(a).

22. As of February 1, 2010, Respondent had not registered with the Commission or paid the annual fee that was due for calendar year 2010, and, on March 8, 2010, the Administrator removed Respondent's name from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois.

23. From January 15, 2010 to April 14, 2010, the date the Inquiry Board voted to file a complaint against Respondent in this matter, Respondent was not authorized to practice law in Illinois, or to hold himself out as so authorized.

24. Between January 15, 2010 and April 14, 2010, Respondent continued to represent clients in court actions in Illinois, including, but not limited to, the following matters:

Client Represented

Matter Handled

Action Taken

Marlene Bennett, in Marlene Bennett v.Lumber 1 Construction, Incorporated

Cook County case number 08 M1 130854

On February 17, 2010, Respondent appeared in court and by agreement the matter was continued for trial to April 27, 2010.

Mellisa Estrada, in Estate of Johhny Baldwin, a minor by Maria Valentin v. Melissa Estrada

DuPage County case number 09 P 522

On February 24, 2010, Respondent appeared in court and filed a motion to strike/dismiss a petition for guardianship by the petitioner Valentin. In his motion, Respondent also requested an assessment of costs and attorney's fees against the petitioner Valentin;

On March 24, 2010, Respondent appeared in court. The court entered an order that Valentin's petition be dismissed.

25. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. practicing law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, in violation of Rule 5.5(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010) and Supreme Court Rule 756; and

  2. conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

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

WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

 
Claudia R. Silva
Counsel for the Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601-6219
Telephone: (312) 565-2600
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:  Claudia Silva