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

In the Matter of:

D. MICHAEL RICKGAUER,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6196020.

 

Commission No. 2010PR00163  

FILED -  November 1, 2010

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Peter L. Rotskoff, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, D. Michael Rickgauer, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 5, 1987, 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:

(Dishonesty and Submission of False Information to MCLE Board)

1. In 2005, the Supreme Court of Illinois adapted rules requiring Minimum Continuing Legal Education ("MCLE"). For the initial two-year MCLE reporting period, Supreme Court Rule 794 required that Respondent complete 20 hours of continuing legal education ("CLE") activity on or before June 30, 2009.

2. As of June 30, 2009, Respondent had not completed any of the required 20 hours of CLE activity. Supreme Court Rule 796(b) provided that attorneys who fail to complete their CLE by the June 30, 2009 deadline be given an additional 61 day "grace period" to complete their MCLE requirement.

3. On or about July 27, 2009, Respondent enrolled to take online CLE classes through West LegalEdcenter, an accredited Illinois CLE provider.

4. Between July 27, 2009, and July 30, 2009, Respondent enrolled in the following online West LegalEdcenter classes:

Date

Program Title

Credit Hours

July 27, 2009

Selected Ethics Issues: How to Thrive in a Depressed

Economy

1.00

July 27, 2009

Ethics in Criminal Discovery: What Does/Should

Brady Mean

1.50

July 27, 2009

Ethical Risk Reduction: 10 Ways to Reduce Your

Chances of Being Sued or Disciplined

1.00

July 27, 2009

Ethical Issues for Lawyers Changing or Leaving Firms

1.00

July 27, 2009

How to Avoid Being the Target of a Legal

Malpractice Claim

1.00

July 28, 2009

The Right to Post-Conviction DNA Testing

After Osborne

1.00

July 28, 2009

Using Social Networking and Web 2.0 Sites in Trial

Practice

1.50

July 29, 2009

The Ninth Annual "Practical Aspects of Practicing Law

For Newer Attorneys": Law Office Management/Ethics

2.00

July 29, 2009

Testament from the Grave: Drew Peterson and the

New Hearsay Law

1.00

July 30, 2009

DUI and Alternative Testing: A Practical Guide for

Defense Attorneys and Prosecutors

1.50

July 30, 2009

Advanced Legal Writing

1.50

July 30, 2009

Best Practices in Eye Witness Identification

1.00

July 30, 2009

At the Crossroads of Compliance: Which Way to Turn?

1.50

July 30, 2009

Immigration Law for Criminal Defense Attorneys:

What You Really Need to Know

1.00

July 30, 2009

The 2008 Republican National Convention:

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

1.75

 

TOTAL

19.25

5. Each online course set forth above, required the user to respond to prompts during the course, at approximately ten minute intervals, to insure that the user was actively participating in the course.

6. On various occasions between July 27, 2009 and July 30, 2009, Respondent did not watch the online courses set forth in paragraph 4 above, and Respondent directed a secretary in his office to watch the courses on a laptop computer and respond to the prompts as if he were watching the courses.

7. At all times alleged in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 796(a)(2), required that every Illinois attorney subject to the MCLE requirement, certify his or her compliance with the required hours of CLE activity.

8. On November 19, 2009, Respondent reported to the MCLE Board that he had completed 20 hours of CLE credit (including 4 hours of professional responsibility credit) during the 2007 to 2009 reporting period. Respondent made the report on the MCLE Board's online reporting system and certified each statement set forth below:

I am the attorney identified at the top of this form.

I certify that the information contained in this certification to the MCLE Board is true and correct.

I have read MCLE Rule 796 of the Supreme Court of Illinois which lists the penalties for submitting an inaccurate or a false certification to the MCLE Board.

9. Respondent's submission of information and certification to the MCLE Board was false. Respondent knew that the information and certification he submitted to the MCLE Board were false because he did not complete 20 hours of CLE classes during the reporting period and he directed a secretary to complete some of the CLE classes for him.

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

  1. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);

  2. conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990); and

  3. 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.

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


Peter L. Rotskoff
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission
One North Old Capitol Plaza, Suite #333
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Telephone: (217) 522-6838
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Peter L. Rotskoff
Counsel for the Administrator