BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD

OF THE

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION

AND

DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

MARCIA LYNN COHEN,

Attorney-Respondent,

No. 3121624.

Commission No.  2017PR00089

FILED --- August 16, 2017

 

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Scott Kozlov, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Marcia Lynn Cohen, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 3, 1978, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 770:

(Unauthorized Practice of Law After Failing to Register)

1. At all times alleged in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 756(a) required that, on or before the first day of January of each year, every attorney admitted to practice law in Illinois, except those who had assumed retirement status or who are otherwise exempt for reasons that do not apply in this matter, register and pay to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission ("the Commission"), a registration fee due according to the provisions of the rule.

2. At all times alleged in this complaint, 756(d) provided that the Administrator, on February 1 of each year, remove from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois the name of any attorney who has not registered for that year as required by Supreme Court Rule 756(a).

3. On November 1, 2012, the Administrator mailed a 2013 registration form to Respondent at the last business address listed by Respondent on her Illinois attorney registration. Respondent received the registration form shortly thereafter.

4. As of January 28, 2013, Respondent had not register for 2013, and, on that date, the Administrator mailed Respondent a final registration notice, cautioning her that her name would be removed from the roll if she did not register for 2013.

5. As of February 1, 2013, Respondent had not registered with the Commission or paid the annual fee due, and, on March 29, 2013, the Administrator removed Respondent's name from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois.

6. On April 2, 2013, the Administrator sent Respondent a notice that her name had been removed from roll of licensed attorneys in the State of Illinois as a result of her failure to register and pay her 2013 registration fee. Respondent received the Administrator's notice of removal shortly thereafter.

7. At no time between March 29, 2013 and July 24, 2017, the date that this complaint was voted by Inquiry Panel D of the Commission, had Respondent register to practice law in Illinois.

8. Between March 29, 2013, and July 24, 2017, Respondent was not authorized to practice law in Illinois or to hold herself out as so authorized.

9. In or about 1999, Respondent began working for the City of Berwyn as the Director of Administrative Hearings. As of July 24, 2017, the date that this complaint was voted by Inquiry Panel D of the Commission, Respondent was employed as Director of Administrative Hearings for the City of Berwyn.

10. As part of her duties as Administrator of Administrative Hearings for the City of Berwyn, Respondent performed legal work representing the city in municipal ordinance violation cases. Such proceedings were held in connection with citations that had been issued by the City of Berwyn Police Department for offenses such as disorderly conduct, municipal animal code violations, and juvenile offenses like curfew violations.

11. Between March 29, 2013, and July 24, 2017, while her name was removed from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice law in Illinois, Respondent held herself out as an attorney and represented the City of Berwyn in one to two contested matters per week (approximately 75 matters in total).

12. At no time did Respondent notify the City of Berwyn, the counsel for any defendants in municipal citation cases, or the hearing officers presiding over the administrative hearings referenced in paragraph 11, above, that she was not authorized to practice law in Illinois.

13. 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 and Supreme Court Rule 756(d) by handling legal municipal citation matters for the City of Berwyn and holding herself out as an attorney after her name was removed from the roll of licensed attorneys in 2013; and

  2. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct by handling legal matters and holding herself out as an attorney after her name was removed from the roll of licensed attorneys in 2013.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator respectfully 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.

Scott A. Kozlov
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:  Scott A. Kozlov