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ARDC's Intermediary Connecting Services Proposal

The ARDC is seeking to address those issues that discourage lawyers from expanding their advertising capabilities, and to provide rule-based guidance to those lawyers who wish to participate in for-profit connecting services that can increase the publicís access to the legal marketplace.† The ARDC welcomes your feedback on its Intermediary Connecting Services Proposal.† As part of the ARDCís outreach, you will find on this website the Proposal, answers to frequently asked questions about the Proposal, and information about virtual town halls and discussions in which you can reflect on the Proposal and join the conversation.

Comments on the Proposal are welcomed through June 28, 2020. Send comments to

Proposal and Companion Materials

Proposal and Executive Summary

Background and Overview of the ICS Proposal
Information about the inefficiencies in the marketplace affecting the opportunities for lawyers to connect with clients

Timeline of the ARDC's Study
Brief history of the meetings and discussions the ARDC had with organizations about the market inefficiencies and the proposal

Explanation of Proposed Amendments to Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2
Breakdown of key proposed amendments to Rule 7.2

Explanation of Proposed Amendments to Supreme Court Rule 730
Breakdown of key proposed amendments to Rule 730

Explanation of Proposed Supreme Court Rule 220
Brief discussion of proposed Rule 220

Constitutional Doctrines Discussion
Brief discussion of several constitutional doctrines

Frequently Asked Questions

There are currently several market inefficiencies that are likely impacting a lawyerís ability to advertise and deliver legal services to those who may need them, including:

  • Lack of awareness of legal nature of problems
  • Proliferation of self-represented litigants
  • Uneven distribution of lawyers
  • Limited time in the day to advertise or market
  • Ambiguous or vague Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Myriad of for-profit connecting services without sufficient oversight
  • Clarify when lawyers can participate in connecting services
  • Clarify what connecting services have to do so that lawyers can participate
  • Permit innovation with some regulation, recognizing that
    • Connecting services can assist in bringing awareness of legal services to the public
    • Connecting services can bridge geographic and technological gaps
    • Market forces will assist in fleshing out the details
  • Amend Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2
    • Permit lawyers to participate only in those services that maintain an active registration with the ARDC, provided that certain conditions are met
    • Key conditions focus on reducing circumstances that could influence attorneyís independent professional judgment and client representation
  • Amend Supreme Court Rule 730
    • Registration would create publicly available database of services
    • Compliance focuses on
      • False/misleading statements
      • Unauthorized practice of law
      • Capture of the attorney and attorney compensation
  • Establish Supreme Court Rule 220
    • Extend attorney-client privilege
    • Extend Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6(a)

June 28, 2020

The ARDC will post those comments for which the comment providers have given the ARDC permission.

The ARDC will enter a consultation and collaboration period, in which the ARDC will meet with comment providers and other interested parties to further explore any issues the comment providers or other interested parties have raised.

Until August 27, 2020

The ARDC has 21 days after the consultation and collaboration period ends to present to the Illinois Supreme Court a document containing the proposal, as it may have been amended, along with a report indicating the provisions of the proposal with which the interested parties significantly disagree.

Town Halls & Discussion

Virtual Town Halls

ARDCís Intermediary Connecting Services: A Virtual Town Hall

Summary: Participate in the ARDCís first-ever virtual event! Learn more about the ARDCís ICS Proposal and join the conversation through anonymous live polling and real-time Q&A.

When: Monday, July 20, 2020, at 11:00 am to 12:00 pm CDT

Upcoming Webinars

Northwest Suburban Bar Association: Zoom Summer Ethics Program

Summary: Explore the ARDCís ICS Proposal, and discuss the impact of the proposal on client development, ethical duties relating to working with connecting services

When: June 25, 2020, at 12:00pm to 1:15pm CDT

Past Events

DuPage County Bar Association: Hot Topics in Legal Ethics

Summary: Discuss various state approaches to for-profit matching services, and explore the ARDC's ICS Proposal

When: February 24, 2020

Law Bulletin Media Ethics 2020: Referral to Riches or Ruin?

Summary: Panel discussion on ARDCís ICS Proposal and its impact on lawyers

When: June 11, 2020

In the News

ARDC Proposal Aims to Address Legal Market Inefficiencies, 2Civility (Feb. 7, 2020)

Ill. Takes Steps Toward Regulated Online Legal Marketplaces, Law360

Trying to get access: ARDC proposes new regulations for attorney referral platforms to open up the middle class of potential clients, Chicago Lawyer (May 2020)

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Click here to contact the ARDC.

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