Bloomington

Plaintiff in Sexual Harrassment suit accused of practicing law without license

McLean Co. (ECWd) –

The Plaintiff attorney and former McLean County Assistant State’s Attorney in a recently filed Sexual Harassment lawsuit out of McLean County is accused of practicing law without a license, according to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

The basics of the Complaint are that Attorney William Layne Roberts (Reg # 6321389) failed to complete required training, failed to report completing the required training, failed to pay the late fee, between April 19, 2017 and November 29, 2017, Roberts practiced law without a license by appearing in several cases while employed with the McLean County State’s Attorney’s office, and holding himself out as an attorney while his name was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys.

Roberts was reinstated on the Master Roll of Attorneys on November 29, 2017.

In a Complaint (2019PR00021) filed by the ARDC Administrator on March 9, 2019, it reads as below:

1. At all times alleged in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 793 requires that, by the last day of the month that occurs one year after the newly-admitted attorney’s admission to practice in Illinois, newly-admitted attorneys must: a) complete a Basic Skills Course of no less than six hours covering topics such as practice techniques and procedures under the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, client communications, use of trust accounts, attorneys’ other obligations under the Court’s Rule, required record keeping, professional responsibility topics (which may include professionalism, diversity and inclusion, mental health and substance abuse, and civility) and may cover other rudimentary elements of practice. The Basic Skills Course must include at least six hours approved for professional responsibility credit. An attorney may satisfy this requirement by participating in a mentoring program approved by the Commission on Professionalism pursuant to Rule 795(d)(11); b) complete at least nine additional hours of MCLE credit, which may include any number of hours approved for professional responsibility credit; and c) report their compliance to the MCLE Board as required by Rule 796.

2. At all times alleged in this complaint, Supreme Court Rule 796 requires that the MCLE Board send to attorneys a notice of requirement to submit an MCLE certification (“Initial MCLE Notice”). The attorney’s certification shall state whether the attorney complied with these Rules, has not complied with these Rules or is exempt. With respect to newly-admitted attorneys, Rule 796(a)(1)(i) requires that, on or before the first day of the month preceding the end of the attorney’s newly-admitted attorney requirement reporting period, the Director shall mail or email the attorney, at a mailing or email address maintained by the ARDC, an Initial MCLE notice.

3. For an attorney newly admitted in November 2015, the deadline for the completion of 15 hours of MCLE credit was November 30, 2016.

4. For an attorney newly admitted in November 2015, the deadline for reporting the completion of 15 hours of MCLE credit to the MCLE Board was December 31, 2016.

5. Between December 2015 and July 2016, Respondent was employed as an attorney in the Public Access and Consumer Protection Bureaus of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General as part of a fellowship program with the University of Illinois Law School.

6. On or about July 5, 2016, Respondent began working as an assistant state’s attorney with the McLean County State’s Attorney’s office in Bloomington, Illinois.

7. On or about September 23, 2016, and pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 796(a)(1)(i), the Director of the MCLE Board sent Respondent an Initial MCLE notice regarding the MCLE requirement for newly-admitted attorneys to his registered mailing address. The notice listed a completion deadline date of November 30, 2016, and a reporting deadline date of December 31, 2016. The notice also stated that, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 796(a)(2), attorneys must submit their report using the MCLE Board’s online reporting system and listed the website address for the MCLE Board.

8. As of November 30, 2016, Respondent had not completed the 15-hour requirement for newly-admitted attorneys as stated in Supreme Court Rule 793 and described in paragraph one, above.

9. On December 22, 2016, the MCLE Board sent an email reminder to Respondent at his registered email address maintained by the ARDC, which was his work email address at the McLean County State’s Attorney’s office. That email reminder stated that the reporting deadline (December 31, 2016) was fast approaching, and informed Respondent that the MCLE Board had not yet received his report for his newly-admitted attorney requirement reporting period. The email reminder also explained what Respondent, a newly-admitted attorney, must do to comply with the newly-admitted attorney requirement. The email directed Respondent to report his compliance to the MCLE Board electronically and provided the website address for the MCLE Board.

10. On or about December 22, 2016, Respondent received the email reminder from the MCLE Board.

11. As of December 31, 2016, Respondent had not completed the 15-hour requirement for newly-admitted attorneys as stated in Supreme Court Rule 793, and had not reported his compliance with the requirements of Rule 793 to the MCLE Board.

12. On January 6, 2017, the MCLE Board sent a notice of non-compliance with requirement for newly-admitted attorneys and notice of late fee to Respondent at his registered mailing address, which was his work address at the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office. The notice of non-compliance listed a completion and reporting deadline of March 2, 2017 and listed a late fee of $250. The notice stated that, if Respondent failed to report and pay the $250 late fee by the reporting deadline, the MCLE Board would refer Respondent’s name to the ARDC for removal from the Master Roll of Attorneys authorized to practice in Illinois. The notice directed Respondent to report his compliance electronically and provided the website address for the MCLE Board.

13. On or about January 8, 2017, Respondent received the notice of non-compliance from the MCLE Board.

14. On or about January 30, 2017, Respondent left a voicemail for Susan Doran (“Doran”), an employee of the MCLE Board, in which he requested that the MCLE Board waive the $250 late fee.

15. On or about January 30, 2017, Doran returned Respondent’s call and left a voicemail for Respondent.

16. On or about February 6, 2017, Respondent contacted the MCLE Board and spoke to Kevin Leonard (“Leonard”), an employee of the MCLE Board. Respondent again requested that the MCLE Board waive the $250 late fee. Leonard informed Respondent that he could not waive the late fee and provided Respondent with the MCLE Board email address so that he could request information regarding a medical hardship waiver.

17. On February 6, 2017, Doran contacted Respondent and requested that he use the message feature on the MCLE Board’s website to explain his situation and request an application for a medical hardship waiver. Doran also explained to Respondent that a physician’s note is required.

18. As of February 27, 2017, Respondent had not submitted an explanation about his situation or requested an application for a medical hardship waiver as directed by Doran.

19. On February 27, 2017, Christina Pusemp (“Pusemp“), an employee of the MCLE Board, left a voicemail for Respondent.

20. At no time between February 27, 2017 and March 2, 2017, did Respondent return Pusemp’s call or attempt to contact anyone at the MCLE Board.

21. As of March 2, 2017, Respondent had not completed the newly-admitted attorney requirement, had not reported to the MCLE Board that he had complied with the newly-admitted attorney requirement, and had not paid the $250 late fee.

22. On April 19, 2017, Respondent was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys authorized to practice in Illinois for failure to comply with the MCLE requirement for newly-admitted attorneys. On the same date, the ARDC sent Respondent a letter to his registered business address, which was his work address at the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office, informing him that his name was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys and that he was not authorized to practice law in Illinois.

23. On or about April 21, 2017, Respondent received the letter from the ARDC that informed him his name had been removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys and that he was no longer authorized to practice law in Illinois.

24. Between April 19, 2017 and November 29, 2017, Respondent continued to be employed by the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office, appeared in several matters and engaged in the practice of law as an assistant state’s attorney, despite being removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys.

25. On November 28, 2017, Respondent completed all of the requirements for newly-admitted attorneys.

26. On November 29, 2017, Respondent was reinstated to the Master Roll of Attorneys.

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

    1. practicing law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, by continuing to appear in cases and engage in the practice of law as an assistant McLean County state’s attorney, and holding himself out as an attorney after his name was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys authorized to practice in Illinois, in violation of Rule 5.5(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

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

We are unsure if the ARDC Board has heard this complaint yet, but will post the results once we are notified.

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2 replies »

  1. It appears he is only lacking 9 of the 9 skills of a successful lawyer:
    1. Communication skills.
    2. People skills.
    3. Time management.
    4. Research skills.
    5. Detail oriented.
    6. Creativity.
    7. Judgement.
    8. Stress management.
    9. Business skills.

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