As one of the largest voluntary state bar associations in the United States, the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) has more than 28,000 members who are lawyers licensed to practice in the state of Illinois. Headquartered in Springfield, Illinois, the ISBA has a second office in Chicago, Illinois.
The ISBA traces its root back to a meeting on January 4, 1877, at the Sangamon County Courthouse in Springfield, Illinois. The constitution adopted for the organization at that time explained the purposes of the organization as follows:
[T]o cultivate the science of jurisprudence, to promote reform in the law, to facilitate the administration of justice, to elevate the standard of integrity, honor, and courtesy in the legal profession, to encourage a thorough and liberal education, and to cherish a spirit of brotherhood among the members thereof.
The ISBA was involved in developing the current Illinois Criminal Code in 1961 and the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure in 1963. The ISBA also helped create the Lawyers Trust Fund, the Lawyers’ Assistance Program, the Client Security Fund of the Bar of Illinois, and the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education.
The ISBA is divided into 40 substantive law divisions allowing members to network with other attorneys in the same practice area. The sections host Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars and publish a newsletters to keep members updated. The ISBA also has 26 standing committees and several special committees.
The publications of the ISBA include E-Clips, a daily email newsletter summarizing case law updates and legal news, the Illinois Lawyer Now blog, the Illinois Courts Bulletin, newsletters from the various sections, and the Illinois Bar Journal.
Benefits of membership in the ISBA include access to:
Members also enjoy the ability to use meeting space in the Chicago and Springfield offices and discounts when purchasing malpractice insurance through the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company.
The organization recognizes its members through awards recognizing professional achievement in the legal profession including the ISBA Laureate Award.
To determine if an attorney in Illinois is licensed to practice law in the state, active and in good standing, visit the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois (ARDC). Search for attorneys licensed by the Supreme Court of Illinois to practice law in the state.
The search feature to lookup an attorney is accessible from the ARDC home page at www.iardc.org or from the general Lawyer Search lookup page at www.iardc.org/lawyersearch.asp.
You can search by name for a basic search, or by location for an advanced search, or by status, or with a combination of search terms. The search feature requires an exact last name but also includes a phonetic search option. The search results show the search terms near the top of the screen. The lawyers that match the search criteria are listed with their date of admission, city, state, and status to practice law in Illinois.
Included on the attorney’s profile page is information about any public record of discipline or pending proceedings. The disciplinary results displayed above include information relating to:
From the ARDC website, you can also search for lawyers not currently authorized to practice due to recent status changes. The online lookup feature helps the public identify lawyers who are not authorized to practice due to:
Registration status changes are updated each day but might not be reflected on Lawyer Search until the following business day.
New attorneys are authorized to practice law pursuant to their Illinois license as soon as they are sworn-in. Newly admitted attorneys need to register with the ARDC by December 31st of the year of admission.
The ISBA provides an online lawyer search tool called Illinois Lawyer Finder that gives the public two ways to find a lawyer. First, the public can search the online directory for lawyers in their geographical area for specific kinds of cases in different practice areas of the law. Second, the public can call for a referral after paying a fee of $25. Attorneys participating in the program agree to provide a 30-minute consultation.