Legal Ethics

Lawyer Got Secretary to Take His CLE Courses, Disciplinary Complaint Contends

In a situation that will likely strike a chord with a number of attorneys who have been seen reading the newspaper, reviewing draft filings or otherwise appearing inattentive at live continuing legal education courses, a longtime Illinois practitioner has drawn disciplinary fire for allegedly arranging for a secretary to take online CLE courses on his behalf.

Instead of watching the material himself, D. Michael Rickgauer is accused of assigning a secretary to monitor a laptop and make required responses during the presentation every 10 minutes or so to “prove” his participation, according to the Legal Profession Blog.

But state attorney ethics authorities somehow found out about this claimed CLE scam and filed a disciplinary complaint earlier this month.

In the filing, an Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission prosecutor contends that Rickgauer acted dishonestly and in a manner that tends to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute by falsely certifying that he completed the CLE courses himself.

Rickgauer did not immediately respond to a request for comment left by the ABA Journal at his law office early in the evening on Monday.

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