I came across this headline on Law.com yesterday:
Lawyer Got Secretary to Take His CLE Courses, Disciplinary Complaint Contends
While online CLE offers attorneys incredible flexibility and convenience, this is not how online CLE should be utilized. Please be advised, that while you may have secretaries and legal assistants create accounts and even sign up for classes, if you do not personally participate in your online classes you may possibly be slapped with a suspension and fine on top of heaps of embarrassment.
Earlier this month an Illinois Administrator filed a complaint alleging that an attorney falsely certified that he had completed online Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses. However, instead of watching the online courses himself, the attorney allegedly “directed a secretary in his office to watch the courses on a laptop computer and respond to the prompts as if he were watching the courses” according to Count 6 of the Complaint. Miraculously, state attorney ethics authorities somehow found out about this alleged activity and filed a disciplinary complaint.
In the complaint, an Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission prosecutor contends that the attorney 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.
According to Count 10 of the Complaint, the attorney engaged in the following misconduct:
- Conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);
- Conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990)
- Conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.
Ironically, two of the courses that the attorneys received credit for were: “10 Ways to Reduce Your Chances of Being Sued or Disciplined,” and “At the Crossroads of Compliance: Which Way to Turn?”
Just a word to the wise …. please do not have other people in your office complete your CLE requirements for you. Happy Thanksgiving!
 In the Matter of D. Michael Rickgauer
 Lawyer Got Secretary to Take His CLE Courses, Disciplinary Complaint Contends