On Tuesday, January 17. 2023, the Supreme Court of Illinois allowed the Petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to impose Discipline on consent, resulting in the suspension of attorney Hedwig Sarnick for assisting in an unauthorized practice of law.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Hedwig Sarnick” and was brought by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission with case no. 031490.

The charges cited Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(a), 5.5(a), 1.4(b), and 8.4(c) which state:

Violating or attempting to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assisting or inducing another to do so, or doing so through the acts of another.

Assisting another in the unauthorized practice of law by conduct.

Failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary permits the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation by conduct.

Conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation by conduct.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

In the Petition, filed last November 3, 2022, it was stated that allegedly, the respondent assisted in a matter of unauthorized practice of law of a disbarred attorney and represented an individual in a worker’s compensation case without the client’s consent at the direction of the disbarred attorney.

The filing states:

“On November 8, 2018, Respondent, at Rozenstrauch’s request, filed a claim application for Zaborowski and listed herself as his counsel. Respondent did not discuss Zaborowski’s workers’ compensation application with him. Rather, she obtained the information she needed to file the claim application from Zaborowski’s file, which Rozenstrauch gave to her, and she filed the claim application at Rozenstrauch’s direction knowing he could not file it himself due to his disbarment. After the filing, Zaborowski began receiving workers’ compensation benefits. While the matter was pending, Respondent allowed Rozenstrauch to explain the worker’s compensation process to Zaborowski and discuss a potential personal injury claim with Zaborowski. When Zaborowski’s benefits terminated in 2019, he contacted Rozenstrauch rather than Respondent. In May 2019, Rozenstrauch met with a law school acquaintance who represented employees in workers’ compensation matters, on Respondent’s behalf, and he asked the acquaintance to review Zaborowski’s termination of benefits.”

The filing continues:

“After Rozenstrauch met with his acquaintance, the acquittance asked a Polish-speaking attorney in his firm to contact Zaborowski about reinstating his workers’ compensation benefits. When that attorney contacted Zaborowski, he learned for the first time that Rozenstrauch had been disbarred in 2015, and he authorized the attorney to represent him in attempting to reinstate his benefits. The attorney contacted Respondent to discuss substituting as counsel for Zaborowski in the workers’ compensation matter, but Respondent did not sign the substitution paperwork, which required the attorney to file a motion to dismiss Respondent as counsel of record. On June 17, 2019, the arbitrator in Zaborowski’s workers’ compensation case entered an order dismissing Respondent.”

According to the Administrator, the respondent’s conduct is aggravated because she engaged in this conduct for personal gain. This is because upon assisting on the matter, she can access the office equipment, support staff, and case referrals that she received while working on the disbarred attorney’s case. The Administrator, with the consent of the respondent and approval of the Hearing Board Panel, requested the suspension of the Respondent.

The Supreme Court of Illinois agreed with the matter and granted the Petition to impose discipline against attorney Sarnicki.

The Disposition states:

“Petition by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to impose discipline on consent pursuant to Supreme Cout Rule 762(b). Allowed. Respondent Hedwig Sarnicki is suspended from the practice of law for thirty (30) days. Suspension effective February 7, 2023.

Ms. Sarnick practices in Chicago Illinois and is licensed in the same state. Her info can be found on martindale.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.