On Wednesday, September 21, 2023, the Supreme Court of Illinois suspended James H. Schultz and ordered him to pay restitution. The ruling was made following a motion by the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to approve and confirm the report and recommendation of the Hearing Board.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of James H. Schultz.”
On April 26, 2023, the Hearing Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission recommended the suspension of Rock Island County Attorney James H. Schultz for professional misconduct.
According to the Complaint filed by the Administrator of ARDC on February 24, 2023, Schultz represented two clients, Ruth Clark and Richard Doyle, where Ruth’s interests were directly adverse to those of Richard. Schultz had drafted a will, quitclaim deed, and power of attorney for Ruth that had benefitted Richard to the detriment of Ruth. He had directed Ruth to sign those documents but had not explained to her the impact of her actions or advised her to get independent advice. By transferring Ruth’s assets to Richard and his minor son, Ethan, Schultz had rendered Ruth unable to pay for her medical care, had rendered her ineligible for Medicaid benefits, and had caused title in real estate to transfer to a minor who had been unable to own real estate in his own name. Schultz had also collected $6,000 in legal fees from Ruth and had attempted to collect an additional $7,340.25 while acting in a manner that had benefitted Richard to the detriment of Ruth. Moreover, he had failed to refund the $6,000 to Ruth after being ordered to do so by the Circuit Court of Rock Island County.
The Administrator had alleged that Schultz had violated the rules of professional conduct. The allegations of misconduct had been deemed admitted on April 5, 2023, based on Schultz’s failure to respond to the complaint and to participate in the pre-hearing conference scheduled despite proper notice. The hearing board recommended the imposition of a three-year suspension upon Schultz based on the latter’s egregious misconduct.
The Supreme Court accepted the recommendation and suspended James H. Schultz from practicing law for 3 years. The court also ordered him to pay $6,000 in restitution to Ruth Clark.
According to avvo.com, Mr. Schultz is an agriculture attorney in Rock Island, Illinois. He acquired his law license in Illinois in 1992.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.