The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that it has appointed Lea S. Gutierrez as the new Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC), the organization responsible for the registration and discipline of Illinois lawyers. Gutierrez’s appointment is effective October 23, 2023.
In this role, Gutierrez will serve as the organization’s principal executive officer and oversee its mission of safeguarding the public and promoting and protecting the integrity of the legal profession through attorney registration, education, investigation, prosecution, and remedial action.
She will assume the position from long-time ARDC Administrator Jerry Larkin, who is retiring after 16 years in the role. As Administrator of the ARDC, Gutierrez will serve as an ex-officio member of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, replacing Larkin.
“The Commission on Professionalism has had the opportunity to work with Lea on several initiatives in the past and looks forward to collaborating with her in this new role,” said Erika Harold, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. “Lea embodies the principles of professionalism, inclusive leadership, and integrity we promote at the Commission. We have a wonderful relationship with Jerry Larkin and the ARDC, and I look forward to continuing this partnership with Lea in service of the Illinois Supreme Court and the lawyers of Illinois.”
Dedicated public servant
Gutierrez worked as the ARDC’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Litigation Group Manager, and Senior Litigation Counsel from 2006 until 2021. More recently, she led diversity and inclusion efforts at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the American Lung Association. She is a graduate of Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law.
The Commission frequently collaborated with Gutierrez during her time at the ARDC. She presented at the Commission’s 2018 regional conference “Diversity and Well-Being are Essential to Effective Lawyering, which was held at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and has facilitated sessions for 1L law students during professionalism orientations organized by the Commission and Illinois law schools. In addition, Commission staff has presented with Gutierrez on topics including professional responsibility and cultural competency, among others.
“Lea Gutierrez is an impressive attorney and public servant who will be coming back to take the helm of an organization she served so well for many years,” Illinois Supreme Court Justice David Overstreet, Supreme Court Liaison to the ARDC, said in the press release. “I am confident she will lead effectively and in the outstanding tradition of her predecessors as Administrator of the ARDC.”
Gutierrez will be the fifth ARDC administrator, the second woman to hold the office, and the first person of color to do so.
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