February 23, 2018

Legislators Working as Property Tax Lawyers? It's Not Against Attorney Rules

Crain's Chicago Business
Trisha M. Rich

Partner Trisha Rich wrote an opinion piece for Crain's Chicago Business in which she explains conflicts rules covered in the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern all lawyers in the state. She focuses on the idea that elected officials should be banned from holding legal jobs related to property tax appeals—a sentiment that has been popular on the Illinois Governor campaign trail.

A number of candidates have suggested sweeping changes in the system, which has been said to enable "politically connected lawyers to unfairly secure property tax breaks for their clients." However, as Ms. Rich points out: "While winning such reductions has been described as unethical, this behavior—maybe surprisingly—does not violate any of the rules that govern lawyers."

She adds that, "While a law or regulation to ban legislators from practicing property tax law could be implemented, it would be effective only if it could be applied to all lawyers in that legislator's law firm."

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