Biography

Melissa A. Smart is Litigation Group Manager and Senior Counsel at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois (ARDC) where she supervises a group of litigation attorneys and staff, investigates charges of lawyer misconduct and prosecutes disciplinary cases.  Ms. Smart obtained her B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She received her law degree from The John Marshall Law School, graduating cum laude.  Ms. Smart began working at the ARDC as a law clerk in 1997 and became Counsel for the Administrator in 1999.  As a member of the Commission’s staff for over fifteen years, she has investigated thousands of charges of professional misconduct and has been responsible for over 100 different formal disciplinary proceedings filed in the Supreme Court of Illinois or before various Commission Boards.  She has tried dozens of matters before the Commission Hearing Board. 

Ms. Smart is past Chair of the YLS Professional Responsibility Committee of the Chicago Bar Association and currently serves on the Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.  She has lectured and presented workshops regarding professional responsibility and disciplinary law to numerous bar association groups, government agencies, law firms, private organizations and law schools.  She has appeared as a guest on various radio programs to discuss her knowledge of the Rules of Professional Conduct and issues related to professional responsibility.  She has been selected to work on pilot programs for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, which have developed model courses on professional responsibility and CLE course facilitation.  She was named a Member of the Joint Illinois State Bar Association/Chicago Bar Association Special Committee on Ethics 2000 which reviewed existing Illinois ethics guidelines and suggested changes to the Illinois Supreme Court, which formed the basis for the New 2010 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.  Ms. Smart is the Eastern Regional Reporter for the National Organization of Bar Counsel Current Developments Project.  In that capacity, she summarizes professional responsibility statutory changes and case law throughout the Eastern Region of the United States and analyzes and summarizes developments and trends at national conferences held twice a year.  Ms. Smart was also recently appointed to serve as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee of the National Organization of Bar Counsel to review and make recommendations regarding the Report from the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being.