Heirich, In re, No. 33455

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; DAVIS
Citation10 Ill.2d 357,140 N.E.2d 825
Docket NumberNo. 33455
Decision Date15 June 1956
Parties, 67 A.L.R.2d 827 In re Bruneau E. HEIRICH, Attorney, Respondent.

Page 825

140 N.E.2d 825
10 Ill.2d 357, 67 A.L.R.2d 827
In re Bruneau E. HEIRICH, Attorney, Respondent.
No. 33455.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
June 15, 1956.
As Modified on Denial of Rehearing March 20, 1957.

[10 Ill.2d 360]

Page 826

L. H. Vogel, Chicago, for respondent.

Charles Leviton, Chicago, amicus curiae.

PER CURIAM.

This is a proceeding to strike respondent Heirich's name from the roll of attorneys pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 59. Ill.Rev.Stat.1955, c. 110, § 101.59. On June 29, 1950, a formal complaint was filed by the committee on personal injury practice of the Chicago Bar Association, signed by its chairman, charging in substance, that respondent had been guilty of conduct and practices tending to bring the legal profession into disrepute, and had solicited professional employment directly and by employed runners and touters, and had divided

Page 827

fees for legal services with persons not admitted to the practice of law. The complaint also incorporated a lengthy communication of George Ericksen setting forth the charges with greater particularity. This communication charged the respondent, in substance, with the following misconduct:

1. He improperly solicited cases for Robert J. McDonald and William DeParcq and conspired with McDonald and others to enable McDonald to practice law in Illinois without a license.

2. He improperly solicited cases for himself.

3. He improperly asked clients or prospective clients to solicit cases for him and they did so solicit.

4. He improperly employed professional runners to solicit claims for him and they did so solicit.

5. He made false statements under oath in the case of Stanford v. Pennsylvania R. R. Co. in the court of common pleas of Cambria County, Pennsylvania.

Respondent filed motions in the alternative, to dismiss [10 Ill.2d 361] and to strike from the files the complaint, which were denied, and a motion for a bill of particulars, which was granted in part. The motion to strike was directed against the unsworn letter of George Ericksen and charged that Ericksen was not a person aggrieved or president of the Chicago or State Bar Association. We believe the committee on grievances properly overruled the above motions and other technical motions presented by the respondent during the course of the hearing. This court, in a similar proceeding entitled In re Needham, 364 Ill. 65, at page 68, 4 N.E.2d 19, at page 20, held: 'A hearing in a matter of this kind is not governed by common-law rules of pleading or the rules which are observed in criminal cases. In re Sanitary District of Chicago Attorneys, 351 Ill. 206, 184 N.E. 332. * * * courts have inherent and summary jurisdictiion over attorneys practicing at their bars. In re Day, 181 Ill. 73, 87, 54 N.E. 646, 50 L.R.A. 519; Moutray v. People (ex rel. Morris), 162 Ill. 194, 44 N.E. 496. Jurisdiction was vested in the commission to hear the proceeding. The respondent was given notice of a definite charge against him, was heard in his own behalf, and was deprived of no right to which he was entitled under the law. In re Mack, 360 Ill. 343, 196 N.E. 197. It is asserted that not every member of the commission voted upon the report submitted to the court. That was not essential. The majority of the committee voted for the report, and that was sufficient.' In the case of In re Lenox, 371 Ill. 505, 21 N.E.2d 721, the respondent filed a motion to dismiss the original complaint on the ground that it was not signed by the complaining party as required by Rule 59 of this court. Thereupon a supplemental complaint signed by the complaining party was filed setting forth the charges in greater detail. The respondent claimed it was error to begin the proceeding on faulty complaint, dismiss it and then proceed upon the unverified complaint without a preliminary hearing or investigation. In answer to such claim, at page 506, of 371 Ill. at page 721 of 21 N.E.2d, this court stated: 'This contention cannot be sustained.' Also see In re Carr, 377 Ill. 140, 36 N.E.2d 243 and In re Anderson, 370 Ill. 515, 19 N.E.2d 330.

[10 Ill.2d 362] Respondent filed an answer amounting to a general denial of the charges, and affirmatively alleging that seven major railroads organized and financed an organization known as the Railroad Claims Research Bureau for the purpose of destroying respondent's reputation and practice. It was further alleged that the said Claims Bureau hired George Ericksen to investigate the respondent, and retained Joseph Taussig, a former member of the committee on personal injury practice of the Chicago Bar Association, to make and prosecute the complaint against respondent, and that the instant proceeding is in fact being carried on by certain railroads.

Proofs were then taken by the committee on grievances of the Chicago Bar Association, sitting as commissioners of this court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 59. Hearings

Page 828

were had at various times from 1951 through 1953. Proofs were closed on October 20, 1953, and the case taken under advisement after oral argument on December 8, 1953. The entire record in the case consists of over 6600 pages and the abstracts filed before us consist of over 1200 pages.

The committee on grievances found that the evidence offered sustained substantially all of the charges against respondent, recommended that the respondent be disbarred, and filed their report in this court.

Respondent has filed exceptions to the report which set forth in substance that the findings of the commissioners were contrary to the weight of the evidence, and further that the entire proceedings were instituted and conducted by paid employees of the Railroad Claims Research Bureau, that some of the commissioners were members of firms in the employ of interested railroads, that the commissioners conducted the hearing in a prejudicial manner, and that evidence was procured by representatives of the railroads by fraud, trickery, deceit and promise of reward, and was unworthy of credence.

'The privilege of appearing as an attorney in the courts [10 Ill.2d 363] of this State is granted by this court and taken away only by this court or by statutory enactment.' People ex rel. Andrews v. Hassakis, 6 Ill.2d 463, 468, 129 N.E.2d 9, 11. Because of the necessity of lengthy investigations and hearings in disciplinary matters which this court could not personally conduct, we appointed the board of governors of the Illinois State Bar Association and its committee on grievances, and the board of managers of the Chicago Bar Association and its committee on grievances as commissioners of this court for the purpose of investigating practices of attorneys which tend to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts and legal profession into disrepute. These boards and committees serve without compensation or adequate gratitude. We set up procedures for the filing of complaints and empowered the commissioners to take proofs, and, if action by this court is recommended, to so report. We first made this general appointment and set up this procedure by order of court dated April 21, 1933. It was formally incorporated into Rule 59 at the April 1938, term.

By Rule 59 we have not abandoned our function to the commissioners, and will take their recommendations as advisory only, and will examine all the evidence in the case. Accordingly in this case we have conscientiously examined the lengthy record and abstracts, together with the report of the commissioners. It would serve no useful purpose to set forth the vast amount of contradictory testimony in the record, but we feel compelled to set forth some of the most pertinent evidence in the record. In so doing, we will first confine ourselves to the major charges against respondent-that he conspired to permit Robert McDonald to practice law in Illinois without a license; that he testified falsely in a court proceeding; and that he engaged in improper solicitation through himself and agents.

As to the first charge, it is undenied that respondent did a great deal of work for McDonald and DeParcq; that he filed numerous suits for them in Illinois, both individually,[10 Ill.2d 364] and as co-counsel for DeParcq. There is evidence that respondent had stated that he worked with and for McDonald; that settlement negotiations in some cases filed by respondent were carried out by McDonald and settlement checks sent to McDonald. There is also evidence that McDonald was once disbarred in Minnesota and later reinstated, and that he was twice refused admission to the bar of this State. However, it further appears that, at all times material here, McDonald was a member of the Minnesota bar and DeParcq was a member of the Illinois bar. Amicus curiae places damaging implications on the fact that after McDonald's death respondent purchased some of his furniture and was allegedly assigned certain cases to try by McDonald's executor. We regard the purchase of McDonald's furniture by respondent as without significance. The relationship between

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attorney and client is personal and the right to practice expires with the death of the individual lawyer. The personal representative of a deceased lawyer is without right to assign pending cases to counsel of his choice. (Canon 35 American, Illinois, and Chicago Bar Associations.) Such choice would rest with the client, and the record in the case does not indicate its presence or absence.

We believe that the evidence fails to show a conspiracy to permit McDonald to practice law in Illinois without a license. The attacks upon McDonald's reputation, which are not conclusively supported by the evidence, cannot be attributed to respondent by association. In acting as local counsel for McDonald, as lucrative as that association might have been, respondent was not violating the ethics of his profession. We can find no showing of improper motive or illegal conspiracy in this record.

The accusation of false...

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41 practice notes
  • People ex rel. Madigan v. Burge, Nos. 115635
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • July 3, 2014
    ...“no man who has a personal interest in the subject matter of [a] decision in a case may sit in judgment on that case.” In re Heirich, 10 Ill.2d 357, 384, 140 N.E.2d 825 (1956) ; Girot v. Keith, 212 Ill.2d 372, 380, 289 Ill.Dec. 29, 818 N.E.2d 1232 (2004). Defendants therefore do not dispute......
  • Girot v. Keith, No. 96963.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 21, 2004
    ...is that no person who has a personal interest in the subject matter of a suit may sit in judgment on that case. In re Heirich, 10 Ill.2d 357, 140 N.E.2d 825 (1956). A personal interest or bias can be pecuniary or any other interest that may have an effect on the impartiality of the decision......
  • Board of Selectmen of Barnstable v. Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • November 21, 1977
    ...v. Selectmen of S. Hadley, supra; Daly v. Town Plan & Zoning Comm'n of Fairfield, 150 Conn. 495, 191 A.2d 250 (1963); In re Heirich, 10 Ill.2d 357, 384, 140 N.E.2d 825 (1956); Hochberg v. Freehold, 40 N.J.Super. 276, 123 A.2d 46 (1956); Piggott v. Hopewell, 22 N.J.Super. 106, 91 A.2d 667 (1......
  • Lewsader v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., WAL-MART
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • April 3, 1998
    ...a contingent fee basis where the attorney died before the settlement was reached. For this proposition, the Lewsaders cite In re Heirich, 10 Ill.2d 357, 140 N.E.2d 825 (1956). Heirich, however, held only that the right to practice expires with the death of the attorney and that his pending ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • People ex rel. Madigan v. Burge, Nos. 115635
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • July 3, 2014
    ...“no man who has a personal interest in the subject matter of [a] decision in a case may sit in judgment on that case.” In re Heirich, 10 Ill.2d 357, 384, 140 N.E.2d 825 (1956) ; Girot v. Keith, 212 Ill.2d 372, 380, 289 Ill.Dec. 29, 818 N.E.2d 1232 (2004). Defendants therefore do not dispute......
  • Girot v. Keith, No. 96963.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • October 21, 2004
    ...is that no person who has a personal interest in the subject matter of a suit may sit in judgment on that case. In re Heirich, 10 Ill.2d 357, 140 N.E.2d 825 (1956). A personal interest or bias can be pecuniary or any other interest that may have an effect on the impartiality of the decision......
  • Board of Selectmen of Barnstable v. Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • November 21, 1977
    ...v. Selectmen of S. Hadley, supra; Daly v. Town Plan & Zoning Comm'n of Fairfield, 150 Conn. 495, 191 A.2d 250 (1963); In re Heirich, 10 Ill.2d 357, 384, 140 N.E.2d 825 (1956); Hochberg v. Freehold, 40 N.J.Super. 276, 123 A.2d 46 (1956); Piggott v. Hopewell, 22 N.J.Super. 106, 91 A.2d 667 (1......
  • Lewsader v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., WAL-MART
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • April 3, 1998
    ...a contingent fee basis where the attorney died before the settlement was reached. For this proposition, the Lewsaders cite In re Heirich, 10 Ill.2d 357, 140 N.E.2d 825 (1956). Heirich, however, held only that the right to practice expires with the death of the attorney and that his pending ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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