Illinois Supreme Court strips McClain of law license


SPRINGFIELD — Without comment, the Illinois Supreme Court moved Monday to suspend the law licenses of former Commonwealth Edison CEO Ann Pramaggiore and ex-company lobbyist Michael McClain after their felony bribery convictions.

The orders from the state’s highest court came after the pair was convicted along with two others for conspiring to bribe former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who could face similar consequences if he’s convicted in his own bribery trial next April.

The scheme to bribe Madigan involved no-work subcontractors paid for with ComEd dollars and hand-picked by the one-time Southwest Side powerhouse as rewards for his top-performing political lieutenants.

Last week, WBEZ reported on Pramaggiore’s efforts to preserve her ability to practice law in Illinois.

She contested the move to suspend her law license by the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, saying her May guilty verdicts on all nine counts could not “be deemed to represent persuasive, much less conclusive, evidence of … guilt of serious criminal offenses.”

Pramaggiore’s filing went on to say “the jury verdicts can be equally understood as findings that [she] engaged in entirely legal conduct.” She has announced her intention to appeal her convictions.

Unlike Pramaggiore, McClain did not try to fight the ARDC motion to suspend his law license.

Losing the ability to practice law in Illinois “until further order” by the court likely represents the lesser of consequences for Pramaggiore and McClain, who both face the possibility of substantial prison sentences as a result of their convictions.

Both are scheduled to be sentenced in January, and McClain is due to go on trial alongside Madigan in April on additional charges.

The ARDC, in its own filing, argued for the law license suspensions on grounds that they violated rules of professional conduct for lawyers, their misconduct reflected negatively on their ability to practice law and “persuasive evidence” existed to support the charges against both.

Newly seated Supreme Court Justice Mary Kay O’Brien, once a Democratic Illinois House member, took no part in the decision to suspend McClain’s law license.

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