Attorney’s blogging prompts ethics complaint (IL)

A Chicago attorney who writes a blog highlighting what she describes as Illinois’ corrupt probate system faces an ethics complaint.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed the complaint against Joanne Denison, a patent and trademark attorney at Denison & Associates. The complaint, brought on January 8, asserts that Denison is undermining the administration of justice and denigrating the legal profession through her blog posts.

Denison’s posts describe the “sleazy world of probate” and the “garden variety theft, embezzlement, malpractice and malfeasance by attorneys and the court.” The blog, according to the complaint, identifies by name and initials court-appointed guardians and describes them as “tortfeasors.” The complaint was first reported by Legal Profession blog.

Denison said in a telephone interview that she has no plans to take down her blog. “Why would I shut up when there’s corruption going on in the courts?” she said.

Denison started the blog,, after a Cook County, Ill., Circuit Court judge refused to allow her to serve as a guardian for Mary Sykes, according to the complaint.

The court determined that she had notarized the signatures of Sykes and Sykes’ daughter on a document bestowing a benefit to the daughter at a time when Sykes might have suffered from dementia, according to the complaint. Sykes’ daughter was Denison’s client.

The ethics commission, noting that the blog is publicly accessible, described Denison’s comments as false or made with reckless disregard for the truth. The commission alleged that Denison has violated four attorney disciplinary rules and it called for a hearing on the matter.

Representing the administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission is Lea Black. She did not return a phone call seeking comment.


Attorney’s blogging prompts ethics complaint
Leigh Jones
January 31, 2013
The National Law Journal

  • joanne denison, atty, chicago

    There is actually a correction to the article, I did not petition for guardianship myself I represented the younger daughter of Mary Sykes, a long time care taker who took excellent care of Mary. I was only her atty and I was wrongfully disqualified

    Further, THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS ARTICLE. People should know they have rights. My speech in this matter, being public and regarding public policy is a first amendment right provided with THE HIGHEST PRIORITY for speech.

    This means that I do NOT have to prove my speech was true. All I have to do is say it was true or substantially true and the burden shifts to the ARDC to show that it was utterly false or imagined. They cannot do this because what i wrote then and what I write now is absolutely true.
    Please, keep on reading the blog. Demand that your courts be free from corruption and that attorneys who bring corruption to light be GIVEN THE HIGHEST PROTECTION.
    Write or fax the ARDC at 312 565 2320. One Prudential Plaza, 130 E Randolph St 1500 Chicago IL 60601 thank you.

  • Tony

    I blog on corruption affecting seniors in Reno, Nevada.

  • Pingback: The First Amendment and Attys JoAnne Denison and Kenneth Ditkowsky | marygsykes

  • Pingback: Chicago Lawyer in Hot Water for Outing Chicago's "Sleazy World of Probate" - Blur Brain