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02/02/89 In Re Gary E. Peel

February 2, 1989

IN RE GARY E. PEEL, ATTORNEY, RESPONDENT.


SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

534 N.E.2d 980, 126 Ill. 2d 397, 128 Ill. Dec. 535 1989.IL.116

Disciplinary proceeding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE RYAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE CALVO took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RYAN

Gary E. Peel is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois. In 1983, the respondent, Peel, began placing on his letterhead that he was certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy . Rule 2 -- 105(a) of the Illinois Code of Professional Responsibility prohibits an attorney from holding himself out as "certified" or a "specialist" other than in fields of admiralty, trademark, and patent law. (107 Ill. 2d R. 2 -- 105(a).) A panel of the Hearing Board of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission recommended that the respondent be censured, and the Review Board affirmed the panel's recommendation. The respondent filed exceptions with this court concerning the Review Board's finding that his conduct was misleading and its recommendation that he be censured. This case presents the issue of whether Rule 2 -- 105(a) is unconstitutional as applied to attorneys' advertising certification by the NBTA, because it violates the first amendment guarantee of free speech.

The basis for the alleged violation of Rule 2 -- 105(a)(3) was respondent's professional letterhead, which reads:

"Gary E. Peel

Certified Civil Trial Specialist

By the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Licensed: Illinois, Missouri, Arizona"

Rule 2 -- 105 of the Illinois Code of Professional Responsibility provides:

"Rule 2 -- 105. Limitation of Practice

(a) A lawyer shall not hold himself out publicly as a specialist, ...


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