If you find yourself on the receiving end of a complaint, the subject of an investigation, or facing a disciplinary proceeding before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), don’t bother defending yourself.
That’s not to say your license, reputation, and career aren’t worth fighting for; quite the opposite, actually. But the policies and procedures that govern IDFPR investigations, hearings, and imposition of sanctions are unique and complicated, and often times unwritten and informal; even skilled and experienced attorneys who do not practice before IDFPR can find themselves at a loss when dealing with licensure issues. You may be the target of a completely meritless client/patient complaint; you may have all of the facts on your side and the documentation or witnesses to prove it. But all of your arguments and evidence may never see the light of day if you don’t know the proper way to present your case.
Your lack of knowledge of the process and how IDFPR prosecuting attorneys think and work also means you may miss out on opportunities to resolve your case sooner, cheaper, and with a more positive outcome. The ability to effectively reach a negotiated resolution with prosecutors depends on understanding the range of consequences, the risks involved in proceeding to a full hearing, and the likelihood of obtaining a successful result. Unless you have had extensive experience defending your professional license (which is hopefully not the case), you will be at an overwhelming disadvantage in negotiations with IDFPR prosecuting attorneys.
Even worse, the process can be manifestly unfair and stacked against you. Experienced and aggressive prosecutors have your license in their sights, and the hearing officer who will determine your fate is not necessarily independent and unbiased. IDFPR hearing officers are employed and paid by the IDFPR, just as the prosecuting attorneys are. Whether a hearing officer is consciously biased or not, the fact that their paychecks are coming from the very same folks who are seeking to discipline a respondent creates an implicit conflict of interest and calls into question the fairness of the entire process.
You are no doubt smart and know your profession well, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can or should handle an IDFPR investigation on your own. Your reputation, career and livelihood are at stake. Now is not the time to take a flyer and hope for the best.
Louis Fine: Chicago Professional License Defense Attorney
As a former Chief Prosecuting Attorney and administrative law judge for IDFPR, I have seen the serious consequences that an adverse enforcement decision can have on professionals who suddenly find their future in disarray. I understand how and why the Department decides to pursue investigations, how it handles negotiations, and how to approach formal proceedings in a way that gives my clients the best possible chance of a positive and expeditious outcome.
Please give me a call at (312) 236-2433 or fill out my online form to arrange for your free initial consultation. Together, we will get you back to your clients and your career.