Barack & Michelle Gave Up Law License

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In the United States, admission to the bar by a particular court system is needed to practice law in that system. Each U.S. state and similar jurisdiction (e.g. territories under federal control) sets its own rules for bar admission (or privilege to practice law).
In general, a prospective lawyer will need to pass a state-administered bar exam after earning a Juris Doctor degree from a law school approved by the state in which he/she wants to practice. Typically, there is also a character and fitness evaluation, which includes a background check. [Source]
In other words, becoming a licensed attorney is an arduous process. The legal education consists of these stages:

  • A Bachelor’s degree, often in the Pre-law major
  • Law school
  • Trial practice
  • Legal clinic
  • Graduation with a Juris Doctor degree

Then there are the exams:

  • The rigorous LSAT (Law School Admission Test)  
  • The even more daunting Bar Examination. (Two former students of mine, both very bright, each took the bar exam 4 to 6 times before they finally passed.)

Given how arduous it is to acquire a law license, like other professionals (such as physicians), most attorneys renew their license even when they are retired from active legal work. License renewal is easy and simple: you pay a fee and, in some states, take a few units of continuing legal education. Letting your license lapse, however, means that you’d have to re-take the bar exam to get re-admitted.
Lawyers let their license lapse for very compelling reasons, often to avoid or escape censure or outright criminal charges. As an example, Bill Clinton kept active his law license even when he became president. In 2000 the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Committee on Professional Conduct called for Clinton’s disbarment, saying he lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. In January 2001 Clinton reached an agreement under which he was ordered to pay $25,000 in fines to Arkansas state’s bar officials and his Arkansas law license was suspended for five years. The agreement came on the condition that Whitewater prosecutors would not pursue federal perjury charges against him. Clinton was suspended by the Supreme Court in October 2001, and, facing disbarment from that court, Clinton resigned from the Supreme Court bar in November.
So it is most curious that Barack and Michelle Obama both gave up their law licenses.
Michelle Obama attended Princeton University, graduating cum laude with a B.A. in Sociology and African-American Studies in 1985. She then attended Harvard Law School and earned a J.D. in 1988 before returning to her hometown Chicago to work at the law firm Sidley Austin where she met and was assigned to mentor a summer associate named Barack. Subsequently, she worked as part of the staff of Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley as his Assistant and as Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development. In 1996, she became, first, the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago; then, Vice President for Community and External Affairs.
The above information on Michelle Obama is from Wikipedia. Conspicuously missing from the Wikipedia entry is the fact that she voluntarily gave up her law license.
The website of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois ((https://www.iardc.org/ldetail.asp?id=847688734)) says that Michelle Obama was admitted to the Illinois State Bar Association on May 12, 1989, but she is no longer authorized to practice law because she voluntarily surrendered (“voluntarily inactive”) her license on some unspecified date for unspecified reason(s).
Here’s a screen shot of the ARDC page on Michelle Obama:

For his part, Barack Hussein Obama was admitted to the Illinois State Bar Association on December 17, 1991. He too is no longer authorized to practice law because he had “voluntarily retired” on an unspecified date for unspecified reason(s).
Here’s a screen shot of the ARDC page (https://www.iardc.org/ldetail.asp?id=596550107) on Barack Obama:

According to bloggers Johnny Alamo and James4America, Michelle “voluntarily” gave up her law license in 1993, just five years after she got the license; Barack “voluntarily retired” from law practice in 2007. The left-leaning Snopes.com denies that Michelle had “voluntarily surrendered” her law license, and insists both Michelle and Barack had merely put their law license on “inactive” status. Snopes, however, does not explain what’s the difference between Michelle’s “voluntarily inactive” and Barack’s “voluntarily retired.”
Nor does Snopes inform its readers that Michelle Obama was ordered by the court to put her law license on inactive status. An earlier version of the ARDC webpage on her (https://www.iardc.org/ldetail.asp?id=847688734) said this about Michelle: “No malpractice report required as attorney is on court ordered inactive status.” Here’s a screen shot of the web page at the time of Chelsea Shilling’s WorldNetDaily article of August 4, 2009:

By the time I accessed the same webpage yesterday, September 15, 2010, the sentence “No malpractice report required as attorney is on court ordered inactive status” had disappeared. A day later, that webpage (https://www.iardc.org/ldetail.asp?id=847688734) is scrubbed of all information on Michelle Obama. See my update, Illinois Supreme Court Coverup For Obamas.”
H/t beloved fellows Joseph FascianiMay, and Richard!
~Eowyn

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Doc's Wife
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Doc's Wife

Steve, you are exactly right. Licenses are too hard to come by to give them up. Two family members, who are retired MD’s, keep their licenses current. I smell a rat here!

Jay B Gaskill
Guest

I’ve seen this report and suspect there is less than meets the eye. As a writer, I still keep up my license to practice in California, but for many the mandadory CLE hours are a bit of a bother. There is an “inactive” status that keeps you in the club, lowers the dues and excuses MCLE. A politician who has no expectation of ever practicing law might resign from the bar in order to avoid being held up for scruitiny for future behavior. Politicians routinely do things that, while nominally legal, could subject an attorney to a reprimand from the… Read more »

Helen
Guest
Helen

snopes is not a reliable resource

Lou
Guest
Lou

When was the last time any of you CONSPIRACY GENIUSES remember a sitting President who was an attorney or their spouse carrying on a LAW PRACTICE while in the office_Duh !
Really, try growing a brain, Hell, better yet, try growing up !

Ed
Guest
Ed

The Obama’s are classic Manchurian Candidates. There are no other equivalent examples. The other (very valid) point to note is that lawyers do not actually HAVE a license to practice law. Rather, it is really a guild card no different than union memberships like the “Actor Guild” membership of Hollywood. Just ask an attorney to show you his/her license. Don’t buy into the Attorney Bar number as being a license. It is not! The Attorney Bar is the original union controlled by the government. This, in definition, is a form of fascism. Black’s Law dictionary defines a license as a… Read more »

James
Guest
James

Its funny how people stoop to the low depths of calling some of us “conspiracy theorists” when there is one unfolding right in front of your eyes. Truth is most sitting president’s do not keep their license active, however everything about this administration and the wall street personnel involved all have done an A+ job of decimating our country and yet the sheeple still want to protect him. He has lied about every single thing he promised, before getting elected, and his arrogance has driven millions of people against him and straight to the streets with nothing in their pockets.… Read more »

H.L.
Guest

Didn’t the guy who discovered the “real” passport of Barack Obama die under strange circumstances afterward? Maybe when told to do something, the choice to scrub is an easy one, considering potential alternatives. We have a gov’t of liars, thieves, murderers and their bankster buddies. The US appears to be in its death throes, since there is no respect for the truth or The People who deserve it.

Gina D.,Maine
Guest
Gina D.,Maine

We are living in amazing times. It will be extremely difficult for most. I do know this about money, as history always repeats itself, those that have it now, will not have it tomorrow. The middleclass when we fall, they all will fall…& when you fall from the top, you fall very far down so, the poor, who know about being poor & some of the middleclass will survive but, the rich ? Will go mad & kill themselves before they figure out how to survive. This is our fate right now, it is going to get REAL tough from… Read more »

luckyturquoise
Guest
luckyturquoise

It would appear that there are too many truth and fact issues with the Soetero’s. I for one will be elated when both of these traitors are out and the rest of the traitors are out also. I agree with some of you why would you placate something you worked so hard for?? The government that rules now has to go and be done with. I have never seen swill like these liars, drunks, and parasites who take our money and then treat us like dirt while doing it. I say the people elected to these offices should make not… Read more »

Lawyers Toronto
Guest

Weird, I guess they had to give it up to get into office?

Joan
Editor
Joan

I cannot imagine why an attorney would want to give up their license to practice in any state! We know they can go on inactive status, pay a much lower bar membership price and sometimes, depending on the state, not even have to turn in CLE credits. I find the court-ordered issue involving Michelle most noteworthy! Lou, get your head on straight! Seems like there is some projection coming out of your analysis! What makes you think that anybody is relishing in conspiracy theories or desiring to even think in this manner! It is the evidence that is coming out,… Read more »

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[…] Barack & Michelle Gave Up Law License UPDATE: Less than a day after I accessed the Supreme Court of Illinois’ Attorney Registration and Disciplinary […] […]

rk
Guest
rk

I am a licensed attorney. While I am not licensed in Illinois, I know many who are and they explained the situation of the Obamas’ Law Licenses. Here is the link to the ADDC page with Status Definitions: https://www.iardc.org/registration/changeofregstatus_info.html All States’ Bar membership, licensing, and nearly any other lawyerly activity is controlled by that state’s Supreme Court. So when an attorney’s license is changed it is always by order of the Supreme Court. When an attorney request that his status is changed it is listed as: Voluntarily (inactive, retired, etc) by ( Supreme) Court Order. The definitions are clear that… Read more »

Rollen
Guest
Rollen

Once again, a controversy whipped up out of nothing. From the 2000 Annual Report on the ARDC website (https://www.iardc.org/orginfo_annualreport.html): “The amendments eliminated from Rule 756 the out-of-state registration category under which lawyers could pay a reduced fee if they did not reside, have an office in, or practice in Illinois, and deleted Rule 770, which had provided for a court-ordered inactive status that did not require annual registration or payment of any fee. At the same time, the amendments added to Rule 756 an inactive status registration category, which requires the payment of a reduced fee and annual registration, as… Read more »

Janet
Guest
Janet

So many falsehood in this article

tina
Guest

What are the falsehoods Janet?????

Dan
Guest
Dan

What’s the difference between the two phrases “court order” and “court approve?”

Jd
Guest
Jd

Santorum’s suspension was for non-payment of a fee that would have allowed him to stay inactive, his campaign told HuffPost. He’s been inactive since 1994 and was finally suspended on April 2, 2010, board records show. The fee itself was nominal.

Maria-Erlinda
Guest
Maria-Erlinda

Snopes was created by a couple of leftists (Barbara and David Mikkelson) in 1995, when the Clinton scandals were popping up like crawling-bamboo shoots, with the immediate main objective –much the same as MoveOn.org and MediaMatters– to protect the Clintons, and with the general objective of “invalidating” (smear and discredit) anything that exposes the Left or leftists. The Mikkelsons are very clever; they address honestly anything not related in anyway to the Left; but but they distort and “invalidate” (smear and discredit) matters of significance related to exposing or condemning the Left and leftists. They made sure from the very… Read more »

Circus
Guest
Circus

The stupidity of commanders on this site simply amazes me. Folks, there are THOUSANDS of attorneys who resign from the bar or switch to inactive status every year. Why do they do this? Because if you are not practicing law, trying to maintain your “active” status is an expensive and time consuming pain in the ass. It costs several hundred bucks every year to renew your license. It also costs another few hundred bucks to take those damn CLE courses, and those courses also soak up a lot of time. I assume the president and first lady have better things… Read more »

Sarasotawill
Guest
Sarasotawill

I agree with Circus when he says that there are many, many, MANY other reasons to indict, nay IMPEACH President Obama. His many inconsistencies in personal history are not impeachable offences, but his other activities as President that are downright unconstitutional, are. We as responsible citizens of our beloved country must focus on defeating not only Obama in November, but his whole regime ! Clear out the whole Senate and House. Remember the only cure for the dreded disease Gonnareha Electum, is the “antibiotic”, Vote ‘Emout.

Ken Kellogg-Smith
Guest
Ken Kellogg-Smith

Although Mr. Obama cannot practice law in any state or federal jurisdiction within the United States of America, he definitely can — and has — practiced International Law with the mantle of being the President of the United States as his sole authority for doing so. And so, he had declared, as President of our country and despite and contrary to the fundamental principles of self government declared by our Founding Fathers in their “Declaration of Independence”, the enabling act that established the “United States of America” and all its subsequent laws, a Declaration that is our nation’s first, principal,… Read more »