A Wood River attorney has been suspended for 30 days for failing to properly serve a client. The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission reports that Michelle Lynn Berkel failed to represent Brenda Bell in a worker's compensation hearing, and later lied about the status of the case. It says, overall, she engaged in seven acts of misconduct.
The suspension takes effect on February 3. The case involved Bell falling at work, when she was employed by Madison County. The commission says the case was suspended for three years and when a status call was issued neither Berkel nor her client showed up for the hearing. The commission says Berkel told her client she did not need to show up, but she also failed to attend. The case was eventually reinstated, but at another hearing, the commission says Berkel failed to notify her client of that hearing and also did not attend. It also contends Berkel sent a letter to Bell stating the county was trying to dismiss the case, after it had already been dismissed. Bell fired Berkel as her attorney in July of 2010 and found other representation.