For what it’s worth.... I have no idea if this is valid.
President Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and was admitted as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of Illinois on Dec. 17, 1991. Prior to being elected to the Illinois state Senate in 1996, he worked as a civil rights lawyer at the firm formerly known as Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Four days after Obama announced that he would run for president in February 2007, he voluntarily elected to have his law license placed on inactive status, according to Grogan. Then, after becoming president, he elected to change his status to retired in February 2009.
Michelle Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988, and was admitted as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of Illinois on May 12, 1989. Following graduation, she joined Sidley Austin, a corporate law firm in Chicago. But a few years later, in 1994, while working for the Public Allies project in Chicago, Obama voluntarily had her license placed on inactive status.
But the claim that the Obamas surrendered their licenses to avoid ethics charges has no basis in fact. Neither of the Obamas has any public record of discipline or pending proceedings against them, according to the online public registration records of the ARDC. We also confirmed that with Grogan, who said that the Obamas were never the subject of any public disciplinary proceedings.
The Obamas havent said exactly what prompted them to change the status of their licenses. But Grogan said that it was fairly common for lawyers who didnt intend to continue practicing law to go on inactive status. It was actually one of the reasons, he said, that the rule was changed so that lawyers wanting to switch to inactive status no longer had to petition the Illinois Supreme Court to do so. In 2011, more than 12 percent of the states 87,943 registered attorneys were on inactive status (see Chart 2), according to the ARDCs annual report for that year.
In addition, prior to June 5, 2012, the Obamas would have been required to pay an annual fee of $289 (now $342), and take classes to satisfy the states Minimum Continuing Legal Education requirement, in order to keep their licenses active. Lawyers on retirement status, however, dont have to pay an annual fee or take classes. And lawyers on inactive status also dont have to take classes, but they do have to pay an annual fee of $105.
Perhaps one reason for these false claims is that the online registration record used to list Michelle Obama as being on court ordered inactive status. But that wasnt because of any wrongdoing. As previously mentioned, before 1999, an Illinois Supreme Court rule required active lawyers who wanted to change their registration status to do so by petitioning the court.
There is nothing for factcheck to go by other than Obama’s book. Everything (if it even existed) has been sealed.