Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles From Hon. Ron Spears

Judicial Independence: Two Westerns and a Promise By Hon. Ron Spears February 2014 Column, Page 98 Sometimes judges have to make a lonely stand against the majority.
An Adversary System without Advocates By Hon. Ron Spears November 2013 Column, Page 592 Our courts are ill-designed to meet the needs of pro se litigants. The supreme court is responding.
Happiness Tips from Seligman and Ziglar By Hon. Ron Spears August 2013 Column, Page 432 You can be both happy and healthily pessimistic.
Dinosaurs and Jury Trials: Adaptation or Extinction? By Hon. Ron Spears May 2013 Column, Page 264 Trial by jury remains a key underpinning of our justice system.
Lincoln on the Wall By Hon. Ron Spears February 2013 Column, Page 104 Lincoln was an exemplary but not perfect lawyer - which makes his example all the more inspiring.
Court Approval of Minors’ Settlements By Hon. Ron Spears November 2012 Column, Page 613 Should judicial approval be required for even small damage awards for minors?
The Real Prisoner’s Dilemma By Hon. Ron Spears August 2012 Column, Page 442 Defendants have a Constitutional right to effective counsel during plea bargains.
A Bricoleur’s Response to Murphy’s Law By Hon. Ron Spears May 2012 Column, Page 270 "Bricolage" is the art of creating a solution using whatever is available. It's an art litigators would do well to cultivate.
Lawyers, Doctors and Matryoshka Dolls By Hon. Ron Spears February 2012 Column, Page 106 Fee contests over physician testimony reflect the tension between lawyers and doctors.
Contagion and the Courts By Hon. Ron Spears November 2011 Column, Page 588 Health care providers aren't the only ones who have to respond to public health emergencies.
A Visit to the Academy By Hon. Ron Spears August 2011 Column, Page 420 Dispatches from a four-day seminar on the impact of poverty and wealth on justice.
What Price Justice? The County Board Wants to Know By Hon. Ron Spears May 2011 Column, Page 260 How much process is due a criminal defendant? It's a dollars-and-cents question.
Character on Trial By Hon. Ron Spears February 2011 Column, Page 102 Judge Justice and his colleagues express their misgivings about character evidence.
Humpty Dumpty Child By Hon. Ron Spears November 2010 Column, Page 588 Healing broken children is hard but essential work.
Foreseeing the “Four C’s” (Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions) By Hon. Ron Spears August 2010 Column, Page 432 The collateral consequences of conviction are often the gravest.
Recipe or Disaster? Checklists Can Help By Hon. Ron Spears May 2010 Column, Page 268 Checklists can help us reduce avoidable errors.
Looking for “facts” in all the Wrong Places By Hon. Ron Spears February 2010 Column, Page 102 Social networking sites are great - unless jurors are using them in ways that threaten a fair trial.
Make Settlement Agreements a Centerpiece, not an Afterthought By Hon. Ron Spears August 2009 Column, Page 422 Careful planning for settlements can prevent bad results.
A Snipe-Hunter’s guide to Coaxing Answers from Hostile Witnesses By Hon. Ron Spears May 2009 Column, Page 260 Preparation and skillful questioning can help you bag your quarry.
Lincoln’s Teams of Legal Rivals By Hon. Ron Spears February 2009 Column, Page 100 Before he was President, Lawyer Lincoln drew on the strength of rivals.
The Five People You Meet in Wal-Mart By Hon. Ron Spears November 2008 Column, Page 586 Judge Justice learns how he has affected the lives of litigants.
Eyewitnesses and the Rashomon Effect By Hon. Ron Spears August 2008 Column, Page 424 Research indicates that eyewitness testimony is less reliable than people think.
Are Civility and Zealous Advocacy Compatible? By Hon. Ron Spears May 2008 Column, Page 260 Reason can change minds when rudeness won't.
Diogenes and the Testimonial Whopper By Hon. Ron Spears February 2008 Column, Page 104 What can we do to improve the accuracy and honesty of witness testimony? Not enough.
Burdens of Proof By Hon. Ron Spears November 2007 Column, Page 604 Defining burdens of proof can be hard. But they're easier to understand than to define.
If the Gloves Don’t Fit… By Hon. Ron Spears August 2007 Column, Page 436 Physical evidence can have a huge impact, but know whether it will help or hurt your client.
Attorney Independence? Remember the Alamo! By Hon. Ron Spears May 2007 Column, Page 272 Let's stand up for lawyers who represent unpopular clients.
Opening Statements: Soup for the Jury’s Soul By Hon. Ron Spears February 2007 Column, Page 102 A good opening statement will shape jurors' perception of the case.
Impaired Lawyers: Helping Before the Bell Tolls By Hon. Ron Spears November 2006 Column, Page 626 Don't take advantage of impaired judges and adversaries; help them
“You Have the Right to Avoid Litigation…” By Hon. Ron Spears August 2006 Column, Page 438 Should judges advise clients of their right to resolve their dispute before trial?