Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Attorney Fees

Divorcing spouses must share the cost of attorney fees - even fees already paid By Adam W. Lasker November 2013 Lawpulse, Page 554 The Illinois Supreme Court holds that a financially strapped divorcing wife can require her husband's lawyer to turn over already-paid fees to help finance her own legal expenses.
New supreme court rules a boon to limited-scope representation By Adam W. Lasker August 2013 Lawpulse, Page 386 Amended Rules 11, 13, and 137 create business opportunities for lawyers by making it easier to represent clients for part, but not all, of a lawsuit or transaction.
Recovering Attorney Fees for Defending Frivolous Claims By Monte L. Mann and John Haarlow Jr. September 2012 Article, Page 474 There are two routes to attorney fees for defending frivolous claims - a motion for Rule 137 sanctions and, rarely, a malicious prosecution claim. Here's a look at both.
Appellate court upholds order debarring rejection of arbitration award and assessing attorney fees March 2012 Illinois Law Update, Page 132 The unexplained absence of a party to an arbitration made the award voidable but not void and accrued attorney fees because his attorneys had a professional obligation to be diligent in keeping track of dates and important information in relation to client matters.
Beyond the Billable Hour By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2012 Article, Page 80 More clients - and lawyers for that matter - are looking for value-based alternatives to the billable hour. The good news? They can be a win-win for attorney and client.
Creditors Are Not Freeloaders: The Common Fund Doctrine Does Not Apply to Hospital Lienholders By Robert D. Kreisman November 2011 Article, Page 568 Wendling holds that hospital lienholders are creditors, not third-party beneficiaries of the plaintiff's lawsuit, and thus not required to pay attorney fees under the common fund doctrine.
Court affirms award of attorney’s fees in dissolution of marriage case October 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 496 The court found that, despite Petitioner Kristina Baniak's claims, the lower court had subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case regarding attorney's fees and that Baniak had waived all other issues raised in her appeal.
The Five Biggest Business Mistakes Lawyers Make By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2011 Article, Page 444 Too many lawyers - especially new ones - undervalue their services. It's a short-sighted approach that can lead to big trouble, this lawyer argues.
Executor and estate attorney ordered to repay excessive fees August 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 388 Fees requested by an executor and attorney for administering an estate were not reasonable under the Probate Act, according to an Illinois Appellate Court.
Insurance company not required to pay attorney fees because actions were reasonable part of bona fide defense March 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 124 On December 28, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District, granted a motion for summary judgment after an insured sought private attorney's fees from her insurance company in the wake of a car accident and the ensuing litigation.
Errors and Omissions December 2010 Column, Page 606 In re Marriage of Zells and not-yet-paid contingency fees; Foreclosure and divorce; and Who was that legal assistant?
Is a Not-Yet-Paid Contingent Fee Marital Property? By H. Joseph Gitlin October 2010 Column, Page 542 A divorcing lawyer has earned a big fee but hasn't been paid. Is the fee award marital property?
Getting fees from the other side in divorce By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2010 Lawpulse, Page 446 The IMDMA lets one party get attorney fees from the other in some cases. But don't overplay your hand.
Thirty days for lawyers to file for fees and costs following withdrawal from representation. PA 096-0981 September 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 452 Illinois attorneys now have 30 days following their court-approved withdrawal from representation of a client to petition the court for the reasonable compensation for their services. (755 ILCS 5/27-2)
Now How Much Would You Pay? Avoiding Involuntary Pro Bono By Karen Erger August 2010 Column, Page 430 Remember, there's nothing unprofessional about getting paid
See comments from our readers April 2010 Column, Page 170 Habitability warranty disclaimers; FOIA attorney fees; family law attorney fees
Attorney Fees in Domestic Relations Cases: The 2009 Amendments to “Leveling of the Playing Field” By the Attorney Fees Committee of the ISBA Family Law Section Council March 2010 Article, Page 136 Learn about important changes to the attorney fee provisions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
“[M]ortal combat”: Carr v Tillery By Helen W. Gunnarsson March 2010 Lawpulse, Page 122 A legendary Metro-East trial lawyer and his former partners go head to head.
Federal courts have jurisdiction over legal malpractice claims in patent infringement cases January 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 16 On November 10, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County finding, in a legal malpractice suit, that the contingent fee arrangement between the parties was not void, and that jurisdiction over the malpractice claim rested exclusively with the federal courts. 
New statute clarifies family law attorney-fee provisions By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2009 Lawpulse, Page 490 A new law drafted by ISBA’s Family Law Section Council should bring some order to Illinois’s confusing, inconsistent scheme for awarding attorney fees in family law cases.
Coming January 1: New Rules of Professional Conduct By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2009 Lawpulse, Page 386 Among other things, the new rules clarify that flat fees do not constitute frowned-upon "advance payment retainers," which is good news for most lawyers.
1099s for deadbeat clients? By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2009 Lawpulse, Page 10  A law-office management expert puts forth the option of sending a nonpaying client a 1099 for the value of your services. Is it really OK to do so?
Correspondence from Our Readers November 2008 Column, Page 546 Two takes on two-tiered billing.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Paid By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2008 Article, Page 558 Learn how to create a bill-paying culture among your clientele.
Two-Tiered Billing in Illinois Divorce Cases - a Critique By James H. Feldman September 2008 Article, Page 452 Illinois divorce lawyers typically charge a higher hourly rate for court than for office time. It's time that changed, the author argues
Engagement Letters, Fees and the Dowling Case By David A. Berek and Fred R. McMorris May 2008 Column, Page 262 Consult Dowling for guidance on fee arrangements and how to describe them in engagement letters.
Correspondence from Our Readers January 2008 Column, Page 6 Labeling security retainers; order-of-protection abuse.
From Here to Retainer Fees By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2007 Article, Page 636 Learn how to craft retainer agreements to define and clarify the scope of your engagement, why it’s important to collect fees up front, and more.
Initial consultations - satisfaction or your money back? By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2007 Lawpulse, Page 398 Should lawyers provide free consultations to prospective clients? Discounts to new clients? Refunds of a consult fee to clients who ask for one? ISBA lawyers offer their opinions.
Validity of advance payment retainers for attorneys upheld July 2007 Illinois Law Update, Page 348 On May 3, 2007, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirming the Circuit Court of Cook County's judgment ordering DLA Piper to turn over funds from an advance payment retainer paid by defendant Michael Davis.