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Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Law Pulse

Ex post facto Medicaid “planning” By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Lawpulse, Page 570 May an agent or guardian shift the principal's assets for Medicaid planning purposes after the principal has become disabled? Yes - but doing so can be expensive.
Frye-ing the HGN test By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Lawpulse, Page 570 The Illinois Supreme Court rules that a Frye hearing must be held to decide whether the horizontal gaze nystagmus test reliably indicates alcohol impairment.
No duty to warn, Illinois high court holds By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Lawpulse, Page 570 The court reaffirms the rule that Party A has no duty to warn Party B about a threat posed by Party C unless there's a special relationship between A and B.
Rule 216 requests to admit: no more “gotcha” games By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Lawpulse, Page 570 With its Vision Point ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court gives trial courts the power to allow late or otherwise deficient answers to Rule 216 requests to admit.
New law expands video appearances by prisoners By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510 Public defenders opposed the law's passage, arguing that it gives inmates second-class justice.
POD and TOD accounts and your estate-planning arsenal By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510 Payable/transfer-on-death accounts are handy probate-avoidance tools that can even be used to transfer real estate. Or can they?
Station adjustments: not-so-rough justice for kids By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510 For juveniles who break the law, "station adjustments" can mete punishment without creating a criminal record. Here's how to help clients make the most of the opportunity.
Time to update the Rules of Professional Conduct? By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510 The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee is considering a proposal to do just that.
What court reporters want By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2007 Lawpulse, Page 510  At depositions, they want you to say out loud who is in the room. And to speak slowly. And not to interrupt other speakers. And...
Court upholds support-arrearage payments at 60 percent of income By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 The third district upheld a ruling requiring an obligor to pay 60 percent of his income to pay off a child-support/maintenance arrearage totaling more that $200,000.
Legal aid groups would benefit from cy pres statute By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 A bill would make it more likely that legal aid and other charitable organizations will end up with leftover class-action settlement proceeds.
New law allows Human Rights Act plaintiffs to file in circuit court By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 Complainants under the Illinois Human Rights Act can now file in circuit court instead of with state agencies. This brings Illinois into line with federal practice and that of 38 states.
New law on attorney modification clauses in real-estate contracts? By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 Has the second district made it easier for a party to a real estate contract to make a counter offer disguised as a mere "modification"?
SLAPP suits take a hit By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2007 Lawpulse, Page 454 A new bill would discourage developers and others from suing - and thus trying to silence - opponents of their subdivisions, landfills, and the like.
Bill would make involuntary commitment easier By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2007 Lawpulse, Page 398 But critics of the legislation say lack of resources, not a too-high commitment standard, is the problem with Illinois' mental health system.
Employers win pay-disparity case in Supreme Court By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2007 Lawpulse, Page 398 In Ledbetter, the Supreme Court rules that Title VII's filing deadline bars employment discrimination claims based on decisions that occurred outside the limitations period, even if the employee's current pay is lower because of the decisions.
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.
Mental suffering now compensable in wrongful death cases By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2007 Lawpulse, Page 398 Illinois becomes the 24th state to allow wrongful-death plaintiffs to recover for their grief, sorrow, and mental suffering at the loss of their loved one.
New DUI bill replaces JDPs with “monitoring device driving permits” By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2007 Lawpulse, Page 398 A major overhaul of DUI law doubles the summary-suspension period and requires offenders to submit to alcohol monitoring devices in return for driving permits. Critics charge that it will produce unintended consequences, including fewer guilty pleas.
Can lawyers patent their legal techniques? By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2007 Lawpulse, Page 342 A patent issued on an estate-planning technique has that bar buzzing.
Collateral source rule and med bills - plaintiff’s, defense bar each win one By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2007 Lawpulse, Page 342 Two districts of the appellate court construe Arthur v Catour, holding that plaintiffs can recover only what Medicare and Medicaid paid the provider - not the larger, undiscounted amount billed - and allowing a physician's expert testimony that a medical bill was reasonable.
Does your order of dismissal do the job? By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2007 Lawpulse, Page 342 Case law from the United States Supreme Court and the seventh circuit interpreting the federal rules can make it hard for settling parties to draft orders of dismissal that allow the judge to retain jurisdiction.
Preserving the right to appeal an ambiguous ruling By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2007 Lawpulse, Page 342 What can you do to preserve your client's right to appeal when the trial court issues an order of ambiguous finality? The Waddick case may provide some lessons.
So you wanna be a child rep…? By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2007 Lawpulse, Page 342 How do you get appointed? How much can you earn? What about appointees who don't do the job?
The Illinois Supreme Court OKs advance payment retainers By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2007 Lawpulse, Page 286 The court last month approved lawyers' use of the advance payment retainer, cautioning that more familiar retainer agreements will be the preferred option in most cases.
It’s official - you can’t collect fees for collecting your own fees By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2007 Lawpulse, Page 286 As a matter of public policy, "lawyers representing themselves simply do not incur legal fees," the third district ruled recently.
Law firm that followed state collection law not liable under FDCPA By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2007 Lawpulse, Page 286 A law firm did not violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it followed Illinois procedure for collecting a state-court judgment, the seventh circuit ruled.
Tax nonpayment sales and the mentally ill - does the system work? By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2007 Lawpulse, Page 286 Do recent cases indicate that Illinois should change its laws to further protect mentally ill property owners?
The trouble with hourly billing By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2007 Lawpulse, Page 286 Does the tradition of billing by the hour push lawyers to pad bills and thus engage in the kind of "dishonest" behavior forbidden by the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct?
A new, stricter test for independent contractor status? By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2007 Lawpulse, Page 230 Has the Illinois Supreme Court embraced a test that makes it harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees and thus avoid employee-related taxes and other expenses?