Publications

Section Newsletter Articles on Attorney Fees

Small verdict, large attorney fee award: A look at prevailing attorney fees in federal civil rights cases By Michael D. Bersani Local Government Law, October 2014 The recent decision in Montanez v. Simon exemplifies how even a small verdict can result in a relatively large attorney fee award.
Choice of law can complicate collection of interest and attorney fees Business Advice and Financial Planning, July 2014 A look at some of the lessons from VLM Food Trading International, Inc. v. Illinois Trading Company.
Should there be a presumption favoring awards of attorney fees in copyright litigation? By William T. McGrath Intellectual Property, June 2014 Section 505 of the Copyright Act allows courts to award attorney fees to the prevailing party in a copyright case. Twenty years ago, the Supreme Court in Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc. held that courts should assess fees using an “evenhanded” approach rather than one favoring a prevailing plaintiff. The Court emphasized the importance of the “equitable discretion” of the district courts in awarding fees. But in recent years, the Seventh Circuit has called for “presumptive entitlement” of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party. This paper points out the number of problem with such a presumption, including the difference between a  presumption and an inference and the chilling effect on plaintiffs with legitimate claims.
Attorney fees provision in invoice binding on buyer (N.D. Illinois 2013) By Paul B. Porvaznik Commercial Banking, Collections, and Bankruptcy, December 2013 The Northern District recently weighed in on the fee-shifting-language-in-invoice question in VLM Food Trading International, Inc. v. Illinois Trading Co.
Reasonable attorney fees & ISBA Advisory Opinion No. 13-01 By Thomas Bransfield and Darrell Dies Trusts and Estates, May 2013 For those of you who represent representatives of decedent’s estates, the ISBA Advisory Committee Opinion No. 13-01 issued January 2013, is a must-read. This is part I of a two-part article looking at the opinion and its ramifications.
Attorney fees in administrative law? Yes, you can—but follow the statute By Carl R. Draper Administrative Law, February 2013 For agencies subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (most State agencies) litigants are to be awarded a full measure of attorney fees for any case where a court finds that the agency enforced a rule that is invalid for any reason.
Fee awards: Not a sure thing By Susan M. Brazas Trusts and Estates, February 2013 Attorneys should be cautious to file fee petitions or claims within the time prescribed by statute or court order, and should be prepared to address not just the statutory basis for fee awards but also any pertinent ethical or policy concerns.
Sharing fees, ownership of law firms with non-lawyers By Richard L. Thies Senior Lawyers, February 2013 An example of how the ISBA has been influential in defeating proposals from within and outside the profession that would have a damaging effect on the public and the profession.
Fee awards: Not a sure thing By Susan M. Brazas General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm, January 2013 Attorneys should be cautious to file fee petitions or claims within the time prescribed by statute or court order, and should be prepared to address not just the statutory basis for fee awards but also any pertinent ethical or policy concerns.
Nye and Associates v. Boado: The Hudson Doctrine bars attorney fee claim By Hon. Patrick J. Leston Family Law, July 2012 The recent opinion in Nye and Associates, Ltd., v. Boado defines claim splitting and explains what it has to do with divorce law.
A review of attorney fees in probate court By Donald L. Shriver Trusts and Estates, January 2012 A look at the ethics of the legal and practical effects of In re Estate of Bitoy.
Attorney fees on MSA funds confirmed in N.J. By Brad E. Bleakney Workers' Compensation Law, November 2011 The New Jersey Superior Court recently considered whether Medicare regulations and CMS allowed an attorney to recover attorney fees for creating a settlement obtained on behalf of a client in a civil suit from the Medicare set aside funds itself.
The unusual case—Plaintiff is stuck with defendant’s attorney fees By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, October 2011 A summary of the recent case of Matthews v. Wisconsin Energy Corporation, Inc.
$1 nominal damages award in civil rights case nets plaintiff’s attorney zero attorney fees By Michael D. Bersani and Zrinka Rukavina Local Government Law, September 2011 The recent Seventh Circuit case of Frizzell v. Szabo may undercut the ability of civil rights plaintiffs to leverage larger-than-deserved settlements.
Navigating the Attorney’s Fees and Wage Actions Act By Donald S. Rothschild and Brian M. Dougherty Labor and Employment Law, July 2011 The Fees Act is not your typical “prevailing party,” fee-shifting statute. Its inner workings are unusual and this article will explain how to comply with its requirements.
Bill for your value, not just your labor By Dan Breen Law Office Management and Economics, Standing Committee on, April 2011 How do we stray from straight time billing when time is such an important part of our stock in trade?
Five reasons to collect a retainer up front in lieu of getting paid at the closing By Colleen L. Sahlas Real Estate Law, April 2011 Avoid risks and take the simple step of collecting a retainer up front.
Look before you leap: A primer on fees allowed when taking over a contingent fee case By Ronald W. Kalish Tort Law, March 2011 Depending on how much time and effort the original attorney has put into the case, you may not receive a sufficient percentage to justify the time and risk of working on the case.
Attorney’s fee seldom will be greater than lodestar By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, October 2010 Despite superior performance and results, lawyers in most cases will not be awarded increased attorney fees.
Attorney fees: Avoiding pitfalls to preserve the right of contribution By Douglas B. Warlick Family Law, August 2010 Warning: An attorney's bad business decisions may affect his or her ability to recover fees from the opposing party.
The DOs and DON’Ts when seeking fees in probate By Martin W. Siemer Elder Law, June 2010 A recent decision handed down by the First District Appellate Court, In re Estate of Bitoy, provides a good review of fee issues in probate estates.
Awarding attorney fees in fiduciary duty cases By Lawrence E. Varsek and Roman R. Okrei Trusts and Estates, March 2010 Illinois courts have made clear that they will enter an award against a person who breaches his fiduciary duty when that person benefits from the breach and causes harm to the party or parties to which they owe a fiduciary duty.
Editor’s column By Matthew A. Kirsh Family Law, November 2009 On August 18, 2009 the governor signed Senate Bill 0065, which became Public Act 096-0583, which significantly alters the law regarding attorney fees in divorce cases.
The ethics of fee sharing in tort law cases By Albert E. Durkin Tort Law, October 2009 In the field of plaintiff personal injury litigation, a substantial amount of business is received on a referral basis. Tort practitioners commonly are referred cases from fellow lawyers who do not practice in that chosen field.  
7th Circuit joins 8th and 9th Circuits in allowing attorney fees for successful NAD appeals* By Lois Wood Agricultural Law, February 2009 The 8th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeal had previously held that successful National Appeals Division appellants can claim attorney fees. However the USDA had refused to apply those rulings to appellants from outside those two circuits.
Awarding attorneys fees to prevailing party By Hon. Michael Kiley Bench and Bar, October 2008 A plaintiff files suit against a defendant seeking damages, including reasonable attorney fees, pursuant to a contractual term that provides for an award of fees to the prevailing party.
How much will I get paid as a Chicago lawyer taking an out-of-town case? By Pierina J. Infelise Young Lawyers Division, April 2008 Rule 1.5 of the ABA Model Rules on professional responsibility states, “A lawyer’s fees shall be reasonable,” and sets forth several factors to determine whether a lawyer’s fees are in fact reasonable.
Resolutions for 2008 By Mary A. Corrigan Law Office Management and Economics, Standing Committee on, April 2008 Although 2008 is already underway, it is not too late to implement some resolutions for improvement of your law practice.
Prevailing parties and attorney fees By John H. Brechin Local Government Law, June 2007 In the January 2007 Local Government Newsletter, we reported on the decision of the Second District Appellate Court in the case of City of Elgin v. All Nations Worship Center, 369 Ill.App.3d 664 (2006).
Radosevich, continued attorney fees under §19(g) By Mark P. Matranga Workers' Compensation Law, June 2007 The last newsletter contained a discussion of the interest rate on Commission awards found in the Fourth District decision in Radosevich v. Industrial Commission, 367 Ill.App.3d, 856 N.E.2d 1, 305 Ill.Dec. 469(2006).