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Practice HQ Resource: Merging Law Firms Checklist

Posted on July 17, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The owners of law firms may consider merger options as part of their succession planning.

While periodically reviewing merger options can be an effective part of long-range strategic plans, it’s important that firms do not rely on mergers as a life raft. Instead, mergers should incorporate a well-thought business strategy and create greater client value.

ISBA President David Sosin Speaks to Media about Chicago Mayor’s Proposal for Tax on Professional Services

Posted on July 17, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

ISBA President David Sosin has spoken publicly to media outlets during the past three weeks regarding Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposal for the city to implement a tax on professional services.

Lightfoot has said she would like to get state approval for Chicago to impose a service tax on professions such as accounting and legal services. Although there are no details about the proposal, the ISBA is opposed to such a tax.

IBF, ILAO & PILI Announce Changes to Illinois Free Legal Answers

Posted on July 16, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF), Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) and Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) have announced their combined efforts to further the impact of Free Legal Answers in Illinois. After establishing this project in Illinois in 2017 and building a solid foundation for its future, ILAO will transition the state administrator role for the site to PILI as of Aug. 1, 2019.

At that time, PILI will take over the day-to-day operations of the site including volunteer recruitment, management and training with the help of funding from the IBF. ILAO will continue to contribute support through by providing client referrals and being a resource for pro bono volunteers answering questions through the site. 

Illinois Supreme Court Appoints Sutton as Circuit Judge in Ninth Circuit

Posted on July 15, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Emily S. Sutton has been appointed as an at-large circuit judge in the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

The appointment is effective Aug. 12 and will conclude Dec. 6, 2020, when the position will be filled by the November 2020 general election.

Sutton has worked in private practice since 2008, first as an associate with Scholz, Loos, Palmer, Siebers & Duesterhaus, LLP, and most recently as a partner at Lucie, Scalf, Sutton & Bougher, Attorneys at Law, P.C. From 2012 to 2015, she was also a contract author for Thomson Reuters Corporation, and served as co-author of the Illinois Civil Trial Handbook. Sutton was a law clerk to Fourth District Appellate Justice Robert W. Cook from 2004-2008 and has also served on the adjunct faculty at Quincy University.

Can You Record Me Now? The Illinois Eavesdropping Act and Its Effect on Attorneys, Employers, and Individuals

Posted on July 15, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Illinois attorneys, employers, and individuals routinely face issues involving the legality of recording conversations. Whether it’s an Uber driver recording passengers, a player recording a coach, or a bystander recording a police officer, problems involving recorded conversations regularly appear in the news. In his July Illinois Bar Journal article, “Can You Record Me Now? The Illinois Eavesdropping Act and Its Effect on Attorneys, Employers, and Individuals,” Daniel Katzman traces the history of the Illinois Eavesdropping Act—amongst the strictest in the country—and its criminal, civil, and ethical implications.  

Illinois Bar Foundation Elects New Officers for 2019-20

Posted on July 11, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) has elected its officers for the organization’s 2019-20 fiscal year. They are: Deane B. Brown, shareholder at Hughes Socol Piers Resnik Dym, Ltd., president; William A. Peithmann, principal of The Peithmann Law Office, first vice president; and Lisa M. Nyuli, partner at Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C., second vice president. Sandra Crawford, principal of Law Crawford, P.C., was elected third vice president. Mark L. Karno, principal of Mark L. Karno & Associates, L.L.C., was elected as treasurer and Lauren Tuckey Murray, attorney at Bellows Law Group, was elected as secretary.

Practice HQ Resource: How to Manage Leads and Convert Prospects into Paying Clients

Posted on July 9, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Many attorneys spend their time and resources focusing on getting more leads but fail to realize that what they do with those leads is just as important as generating them.

The ISBA’s whitepaper on managing leads and converting prospects into paying clients highlights four major components of improving conversion rates, which include training for your front office and intake staff; specific tactics and strategies to maximize conversion at each stage; an intake customer relationship management software; and tracking and measuring key metrics.  

Responding to Affirmative Defense

Posted on July 8, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

In his July 2019 Illinois Bar Journal article, “Responding to Affirmative Defense,” Jake Crabbs, a law clerk for Justice Mathias W. Delort in the Illinois Appellate Court (First District), lays out a plan for responding to affirmative defenses in the early stages of litigation. To set the stage, he asks you to “[i]magine you have filed a civil complaint for breach of a simple personal-loan contract. Predictably, the defendant responds with a section 2-619.1 combined motion to dismiss and throws everything into it. After a tedious round of briefing and even oral arguments, the judge denies the motion entirely and orders the defendant to answer the complaint. Finally, you assume, this simple, little case can get moving. But you are wrong. When the defendant files her answer, she also raises 11 affirmative defenses. Eleven! Some of the defenses are merely one-sentence denials of your well-pleaded allegations and several were already raised in her motion to dismiss. Does opposing counsel even know what affirmative defenses are? Regardless, you are now in for another round of time-consuming motion practice.”