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Illinois Bar Journal

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.  

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.”

Wrapping Your Head Around the Illinois Estate Tax

Posted on July 1, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The peculiarities of the Illinois estate tax and the confusing math underlying it require nuanced, cautious approaches to estate planning and gift giving. In his July Illinois Bar Journal article, “Wrapping Your Head Around the Illinois Estate Tax,” Robert J. Kolasa explains the peculiarities of the Illinois estate tax and the subsequent and considerable changes in estate planning strategies. He begins by noting that while the federal and Illinois estate calculations share similarities, they are different in many respects. Illinois’ formula selects the lower of either the “2011 calculation” under former Section 2011 of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) or the “hypothetical tax” based on federal estate taxes reckoned with a $4 million estate tax exclusion amount. Also included are several helpful calculation tables showing various estate-planning outcomes.

Meet New ISBA President David Sosin, If You Can Keep Up with Him

Posted on June 24, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Read the July 2019 Illinois Bar Journal and get to know new ISBA President David Sosin. Sosin, a partner of the Orland Park firm of Sosin, Arnold & Schoenbeck, practices real estate, land use, and zoning law. He also serves as attorney for the Village of Crestwood just east of Orland Park. He has a long history of bar leadership, including stints as president of the Southwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Bar Foundation prior to entering the leadership track at the ISBA, where his wife, Janet, recently retired as director of bar services after more than 30 years of service.

Sosin sees many needles to move during the 2019-20 bar year. Included among his top priorities are: attorney wellness, law firm succession planning, bar association leadership, and health insurance for lawyers and firms.

Can You See It? Predicting an Augmented Future for Illinois Attorneys

Posted on June 19, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

In 2016, a new game called Pokémon Go invited players to use their smartphone cameras to find and battle animated creatures the game layered on top of, or near, images of real objects displayed on their smartphone screens. Creatures could be hunted anywhere: on sidewalks, on pets, at restaurants, in parks, and on your neighbor's backyard patio. The game was a massive, worldwide success. But news stories proliferated of Pokémon hunters entering other people's property without permission, causing traffic accidents, and congregating in large groups at random locations.

Read Alexander Porter’s article, “Can You See It? Predicting an Augmented Future for Illinois Attorneys,” in June’s Illinois Bar Journal for an overview of how augmented reality likely will touch upon many legal issues, including trespassing, public and private nuisance, privacy, personal and financial data, terms of use, and intellectual property.

Practice Checkup

Posted on June 10, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Lawyers are trained to practice law, not run businesses. But solo practitioners and leaders of smaller firms generally need to excel at both. That means winning cases, satisfying clients, and attending to the financial wellness of your firm-each of which requires a combination of strong administrative habits and skills. In the Illinois Bar Journal’s June cover story, “Practice Checkup,” we consider suggestions from lawyers for staying organized, maintaining your revenue stream, assessing your marketing tactics, and planning for the future. How long has it been since you took stock of your business acumen?

What Did You Say?! The Changing Landscape of Juvenile Custodial Interrogations

Posted on June 3, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The 2017 Illinois Juvenile Court Act calls for extra diligence by attorneys who represent juvenile delinquents and attorneys who prosecute them or represent law enforcement agencies. These changes better protect minors' constitutional rights, but also place additional burdens on law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. In their June Illinois Bar Journal article, “What Did You Say?! The Changing Landscape of Juvenile Custodial Interrogations,” Emily Fitch and Brenda Mathis examine the standards that apply when attempting to interrogate juveniles charged with crimes and the nine exceptions that exist in the new Act.

A Better Approach to Installment Contracts

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

As interest rates rise, more sellers are financing the sale of their real estate at lower-than-market rates and with less money down. Transactional attorneys are therefore being asked with some regularity to prepare installment agreements by which the client is either purchasing property from a seller on an installment basis or selling property and self-financing the purchase over time. For more than 30 years, real estate attorney Gary Gehlbach has routinely refused to structure transactions using installment contracts. To learn why he recommends an outright sale structured on purchase-money notes and mortgages (or trust deeds), read his article, “A Better Approach to Installment Contracts,” in June’s Illinois Bar Journal. 

Sports Gambling: Will Illinois Bet on It?

Posted on May 20, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

A hot topic in Illinois, legalized sports gambling is a possibility now that the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that the federal ban on the activity is unconstitutional. While Congress has yet to act, states are free to legalize sports gambling on their own. In Zachary Bock’s May 2019 Illinois Bar Journal article, “Sports Gambling: Will Illinois Bet on It?,” Bock provides an overview of recent efforts to legislate gambling in Illinois and elsewhere. He also summarizes the wide range of decisions that need to be made before bets are placed in Illinois. Among his takeaways: Illinois should monitor states such as Pennsylvania, where high sports-gambling fees and taxes have been imposed.

Branching Out

Posted on May 13, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

A survey of more than 40,000 people in 22 countries conducted jointly by the University of Southern California, the London Business School, and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) found that 80 percent of millennials and members of Generation X prefer face-to-face meetings with colleagues. Also, 80 percent said in-person interactions, more than any other individual form of communication, are critically important to maintaining relationships and 96 percent preferred face-to-face meetings with their supervisors regarding professional growth. In “Branching Out,” the cover story for the May 2019 Illinois Bar Journal, we note that while traditional face-to-face interactions at bar association events (e.g., golf outings) remain part of the culture, social media and online interactions have become increasingly important and have altered expectations and preferences for networking in general. Granted that networking preferences may differ across generations, the IBJ asks whether meaningfully connecting with colleagues in person remains a high priority for attorneys of all ages.

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