Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
ISBA Mutual Lawyers Malpractice Insurance
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A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership
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Last chance to take the 2009 ISBA Membership Survey and enter our prize giveaway

Posted on August 31, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
We've already heard from over 2,000 ISBA lawyer members ... have we heard from you? If you have not yet taken the 2009 ISBA Membership Survey, today is your last chance to do so! All ISBA lawyer members are invited to take the survey.  Please refer to the survey e-mail sent to you on August 26th for the link to the survey.  (If you have questions about the survey, or need assistance accessing the survey, please contact Ann Boucher, Membership Coordinator, at 800.252.8908.) We want to know what you think about the various programs and benefits the ISBA offers its members and how we could be serving you better.  Your responses will help guide the ISBA's future direction and services.  This is your chance to be heard and we are listening! After you have completed the survey, we will enter your name in a drawing for one of the following prizes if you choose to provide your contact information* at the end of the survey:
  • Four (4) members will win an iPod Nano loaded with up to six (6) MCLE/PMCLE hours of FastCLE programs of their choosing. (Valued at up to $330)
  • One (1) member will win the grand prize, including one (1) free year of membership in the ISBA plus an iPod Nano loaded with up to six (6) MCLE/PMCLE hours of FastCLE programs of their choosing. (Valued at up to $650, depending on membership category)
To take the survey, please open up the follow-up e-mail sent to you on August 26th and click on the link provided within the e-mail.

Membership Mondays

Posted on August 24, 2009 by Chris Bonjean

What Your Dues Dollars Bring You

Reminder: Dues payments are due by Monday, August 31. If you have already paid your dues, THANK YOU!   If you have not yet paid, you can do so online or by phone (call Ann at 800-252-8908); Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express are all accepted.  Members can also pay through our flexible automatic dues installment program, Membership Made Easy, which allows payments to be broken up into easily affordable increments. As our membership renewal campaign comes to a close, we'd like to remind you of all the exciting programs and services the ISBA provides its members.  By renewing your membership you can: Practice more affordably. The ISBA provides members with free online legal research through Fastcase, which contains a comprehensive 50-state and federal caselaw database, including IL statutes and IL-based federal district court cases.

$100 off ISBA Mutual for Solo and Small Firm attendees

Posted on August 24, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Receive a $100 premium credit on your next policy renewal with ISBA Mutual for every member of your firm who attends the ISBA's 5th Annual Solo and Small Firm Conference. Click here to register for the conference, Oct. 22-24, 2009. There is an early bird discount for those who register by August 28, 2009. There are no separate forms to fill out or submit to obtain your premium credit. All you have to do is attend the conference and your premium credit will automatically be applied on your next renewal. We believe that the ISBA Solo and Small Firm Conference offers useful up to date practice information that may help those attending avoid malpractice pitfalls. The premium credit for the Solo and Small Firm Conference applies to the 2009 conference only and may not be applicable to conferences in future years. Please note that this is a premium credit on the renewal of your professional liability insurance policy with ISBA Mutual, not a discount on the registration fee. You will be receiving the brochure to register for the 13th Annual Risk Management Conference in early September. As usual, you will also qualify for a $100 premium credit on your next renewal by attending this conference. Attend both the ISBA 5th Annual Solo and Small Firm Conference and the 13th Annual ISBA Mutual Risk Management Conference and you will receive $200 in premium credit on your next renewal. The dates for the Risk Management Conference this year are:
  • October 6, Collinsville
  • October 7, Bloomington
  • October 8, Oak Brook
  • October 9, Chicago

Four must-have tech tools for solos

Posted on August 17, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
Naperville lawyer, ISBA member, tech expert, and Solo and Small Firm Conference presenter Bryan Sims (aka The Connected Lawyer) says there are four must-have tools for sole practitioners: a smart phone, a laptop, a scanner, and a good backup system. “Unless you’re going to be tied to your office, you should have some sort of smart phone,” such as an iPhone, a BlackBerry, or a PalmPre, Sims told Helen Gunnarsson in an interview for the yet-to-be-released September Illinois Bar Journal. “You need something that will allow you to get your e-mail, look at documents, and otherwise get some work done when you’re out of the office.” As for laptops, Simms recommends buying a business class model directly from the manufacturer instead of the cheapest thing available. “If you’re using your computer for your law practice, you can’t afford to have it out of operation for a week,” he says. A scanner will help you create a paperless and a portable office. “I recommend that you keep all of your documents in .pdf format. If you want to keep the hard copy too, fine, but scan everything,” Sims says. Scanned documents are easy to manage and disseminate. Finally, you need a good backup system.

Dirksen Courthouse to remain open during major 3-year renovation

Posted on August 12, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Even during a three-year, round-the-clock renovation soon to be under way, the Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, home of the nation's third largest federal district court, will remain open with normal hours for courts and government offices, the U.S. General Services Administration announced today. The phased construction, which begins in September, will be keyed to keeping the 30-story building open, along with its 57 courtrooms and 11 federal government offices. The renovation's major focus will be the replacement of the building's nearly 50-year-old heating and ventilation, fire alarm and lighting systems. Most work will be done at night and on weekends to limit disruptions. "The modernization of this architectural landmark designed by Mies van der Rohe exemplifies GSA's commitment to sustainable design," said GSA Acting Regional Administrator J. David Hood. "By making our public buildings higher-performing and more energy-efficient we maximize their value to the taxpayer. And with the benefits of new technology, we are renewing the future of this courthouse by building upon the creative energies that produced it and the stewardship that has preserved it." The building's largest tenant is the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois with 40 judges and more than 400 employees. The courthouse is also the seat of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Northern Illinois. Other tenants include the U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Trustees. Chief Judge James F. Holderman of the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois acknowledged that the project will cause some disruption and inconvenience. He said, however, "We of the United States District Court, as tenants, look forward to working cooperatively with GSA to keep the disruption to a minimum and the courts running smoothly as GSA completes these necessary renovations."

Share your success story: Practicing law in a challenging economy

Posted on August 11, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
We've heard all the negatives, but now we want to hear the success stories and share them with ISBA members. For the premiere print issue of Illinois Lawyer Now Quarterly in September, we would like to feature how ISBA members are adapting their practices in light of the challenging economic climate.
  • Have you succeeded in attracting new clients or growing your practice despite the downturn?
  • Have you been able to cut your overhead while still maintaining the same level of service?
  • Have you been successful in finding a new job despite the current economy?
If so, we want to hear how you did it! Please send your story (as long or as short as you feel necessary) to Alexa Giacomini, ISBA Director of Marketing & Membership at

Membership Mondays

Posted on August 10, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
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Looking for Lucky No. 500 ...

ISBA members and member firms have been eagerly signing up for the ISBA's Member MarkSM and Member Firm MarkSM program.  We've now almost reached our "500" participant milestone! Sign up today -- our 500th member or member firm to do so will be profiled on Illinois Lawyer Now! Click here to learn more and join Member Mark.