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Practice News

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.  

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.”

American Bar Endowment Opens 2020 Opportunity Grants Cycle

Posted on July 2, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The American Bar Endowment (ABE) announced today that it is now accepting applications for its 2020 Opportunity Grant Program cycle. 

ABE Opportunity Grants will be awarded to "boots-on-the-ground" initiatives and innovative projects that:

  • Enhance access to justice through innovative legal services delivery;
  • Promote the rule of law and improve the justice system; and
  • Increase the public’s understanding of the law and the legal system and increase civic engagement.

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.

Illinois Department of Central Management Services Seeks Assistant Labor Counsel

Posted on June 27, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services is seeking an assistant labor counsel in Chicago.

Responsibilities of the position include performing technical  and  legal  work  in  the  areas  of  labor  agreements  and  arbitration;  representing  the  state  in arbitration  hearings  and  before  the Illinois  Labor  Relations  Board;  reviewing  resolutions and  disciplinary  actions; recommending administrative action on labor relations issues; and carrying out public speaking assignments at off-site locations.

ISBA Statehouse Review for June 26, 2019

Posted on June 26, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers toxic torts, the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, special interrogatory, the Equal Pay Act of 2003, and the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. 

Illinois Supreme Court Appoints Walton as Circuit Judge in the First Subcircuit of Cook County

Posted on June 26, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Tyria B. Walton has been appointed as a Cook County circuit judge in the First Judicial Subcircuit.

The appointment is effective June 25 and will conclude on Dec. 7, 2020, following the November 2020 general election.

Walton has served for over 20 years as an assistant public defender in the law office of the Cook County Public Defender, with a primary focus in first-degree murder defense. Over the past year, she has won her clients six not guilty verdicts in murder trials.