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Practice News

Using the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act instead of guardianship

Posted on September 17, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
Jay Goldenberg sets the scenario in a very readable article in the latest ISBA Trusts & Estates newsletter: "I get a call. A minor is a beneficiary of a life insurance policy. When a parent or guardian of the person sought to collect, they were told 'we can only pay to a guardian of the estate.'” But as Jay points out, there may be a simpler and less expensive solution than guardianship -- the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. "Sometimes it takes some education and citation, but I have never failed to secure distribution [via the UTMA], at lower cost than establishing a guardianship of the estate, not to mention the simplicity of future administration." Find out how he does it.

Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism releases annual report

Posted on September 17, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
From the Supreme Court: The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism broke new ground during 2008 with a watershed lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program for new attorneys in the 17th Judicial Circuit. That is one highlight of the Commission's annual report, approved this week by the Illinois Supreme Court during its September term. The full report will be disseminated widely across the state to members of the bench, the bar and to legal organizations. The pilot mentoring program in collaboration with the 17thCircuit, which includes Winnebago and Boone counties, pairs every newly admitted lawyer with a more experienced lawyer for a year-long structured apprenticeship. Under the leadership of Chief Judge Janet Holmgren, the 17th Judicial Circuit also has created a Peer Review Council composed of members of the Winnebago and Boone County Bar Associations to review complaints against lawyers and judges whose behavior violates the voluntary code of conduct, Statement of Professional Aspirations, adopted by that legal community the prior year.

Protecting sellers from shady title agents

Posted on September 16, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
Like the lender and the buyer, the seller of real estate can be victimized by a shady title insurance agent who runs off with money meant for, say, paying off mortgages. But unlike the lender and the buyer, the seller isn't protected by the standard "closing protection letter." A CPL requires the title insurer to guarantee the agent's performance. In the new ISBA Real Property newsletter, Michael J. Rooney suggests ways counsel for sellers can protect their clients.

Governor agrees to restore $16 million of $36 million in probation cuts

Posted on September 16, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Gov. Pat Quinn announced Wednesday he is restoring $16 million to the budget of the Illinois Supreme Court to aid probationary services in the state, which had been cut 44 percent in the current budget. Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald expressed gratitude to the governor. Earlier this month, the Chief Justice had written to the Governor, urging restoration of funds for the sake of public safety. He and Administrative Director Cynthia Y. Cobbs of the Illinois Courts also had met with the Governor's chief of staff to discuss restoration of funds. "I am grateful to the Governor for the consideration he has given to restoring badly needed funds for statewide probation services," the Chief Justice said. "The partial restoration will help probation officers around the state in supervising the thousands of defendants placed on probation each year."

Preserving the record for a family-law appeal

Posted on September 14, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
What are the 10 things you must do to preserve the record for appeal in a family-law case? Well, here's one: "[U]s[e] a pre-trial motion, such as a motion in limine, to preclude or permit the introduction of evidence. Attorneys can also use these motions to cure the untimely disclosure of a witness’ testimony or to bar the testimony." To find our more and learn the other nine, read the rest of Gregory C. Maksimuk's article in the latest ISBA Family Law newsletter.

$1,000 fee to lobby in Springfield

Posted on September 14, 2009 by James R. Covington
Public Act 96-555 increases the fee for any entity or lobbyist that wishes to lobby in Springfield from $350 to $1,000. Not-for-profits that are Sec. 501(c)(3) corporations were increased from $150 to $1,000. Quite a hit for State Farm, the Red Cross and the United Way, ISBA, or anyone else before being allowed to petition our own government.

Criminal prosecutions under OSHA?

Posted on September 11, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
Employers don't usually think about being prosecuted for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Mike Lied observes in the latest issue of ISBA's Labor and Employment Law newsletter. "However, Section 17(e) of the Act [criminally] punishes any employer convicted of willfully violating any standard, rule, order or regulation prescribed pursuant to the Act, if that violation caused an employee’s death," he writes. He goes on to describe an Illinois-based case in which the "employer escaped, for the time being, liability for a willful violation, based on faulty jury instructions." Read more.

Man versus (vending) machine

Posted on September 10, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
I love this case. Have you ever done battle with a vending machine to recover the bag of Famous Amos that's rightfully yours? Well, a Good Samaritan in Chicago took this fight to a higher plane by waging it on behalf of a female coworker. (Chivalry lives!) But the vending machine fought back, as they so often do, and he hurt his hip in the process. No small injury, this. It required "immediate surgery," according to Brad Bleakney, who wrote about the case in the latest ISBA Workers' Compensation Law newsletter. The worker filed a comp claim, the Commission awarded him $60K, the circuit overturned the award, and the second district appellate court reinstated it. Interesting facts, interesting ruling -- read Brad's article.

From sheepskin to shingle

Posted on September 9, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
Can lawyers really go straight from law school into solo practice? Helen Gunnarsson's cover story for the September IBJ contains a wealth of cautionary, inspirational, no-holds-barred advice from ISBA members for would-be solos. Take this quote from veteran Champaign solo Tom Bruno, who hung out his shingle before the ink dried on his diploma. "Take anything that walks in the door. You'll figure it out. "You won't get hired on anything overly important, and the kinds of folks who hire someone like you have usually got problems that you can handle," he continued. "I don't think you'll have to worry too much about categories of cases you won't take. They won't find you." Fascinating stuff, and there's lots more where that came from.

List of applicants for DuPage judge vacancy released

Posted on September 9, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Chief Judge Stephen J. Culliton announced Tuesday that applications for the Office of Associate Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, DuPage County have been received from the following:
  • Allan C. Alongi, Clarendon Hills
  • Audriana T. Anderson, Wheaton
  • Brenda M. Carroll, Winfield
  • Anthony V. Coco, Glen Ellyn
  • Kimberly A. Davis, Winfield
  • Robert E. Douglas, Carol Stream
  • Thomas F. Downing, West Chicago
  • Scott M. Hardek, Elmhurst
  • John Paul Kelly, Wheaton
  • Frank J. Markov, Jr., Lombard
  • Sean M. McCumber, Warrenville
  • Robert S. McDonough, Wheaton
  • Alex F. McGimpsey, III, Glen Ellyn
  • Ronald D. Menna, Jr., Wheaton
  • Robert A. Miller, West Chicago
  • Michelle L. Moore, Glen Ellyn
  • Brian N. Nigohosian, Darien
  • Michael A. O'Brien, Wheaton
  • James D. Orel, Westmont
  • John J. Pcolinski, Jr. Naperville
  • David E. Schwartz, Glen Ellyn
  • Alfred A. Spitzzeri, Naperville
  • Neal F. Thompson, Naperville
The vacancy is the results of the retirement of Associate Judge Mark W. Dwyer. As part of the review process conducted by the Circuit Judges, Chief Judge Culliton invites public comment by letter before Sept. 18, 2009: Chief Judge Stephen J. Culliton 18th Judicial Circuit Court 505 N. County Farm Road, Room 2015 Wheaton, IL 60187