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Practice News

ISBA Statehouse Review for February 27, 2019

Posted on February 27, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers civil procedure—Section 2-619 dismissal, IMDMA and priority for grandparents, emancipation of minors, domestic violence, and jury duty.

Civil procedure—Section 2-619 dismissal. House Bill 3181 (Mazzochi, R-Westmont) adds a new subsection for an involuntary dismissal if a claim is unenforceable because it was (1) filed for a purpose of forcing an individual or entity to change positions or induce or coerce behavior in a manner unrelated to the claim asserted; or (2) based on allegations made to a government entity by an anonymous complainant if: (a) the anonymous complainant is not revealed; or (b) the anonymous complainant, if revealed, made the allegations to a government entity while holding an ulterior motive toward the defendant or to retaliate against the defendant. Assigned to the House Rules Committee. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Succession and Transition—All Three Partners Retiring at the Same Time

Posted on February 27, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. Our firm is a personal injury, plaintiff's litigation firm in Denver, Colorado. I am one of three partners in the firm. We have one associate who has been with us for 12 years and three recent law grad associates with less than three years’ experience. The three partners started the practice together over 30 years ago and we are all in our early 60s. Our lease expires in three years and we need to think about the future of the firm. All three of us are not ready to retire but none of us want to sign another lease. When we do retire, we would want to retire at the same time. Do you have any suggestions?

Illinois Supreme Court Adopts Four New Sentencing Order Rules

Posted on February 26, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court today announced the adoption of four new sentencing order rules that are effective March 1.

New Rules 452 and 557 deal with the preparation of sentencing orders for criminal cases and traffic, conservation, or ordinance violation cases, respectively.

New Rules 472 and 558 address the correction of certain sentencing errors, including the imposition of fines, fees, assessments, or costs; per diem credit against fines; the calculation of presentence custody credit; and clerical errors in the written sentencing order.

Manage Your Time, or It Will Manage You

Posted on February 25, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

No time-management system magically, and overnight, turns you into a lean, mean, efficiency machine. But becoming more productive also doesn’t require mastering every page of a two-inch-thick time-management manual. Instead, try acquiring a single new skill and developing it over time, says Affinity Consulting partner Paul Unger in the Illinois Bar Journal’s March cover story, “Manage Your Time, or It Will Manage You.” In the article, Unger, who will be the featured speaker at the ISBA Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute on March 15 in Springfield, where he will present on time management, declutters the topic and also recommends his favorite best practices and methods.

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Friday, February 22

Posted on February 25, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Friday, February 22. In Edwards v. Atterberry, the court denied a petitioner’s motion for a supervisory order but allowed him leave to file a complaint for writ of prohibition.

Edwards v. Atterberry

By Jay Wiegman, Office of the State Appellate Defender

It is not very often that a group of appellate attorneys has difficulty determining whether an Illinois Supreme Court case is criminal or civil in nature. Edwards v. Atterberry, 2019 IL 123370, however, is such a case. After a jury found Edwards guilty of violating the Timber Buyers Licensing Act, a section of the Professions, Occupations and Business Operations Act (225 ILCS 735/1, et seq. (2016)), he filed a motion for supervisory order and for leave to file a writ of prohibition seeking to prohibit Judge Atterberry from conducting a sentencing hearing or from taking any other action in the underlying criminal case. Edwards claimed that because he was charged with violating regulations rather than a statute defining a criminal offense, the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. The supreme court denied the motion for a supervisory order but allowed Edwards leave to file a complaint for writ of prohibition.

ISBA Statehouse Review for February 20, 2019

Posted on February 20, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers special interrogatories, appearances by corporate officers, evictions, experts in adult guardianship reports, relocation in the IMDMA, condos and community associations, condos, public guardian fees, maintenance and veterans’ benefits, Cook County subcircuit judgeships, and Cook County associate judgeships.

Special interrogatories. House Bill 2233 (Thapedi, D-Chicago) repeals Section 2-1108 of the Code of Civil Procedure allowing special interrogatories in verdicts. House Bill 2233 is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Best Practice Tips: Is Growth Always the Best Strategy?

Posted on February 20, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am the sole owner of a five-attorney litigation firm in Mesa, Arizona. I started the firm 12 years ago after leaving a large firm. I was an income partner in that firm. For a few years I operated as a solo with a legal assistant. Then I began adding associates and staff. Now we have four associates, an office manager/bookkeeper, two paralegals, and two legal assistants. Our annual gross fee revenues are around $1.2 million, the overhead is high, and my net income is not all that much more than what I was making as a solo. My associates aren’t willing to put in the time to generate the billable hours that we need. Then there is the time and stress of managing all of this. Is growth a good thing?

Spotlight on Pro Bono: First Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Family Mediation Program

Posted on February 19, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

By Missy Greathouse

Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc. (DRI) has provided pro bono family mediation services to the first judicial circuit for the last nine years and is the only pro bono mediation organization available to the courts and families in southern Illinois.

Problems Blockchain Doesn’t Solve

Posted on February 19, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Blockchain may dramatically reduce the cost of processing mortgage applications and provide for transparent, secure transactions and efficient recordkeeping. But the strengths and limitations of blockchain should be better understood before replacing a title system that has been in place for more than 140 years in Illinois, argues Paul Peterson in his February 2019 article, “Problems Blockchain Doesn’t Solve,” for the Illinois Bar Journal. Peterson, vice president and senior underwriter for the Fidelity Family of Title Insurers, vice-chair of ISBA's Construction Law Section Council, and a member of ISBA's Real Estate Law Section Council, outlines record-validating problems that blockchain technology has yet to crack.

Illinois Supreme Court Appoints Joel Powless as Resident Judge in Fourth Judicial Circuit

Posted on February 15, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Joel J.C. Powless as a resident circuit judge in the Fourth Judicial Circuit.

Powless is being appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. Wm. Robin Todd on Jan. 18. The appointment takes effect on March 1 and will conclude on Dec. 7, 2020, when the vacancy will be filled by the winner of the November 2020 general election.