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Practice News

Zombie Settlements

Posted on April 29, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The typical settlement occurs at the end of a long day of mediation. The exhausted parties pen the basic terms in a memorandum of agreement. But unless the attorneys are careful to create an enforceable settlement agreement, a case that appears to be settled can unexpectedly spring back to life. Can a “settled” case come alive again? Sadly, yes. Failing to pound the last nail into a case’s coffin can leave enough of an opening to allow an apparently settled case to rise from the dead. Read Hon. Geraldine Soat Brown’s (ret.) and Lorence H. Slutzky’s article, “Zombie Settlements,” in May’s Illinois Bar Journal.

Best Practice Tips: Documentation of Processes and Procedures in Firm Procedural Manuals

Posted on April 24, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the sole owner of a six-attorney personal injury firm in San Francisco with five support staff. My father started the firm 25 years ago and has since retired from practice. I took over the practice five years ago. At the time I took over the practice, we had just my dad, myself, a couple legal assistants, and no technology. Since then I have done a lot to grow the practice, including adding attorneys and staff as well as implementing technology. My biggest problem is training new attorneys and staff. We have no written documentation as to how we do things, so training has to be done orally by myself or others every time a new attorney or staff member joins the firm. Can you offer any suggestions?

ISBA Statehouse Review for April 24, 2019

Posted on April 24, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers condos and associations, special interrogatory, the Home Repair and Remodeling Act, the Condominium Property Act, consumer debt and collections, DUI, and student interrogation. 

Quick Takes for Your Practice: 2019 Maintenance Changes in Family Law

Posted on April 23, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Attorneys Kelli Gordon and Ashley Davis discuss the new maintenance statute in Illinois.

GE May Bring Good Things to Life, but It Does Not Bring Personal Jurisdiction in Illinois

Posted on April 23, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

If it’s been a few years since a personal jurisdiction issue has come across your desk, you may want to take note of a recent decision by the first district involving General Electric Co. (GE). The case of Campbell v. Acme Insulations, Inc. powerfully illustrates how Illinois courts are continuing a clear legal trend in limiting the availability of general or “all-purpose” personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants who are sued in Illinois courts. In Eric Muñoz’s April Illinois Bar Journal article, “GE May Bring Good Things to Life, but It Does Not Bring Personal Jurisdiction in Illinois, ” Muñoz, a partner at Scandaglia Ryan, shows, in light of Campbell, how non-Illinois-based companies, with significant and longstanding business and financial contacts in Illinois, like GE, may be unamenable to general jurisdiction in the state. Counsel on both sides of potential litigation would be well-served to appreciate the implications of this important legal trend in personal jurisdiction caselaw and to be prepared to aggressively incorporate these developments into their litigation and defense practices.

Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Issued Thursday, April 18

Posted on April 18, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court issued three opinions on Thursday, April 18. The ISBA's panel of leading appellate and civil attorneys reviewed the opinions and provided summaries. In People v. Buffer, the court upheld the appellate court’s decision to vacate a defendant’s 50-year prison sentence imposed for a crime he committed when he was 16 years old and remanded the case for resentencing. In People v. Kimble, the court denied a man’s motion to bar his reprosecution on double jeopardy grounds where the trial judge declared a mistrial after the jury was deadlocked. Fillmore v. Taylor addresses whether an inmate can seek relief against the Department of Corrections pursuant to mandamus or a common-law writ of certiorari based on allegations that the Department failed to follow relevant regulations.

Illinois Supreme Court Assigns Circuit Judge Boie to Fifth District Appellate Court

Posted on April 17, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court has assigned Circuit Judge Mark M. Boie of the First Judicial Circuit as an appellate court justice in the Fifth District. 

Judge Boie was assigned to fill the vacancy created by the election of Justice David K. Overstreet to the Fifth District Appellate Court. The assignment of Judge Boie takes effect on May 1, and will remain in effect until further order of the court. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Merger/Acquisition–Should We Merge or Acquire?

Posted on April 17, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the managing partner of an eight-attorney firm in Dayton, Ohio. We have two equity partners (both in our early 50s), two non-equity partners, and four associates. Our practice is a very niche-specific practice and there are only three or four other practices in the state that do the work that we do. There is another firm in Cleveland, Ohio, that has approached us regarding a possible merger or acquisition. The firm does similar work that our firm does. However, this firm also handles some areas we would like to get into that fall within our niche area. There are two founding partners in the firm (one in his late 60s and the other in her early 70s), one associate attorney, and four staff members. The two partners are planning on moving toward retirement and are looking for a succession strategy. They have not shared with us their timeline or any financial information. We have had one face-to-face meeting and several phone calls. We would appreciate your take on this, next steps, and whether we should pursue this matter further.

How to Appeal Final Judgments in Ongoing Litigation

Posted on April 15, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

A judgment is entered as to part of your case, but other matters still remain. Can you appeal? The answer is “yes” under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(a), but only if you follow the guidelines set forth in Don Sampen’s April Illinois Bar Journal article, “How to Appeal Final Judgments in Ongoing Litigation.”

Sampen, a partner at Clausen, Miller P.C., has argued cases in the Illinois Supreme Court and all appellate districts, appellate courts in four other states, and in six U.S. courts of appeal. He cautions that while “Illinois Supreme Court Rule 301 begins: ‘Every final judgment of a circuit court in a civil case is appealable as of right,’ the statement is deceptively simple. While final judgments may be appealable as of right, in Illinois they are not necessarily immediately appealable upon entry. Where a final judgment is entered as to fewer than all parties or claims, one must look to Rule 304(a) to determine appealability.”

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