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Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions now available online

Posted on December 8, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride and the Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday another step to provide better public access to legal information and to improve the efficiency of lawyers practicing in Illinois.

Effective immediately, Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions, for both civil and criminal cases, will be available on the website of the Supreme Court.

Previously, the complete instructions were available only in bulky, bound volumes and supplemental inserts through a paid subscription or through a law library.

A new letter of agreement, between the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and Thomson Reuters, who publishes the volumes under the West Group name, made the change possible. Thomson Reuters retains an exclusive license for publication for commercial purposes.

"This is a very welcome step forward as we move in Illinois to integrate our court systems and processes with the latest technology," said Chief Justice Kilbride. "This was made possible by the renegotiation of our publishing contract with Thomson Reuters, and the continued efforts of the Supreme Court's E-Business Committee to make the practice of law more efficient for lawyers, more cost-effective for clients and court information more accessible to everyone—lawyer and non-lawyer.

"I also wish to thank those members of the Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions, both civil and criminal."

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich sentenced to 14 years in prison

Posted on December 7, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined $20,000 on Wednesday for his conviction on 18 felony counts of corruption.

Blagojevich will have to serve just under 12 years under federal rules that say defendants must complete 85 percent of their sentence. Blagojevich doesn’t have to report to federal prison until Feb. 16.

Harsher rules governing Medicaid eligibility for nursing home care: a summary

Posted on December 7, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

Effective January 1, Illinois at long last brings its Medicaid rules for long-term care into compliance with federal requirements. Indeed, only California has yet to do so. The new rules make it harder for Illinois long-term care recipients to protect their assets while preserving Medicaid eligibility.

"The new rules are compliant with the DRA but also go beyond just DRA rules," write Diana Law and Kerry Peck in the latest ISBA's Elder Law newsletter. (Law coauthored an article on the new rules that will appear in the January Illinois Bar Journal.) "The new regulations are harsher than current rules and require the practitioner to be aware of how this impacts your clients and the future of your elder law practice." Read their summary of the changes.

ISBA members can count on FedEx this holiday season

Posted on December 7, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Whatever your needs this holiday season, you can count on FedEx to deliver. Whether you have gifts to send, orders to fulfill, or materials to print, FedEx has the solutions to help you get it done on time. Plus, get ISBA member discounts on select shipping and business services through the FedEx Advantage® Program.

  • Deliver On Time: Specify time-definite delivery in the U.S. and around the world with FedEx Express, or choose FedEx Groundfor delivery in 1 to 5 business days within the contiguous U.S., based on the distance to the destination.
  • Home Delivery: FedEx Home Delivery® is the only service of its kind dedicated to residential customers and is faster to more residential locations than UPS Ground.
  • Hold at Location: FedEx Express®, FedEx Ground® and FedEx Home Delivery packages can now be delivered – or even redirected in-transit – and held for pickup at the recipient’s convenience. Packages may be held at to up to 2,400 FedEx locations, including many FedEx Office centers.
  •  Print at FedEx Office: Save up to 20%* on select FedEx Office® copy and print services and up to 10% on other select services, including custom-made posters, signs, banners, newsletters, flyers, brochures and postcards.

To enroll today, visit and enter passcode 4JHFN9. To speak to your dedicated shipping program administrator, or if you have questions about how you can save on your holiday needs, call 1-800-MEMBERS (1.800.636.2377, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. EST, M-F).

ARDC granted authority to investigate, prosecute unauthorized practice of law

Posted on December 7, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday granted the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) the authority to investigate and prosecute the unauthorized practice of law.

"We will handle any UPL matter in much the same way we handle a disciplinary matter," ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin said. "For those who are never licensed anywhere and for disbarred lawyers, we would bring contempt proceedings in the circuit court. For lawyers from out-of-state and for suspended Illinois lawyers, we would bring proceedings before our hearing board."

The Illinois State Bar Association's (ISBA) Board of Governors and the ISBA Task Force on the Unauthorized Practice of Law were instrumental in this development. The ISBA Board in May of 2008 approved a proposal drafted by the ISBA UPL Task Force that sought to provide the ARDC with this authority. This was sent to the ARDC in 2009, which submitted it to the court in 2010.

"It was really a good joint effort by all of the organized bar and our office to give to the courts what we feel is a very practical approach to this problem," said James J. Grogan, ARDC Deputy Administrator and Chief Counsel.

The full text of today's rule amendments are available here: UPL_120711 Rule Amendments.pdf

Best Practice: Client origination credit and importance in law firm partner compensation systems

Posted on December 7, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is a 18 attorney insurance defense firm located in Chicago. We are in our second generation and none of the original founders are still working in the firm. The majority of our insurance company clients have been with the firm for decades and were inherited. Our current crop of partners are primarily "worker bees" and have not developed "rainmaking" skills. We have not added a new client to our client roster in years. In the past two years we have lost several clients due to mergers, consolidations, and partner defections. This concerns us. Currently partners are rewarded and compensated totally on "working attorney" fee collections. We are considering changing our compensation system to including a credit for origination of new business. What are your thoughts regarding client origination credit?

Criminal Code Rewrite Conversion Tables

Posted on December 6, 2011 by James R. Covington

The Legislative Reference Bureau has put on its website the Criminal Code Rewrite Statute Conversion Tables for PA 96-1551 & PA 97-597 into numerically ordered tables for both Public Acts and all Articles. LRB has placed a PDF of the combined tables on the LRB website as well. Those tables can be found here.

ISBA honors Class of 1961 Distinguished Counsellors

Posted on December 6, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The 1961 Class of Distinguished CounsellorsThe Illinois State Bar Association honored members who have been admitted to practice for 50 years at a luncheon on Wednesday at the Westing Michigan Avenue in Chicago. ISBA Past President Herbert H. Franks spoke on behalf of the 2011 Class of Distinguished Counsellors.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Here is the Bar Class of 1961 honored as Distinguished Counsellors: