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Berg and Costello appointed as associate judges in 22nd Circuit

Posted on October 21, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that the 22nd Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Joel D. Berg and Kevin G. Costello as associate judges of the 22nd Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Berg received his undergraduate degree in 1990 from Northern Illinois University and his Juris Doctor in 1994 from IIT/Chicago-Kent Law School. Mr. Berg is currently engaged in solo practice in Harvard.

Mr. Costello received his undergraduate degree in 1984 from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and his Juris Doctor in 1987 from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Costello is currently engaged in practice with Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle, in Crystal Lake.

John Marshall’s Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic receives $110,000 in grants

Posted on October 21, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The John Marshall Law School’s Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic (VLSC) has been awarded $110,000 in grants from an anonymous corporate donor to help the Clinic construct new facilities. The VLSC will move its offices into newly purchased space at the corner of Jackson and Plymouth, adjacent to the law school, beginning in the spring of 2012. 

The $110,000 in grant monies includes a $10,000 outright program grant and an additional $100,000 challenge grant, which will be awarded to the Clinic if they can raise a matching amount by October 31. 

“This significant support will allow the VLSC to work with veterans in a more dignified manner, and better accommodate the ever-increasing number of veterans seeking benefits,” said Brian Clauss, Co-Executive Director of the VLSC. “The current space in the law school requires veterans, many of them disabled, to use elevators and maneuver in cramped hallways.  The new space will feature street-level front door access and will more than double the space of the current site.” 

Founded in 2007, the Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic, is one of the nation’s first law school clinics dedicated solely to veterans issues. The Clinic’s mission is to assist veterans seeking their benefits from the Veterans Administration and to provide representation for veterans during the appeals process - through a statewide network of pro bono attorneys. The VLSC provides a clinical training experience for John Marshall law students while at the same time serving the larger needs of veterans pursuing VA claims. 

To learn more about the Veterans Legal Support Clinic or to make a donation, see

Solo and Small Firm Conference set to kick off next week in Springfield

Posted on October 20, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Solo Small Firm Conference

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride
The Illinois State Bar Association will present the 7th Annual Solo & Small Firm Conference from Oct. 27-29 at the Springfield Hilton. Last chance to catch the Conference in Springfield before it moves to a new location! Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride will be the featured plenary speaker. Earn up to 12 hours of MCLE credit, including all 6 hours of PMCLE credit. “Get Connected” to your peers, the latest in technology, and current practice updates at this year’s Conference.

    Conference registration is online only at

    Discounted pricing until Oct. 24: $350 ISBA Member ($400 onsite) /$650 Non-Member ($700 onsite)

    Visit the Conference website for information about the Registration Pricing, Meal/Social Functions, and more.

    ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of Oct. 20

    Posted on October 20, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

    ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers: Senate Bill 2492, House Bill 1604, House Bill 3839, House Bill 3801 and House Bill 3807. Information on each bill is available below the video.

    Illinois Supreme Court announces 2nd District mentoring program for new attorneys

    Posted on October 19, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

    The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is teaming up with the Du-Page County Bar Association, Northern Illinois University College of Law and other legal organizations in the Second Judicial District to begin a mentoring program for newly admitted lawyers.

    The announcement continues a statewide initiative by Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, the Supreme Court and the Commission on Professionalism that was launched in June 2011 to urge attorney groups, law schools and individual lawyers to take an active hand in ensuring that new attorneys get practical professional guidance after law school.

    The early years of legal practice are among the most challenging for most attorneys. Recent law school graduates generally receive limited practical and clinical experience while in law school, and the months leading up to their admission to the bar are spent in extensive preparation for the two-day bar exam, which consists of essay and multiple choice questions with no gauge of clinical or practical experience.

    In such an environment, experienced attorney mentors can prove invaluable in helping recent bar admit-tees learn the actual practice of law, and get them a meaningful start in their legal careers as well as promote principles that guide them toward professionalism.

    Doctor data back online in Illinois

    Posted on October 19, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

    A database that lets Illinois consumers check the malpractice history of thousands of Illinois doctors and chiropractors went back online today. The database was taken offline last year after the Illinois Supreme Court declared a medical malpractice reform law unconstitutional.

    The searchable database includes about 46,000 doctors and 4,500 chiropractors, along with malpractice judgments and settlements going back five years.

    Click here to access the database

    Best Practice: Law firm leadership: How do we get started?

    Posted on October 19, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

    Asked and Answered

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

    Q. I am the managing partner of a 24 attorney firm in San Francisco. We are becoming frustrated at our inability to achieve a consensus and make timely decisions on matters of firm policy, strategy, marketing, and management. We are missing out on opportunities. We have no management scheme and no one to lead the charge -- no team effort. The attorneys can't decide anything and firm management is a free for all. Things don't get done because no one is responsible. Conflict exists because anyone may be in charge. We are strong on ideas but weak on implementation. We lack leadership and focus. What are your ideas regarding leadership? Where should we start?

    A. This is a common in firms of all sizes. In general, the foundation of leadership is built upon exhibited behaviors illustrating a proven track record of trust, respect, and accountability. These are the building blocks required for the development of leadership practices. Without these building blocks leadership cannot exist or be developed. The law firm culture must be nourished in such a way as to support these behaviors. These behaviors must become a part of everyday practice in dealing with clients as well as partners and others within and outside of the law firm. Law firm leaders must develop and practice the following behaviors:

    State's attorney Yoder appointed to associate judgeship in 11th Circuit

    Posted on October 19, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

    The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that William A. Yoder received a majority of the votes cast by the circuit judges in the 11th Judicial Circuit and is declared to be appointed to the office of associate judge.

    Mr. Yoder received his undergraduate degree in 1982 from Purdue University and his Juris Doctor in 1985 from John Marshall Law School. Mr. Yoder is currently affiliated with the McLean County State's Attorney's Office in Bloomington.

    Reinstating the pick-off move for class certifications

    Posted on October 18, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

    The pick-off move isn't limited to baseball, as Hon. James Fitzgerald Smith and Sonja Dimitrijevic explain in the latest issue of the ISBA's Trial Briefs newsletter.

    In class action cases, defendants "pick off" a class representative by tendering him or her complete relief before the class is certified. That moots the class action and "compel[s] plaintiff’s counsel to seek another class representative, which is frequently tricky," the authors observe.

    Appellate courts, not fans of the move, developed a pick-off exception that allowed the class to be certified despite the tender. But the supreme court put a stop to that this year in Barber v. American Airlines, "explicitly rejecting the 'pick off' exception" and reaffirming "the 'pick off' rule, under which a tender prior to certification automatically results in the mooting of the class action," Smith and Dimitrijevic write.

    They go on to discuss Gatreaux v. DKW Enterprises, LLC, a first district case from last month that implements the Barber pick-off rule. Read their analysis.