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Dell offers ISBA members back-to-school deals

Posted on September 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Fall is just around the corner and school is starting up, but it’s not too late to get a great offer on PC’s that ship in time for back to school. Attached is the September flyer for ISBA Members to take advantage of Dell's closing deals for the summer. 

Highlights of this month’s offers include: 

  • Dell Inspiron 14z 1-inch thin laptop for $749.99
  • Last month for the Free Xbox when you purchase a Dell PC for $699 or more.
  • $50 off coupon for select systems $699 or more.
  • Dell Inspiron One 2305 (Touch Screen Desktop) for $649.99

These deals can be accessed by:

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of Sept. 1

Posted on September 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Melinda Bentley, ISBA First Assistant Counsel & Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs, reviews three bills of significance signed by Gov. Quinn in the last week. She takes a look at Transfer on Death Instrument (PA 97-555), FOIA and "Recurrent Requesters" (PA 97-579) and Maintenance and Life Insurance (PA 97-608).

New law limits the number of petitions for judicial candidates

Posted on September 1, 2011 by James R. Covington

A new law in effect limits the number of petitions for judicial candidates. Public Act 97-81 states as follows:  

“A candidate in a judicial election may file petitions for nomination for only one vacancy in a subcircuit and only one vacancy in a circuit in any one filing period, and if petitions for nomination have been filed for the same person for 2 or more vacancies in the same circuit or subcircuit in the same filing period, his or her name shall be certified only for the first vacancy for which the petitions for nomination were filed.”  

The State Board of Elections will accept for filing and process only one petition for a circuit vacancy and/or only one petition for a subcircuit vacancy in any filing period.  PA 97-81 did not change existing law regarding candidates filing for other multiple incompatible offices.  

Please refer to the judicial candidate filing and multiple office filing information in the State Board of Elections’ 2012 Candidate’s Guide ( for further guidance.  The 2012 Candidate’s Guide contains important information as to these topics and the State Board of Elections’ policies on judicial filings.  The State Board of Elections’ policy on judicial filings can be seen here.

Legal Tech: What does Google consider high quality for ranking purposes?

Posted on September 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

By Peter LaSorsa

Months ago I wrote an article in this publication about the new Google algorithm called Panda. Google has a webpage devoted to questions about Panda and how the average person can tweak their website content to allow for better rankings. The Google article is located here. Below are a few of the more important things to consider for improving your rankings but I would suggest reading the Google article and coming up with a more robust website strategy based on the tips in the article.

Here is a list of the top five questions the algorithm asks (chosen from my own personal preference).

Illinois estate planning in uncertain times

Posted on August 31, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

What happens in 2013, when the federal estate tax exclusion goes back to $1 million if Congress does nothing? What are the implications of the decoupling of Illinois' estate tax from the federal exclusion, so that any taxable estate over $2 million generates Illinois estate tax?

Steven E. Siebers's article in the September Illinois Bar Journal explores these and other questions and helps you advise estate-planning clients, especially married couples, in these uncertain times.

ISBA leaders attend judicial merit selection conference

Posted on August 31, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA President-elect John E. Thies (left) and ISBA President John G. Locallo spoke with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at the National Summit on Defending Merit Selection held earlier this week in St. Louis.ISBA President John G. Locallo and ISBA President-elect John E. Thies attended the National Summit on Defending Merit Selection earlier this week in St. Louis. The ISBA has been on record in support of the merit selection of judges since 1987.

The purpose of this conference was for bar leaders from around the country to meet and discuss strategies for advancing and preserving merit selection of judges in their respective states as a way to keep politics out of the courtroom. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the keynote speaker, and attended one of the plenary sessions.

Best Practice: Improving law firm profits by improving processes

Posted on August 31, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. We are a five attorney firm in Detroit. Our firm does exclusively elder law and estate planning and most of our fees are based upon flat fees. Business has been steady and solid in spite of the recession. In an effort to improve profitability we are considering raising our fees but are concerned about adverse effects that it may have upon our competitiveness. We are already at the high end of the fee scale. Do you have any thoughts?

A. Raising fees is one approach to improving profitability. Clients are starting to push back more and more concerning legal fees. If you are at the high end of the rate scale I suggest that before charging off and raising rates you step back and conduct a process review by using an approach similar to the following:

ARDC: more than 300 financial institutions on trust-account-eligible list

Posted on August 29, 2011 by Chris Bonjean


If your bank does not yet appear on the List of Financial Institutions Eligible to Hold Trust Accounts as of September 1, 2011, do not panic.

There are now more than 300 financial institutions included on the List of Financial Institutions Eligible to Hold Trust Accounts. To date, only one small bank has refused to be included on that list. However, a significant number of banks have not yet submitted an agreement to provide overdraft notification, which is a prerequisite to being included on the list.

The ARDC and the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois are working with banks and other financial institutions to make compliance with the new provisions of Rule 1.15 as easy as possible. Some banking institutions have informed the ARDC that they want to comply with the new trust account rules, cannot meet the deadline, but are hoping to accommodate depositors as soon after September 1, 2011 as is possible. We believe that most of the banks that have not yet submitted an agreement intend to do so, but require additional time do so. There is no immediate need to change banks.

If your bank does not yet appear on the List, there is no need to move your account to a different bank until you know, for a fact, that your bank does not intend to agree to Trust Account Overdraft Notification.

Please continue to monitor the ARDC website, as we receive new Trust Account Overdraft Notification Agreements every day.

Please note that, in light of the problems caused in the wake of Hurricane Irene, certain banks headquartered on the East Coast may not be in compliance with the Rule by the effective date.

"Senior Scams" and "Identity Theft" to air on Illinois Law

Posted on August 29, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Senior Scams – The Wolves Are Out There and Identity Theft – It Can Happen to You, two half-hour programs presented by “Illinois Law,” a cable production of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), will air on Chicago Access Network Television, Channel 21 in Chicago.  Senior Scams will air at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, August 30 and September 13, and Identity Theft will air at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, September 6 and 20.

Appearing on the shows are (from left) Det. Sgt. James Hennelly, Financial Crimes/Public Corruption, Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department; program moderator Gilda Hudson-Winfield, Law office of Gilda Hudson-Winfield in Chicago; Eric Salcedo, Community Outreach Coordinator, Illinois Attorney General’s Office; and Katherine Walsh, director, Senior Citizen Law Enforcement Academy, Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Nordic lawyers to honor probate judges

Posted on August 29, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Lynne Ostefeld and Nordic Law Club President David Hirschey invite the judges in the Probate Division to this year's dinner.The Nordic Law Club has invited judges of the Cook County Probate Division to attend the annual Probate Night dinner as guests of honor. The event will take place Monday, Sept. 26, at the Chicago Yacht Club on Monroe Harbor.

A 5 p.m. reception will precede the 6:30 p.m. dinner at which Presiding Judge Mary Ellen Coghlan will speak on behalf of the court. Reservations are $75 for Nordic Law Club members, and $85 for non-members and guests.

Advance reservations with payments must be made by Sept. 21 with Treasurer David G. Clark, Canalia & Clark, Suite C, 419 Ridge Road, Munster, IN 46321. Nametags to serve as admission tickets will be held at the Yacht Club entrance.

For more information, contact Lynne Ostfeld at