Continuing Legal Education

Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute Series: Building Your Practice and Preparing for the Future

April 16, 2015
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
6.50 MCLE hours, including 6.50 Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours (PMCLE credit subject to approval)

East Peoria
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
101 Holiday Street
(map and directions)


ISBA Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute Series
Building Your Practice and Preparing for the Future
Presented by the Illinois State Bar Association
Sponsored by ISBA Mutual Insurance Company

Get the best practice tips and practical tools you need to run your office efficiently and profitably with this full-day seminar! As an attendee, you will:

  • Find out how to protect your online professional reputation
  • Learn how to manage your first employee in compliance with current HR laws
  • Discover how to identify and reduce the stressors affecting you
  • Find the latest gizmos and gadgets that are most useful to your law practice and your life;
  • Discover the keys to providing what your clients, your judges and your juries want
  • Master the effective management of client payments and funds
  • Gain practice insights during the Q and A table clinics
  • And much more!


8:00 a.m.  Continental Breakfast

8:15 – 8:30 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

8:30 – 9:15 a.m.  Protecting Your Professional Reputation Online*
Your online professional reputation matters. This presentation explains who is using the internet and social media in the United States, opportunities for lawyers to connect online, the harm that may result from not claiming your firm's social media profile and what to do when faced with negative criticism.
Beth Lewandowski, Attorney at Law, St. Louis, MO

9:15 – 10:15 a.m.  Now You Are an Employer: Management and HR Issues*
Your law firm is ready to hire its first employee--what laws will affect you as an employer? Our speaker will discuss the issues you should be aware of including, payment, classification of your employee, handbooks, insurance, sexual harassment, discrimination (statutory and common law protections) and more.
Ferne P. Wolf, Sowers & Wolf, LLC, St. Louis, MO

10:15 – 10:35 a.m.  Break with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.

10:35 – 11:05 a.m. The Lawyers' Assistance Program: Overcoming Inner Turmoil and Achieving Personal Happiness*
An attorney’s life is filled with deadlines, obligations, frustrations, and demands – making it a high-stress profession with elevated rates of suicide, alcohol abuse, and depression. Join us for a look at stress and its effect on your life, as well as rumination, errors in thinking, the contributing factors of compassion fatigue, solutions to each of these problems, and asking for help. The segment closes with tips for becoming a happy lawyer!
Robin Belleau, Executive Director, Lawyers' Assistance Program, Chicago

11:05 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.  Strategic Thinking for Lawyers*
Craig B. Caldwell, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN

12:05 – 1:30 p.m.  Lunch (Provided)

  • 12:05 – 12:45 p.m. Lunch Served
  • 12:45 – 1:00 p.m.  ISBA Mutual (No MCLE Credit)
  • 1:00 – 1:30 p.m.  Gizmos and Gadgets – Video Replay (No MCLE Credit)
    Our speakers, Bryan Sims and Nerino Petro, can’t attend this seminar in person due to a prior commitment at the ABA Techshow…but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this conference favorite! Join us for an entertaining video replay (recorded at the ISBA Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute seminar in Naperville on February 26, 2015) that is sure to bring a smile to your face by offering you a look at the lighter side of technology, including tips and overviews of the gizmos and gadgets that are most useful to your law practice and your life.
It is easy to get to the top-—there is so little competition.
– absolute best counterintuitive quote from a book, the title of which I have long forgotten – Mark Drummond

1:30 - 2:30 p.m.  Featured Speaker: Keys to Success in Your Solo and Small Firm Practice and Beyond*
It’s the little things that can turn the average into the extraordinary. Judge Mark Drummond, an internationally recognized advocacy trainer, will share a few simple techniques that can help you better deliver what your clients, judges and juries want – all with tools you probably already have!
Hon. Mark A. Drummond, Eighth Judicial Circuit, Quincy

2:30 – 2:50 p.m.  Break with Exhibitors
Complimentary beer and wine will be served.

2:50 - 4:10 p.m.  Best Practices Rapid Fire Table Clinics*
Capture some of the best ideas to incorporate into your practice during our lightning round session. Speakers on a variety of topics will be assigned to tables where they will share their top tips and answer your specific questions on those topics. You will select four of the eight topics and switch tables at 20 minute intervals throughout the session. Get ready for fast-paced fun and breakthrough ideas you can put to use in your practice. Topics include:

  • Lessons from a Luddite – Tips for Visual Presentations
    Hon. Mark A. Drummond, Eighth Judicial Circuit, Quincy
  • The Top Ethical Concerns for the Solo and Small Firm
    James J. Grogan, Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, Chicago
  • How to Dissipate Your Client’s Stress
    Robin Belleau, Executive Director, Lawyers' Assistance Program, Chicago
  • Getting and Keeping Clients
    Jeffrey R. Hall, Hall Rustom & Fritz LLC, East Peoria
  • Checklists for Hiring and Firing Employees
    Grace Mata, Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, Peoria
  • Small Firm Tech vs. Big Law: David and Goliath
    Nathan B. Hinch, Mueller, Reece & Hinch, LLC Bloomington
  • Talking about Money with Your Clients
    Timothy J. Storm, Storm Law Office, Barrington
  • Time and Billing Technologies
    Jonathan L. Phillips, Shay Phillips Ltd., Peoria

4:10 – 4:30 p.m.  Break with Exhibitors and Prizes Awarded
Don’t miss this final break with the exhibitors! Complimentary beer/wine will be served and prizes awarded.

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.  How to Manage Retainers, Advance Payment Retainers and Client Trust Funds*
Managing client payments and funds is a major responsibility when running a law firm. Join us for an in-depth look at the strict liability concerns you should be aware of regarding retainers, advance payment retainers, and client trust funds, as well as how to maintain compliance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Responsibility.
James J. Grogan, Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, Chicago


*Professional Responsibility MCLE credit subject to approval