Continuing Legal Education

ISBA Basic Skills Live – For Newly Admitted Attorneys

January 20, 2017
8:50 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
6.75 MCLE hours, including 6.75 approved Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours

ISBA Regional Office
20 S. Clark Street, Suite 900
(map and directions)

Complimentary Program for ISBA Members in the first 5 years of practice!

New attorneys....did you know that your first year of membership with ISBA is free and automatic? Jump start your new Illinois legal career by attending this outstanding Basic Skills professional responsibility course that’s designed to equip you with the information you need as a new Illinois attorney, as well as help you begin to fulfill your Illinois Supreme Court Newly Admitted Attorney requirement (S. Ct. Rule 793)**. Our faculty of high-profile attorneys and judges offers insights, tips, and advice on the issues you face in your practice. The program closes with an in-depth look at the questions you need answered and issues you need help with as a new attorney. Attire is business casual.


Please Note: Attendees will receive downloadable course materials via email prior to the seminar. No Print books are available.

Program Moderators:
Marron A. Mahoney
, Attorney at Law, Chicago
George L. Schoenbeck, Sosin Arnold & Schoenbeck Ltd, Orland Park
Tanya Witt, The Witt Law Firm PC, Chicago



8:50 a.m.  Welcome and Introduction
Jeanne B. Heaton
, ISBA Director of CLE, Springfield

9:00 – 9:45 a.m.  Perspectives from the Bench*
Although judges may operate their courtrooms in diverse manners, there are some things they agree that new attorneys should know. Our esteemed panelists share tips on common mistakes to avoid, civility, brief-writing, persuasive arguments, career options, and more!
Moderator: Pam J. Kuzniar, Kuzniar & Simons P.C., Chicago
Hon. Pablo Eves, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Bloomington
Hon. Mark J. Lopez, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago
Hon. Susan F. Hutchinson, Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, Woodstock

9:45 – 10:45 a.m.  Ethical Dilemmas & Common Mistakes to Avoid*
This segment examines some of the common mistakes made by new attorneys and explores some of the best ways to deal with them once they've occurred. Using the framework of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, our panelists discuss common issues you may encounter with supervisory attorneys, opposing counsel and clients. The discussion covers the requirements for properly setting up a firm, including necessary paperwork, managing trust accounts, recent case law issues impacting law firms, facts about risk management and malpractice, and important issues to be aware of. The importance of being prepared and conducting your practice with honesty and integrity (as well as the potential consequences when you don't) are also examined.
Moderator: Mary K. Foster, Attorney at Law, Willmette
Michael P. Downey, Downey Law Group LLC, St. Louis
Michael J. Flaherty, Flaherty & Youngerman, P.C., Chicago

10:45 – 11:00 a.m.  Break

11:00 – 11:30 a.m.  The Multi-Generational Workplace
Prepare to handle the varied situations you may encounter in a workplace with multiple generations. Gain an understanding of diverse traditions, work habits, and approaches to professionalism and gain insight on how to react appropriately to challenging situations.
Michelle A. Silverthorn, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, Chicago

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Negotiations*
Learn the basics of advocacy for your client in the give-and-take work of negotiations with the effective methods shared by our experienced practitioner and negotiations expert.
Thomas C. Britton, Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale

12:00 – 12:45 p.m.  Lunch (Provided)
Receive a brief overview of your benefits as a complimentary member of the Illinois State Bar Association during your first year of practice. 

12:45 – 1:15 p.m.  Client Intake, Client Retainer Agreements, and Collecting From Clients*
There are a number of things you’ll need to learn from your potential client before agreeing to take their case. This session discusses handling client intake, protecting yourself through retainer agreements, collecting payment, dealing with non-paying clients (that you need), and getting rid of bad clients. Case law updates regarding retainers are also provided.
Scott Kummer, Boyd & Kummer LLC, Chicago

1:15 – 1:45 p.m.  Distraction Management: Time and Technology Strategies for Success
Maximize your effectiveness by implementing time and stress management strategies into your practice. Learn tips on managing multiple interruptions, calendaring for success, juggling email overload, communicating with clients effectively, and more. Tips on handling the stresses of the profession are also shared.
Mark C. Metzger, Law Office of Mark C. Metzger, Naperville

1:45 – 2:15 p.m.  Ethical and Practical Uses of Technology in Your Practice*
Like any new business, law firms must be marketed for the best possible exposure to new and potential clients. This session explores the various options available to lawyers who are setting up their own firms and offers an in-depth examination of free vs. paid websites, effective social media tools, and how to ethically use the latest technology to help you in your new practice.
Sarah E. Toney, The Toney Law Firm LLC, Chicago

2:15 – 3:00 p.m.  Professional Responsibility, Professionalism, and Technology Update*
Equip yourself with the information you need to effectively and ethically incorporate technology into your practice. Technology provides great benefits for attorneys, including highly efficient workflow, unprecedented access to information and rapid, cost-effective communications. Most lawyers, however, do not consider the great risks that technology creates for the practicing attorney. This session identifies those risks and shows you how to address them before launching into the latest and greatest in technology.
James J. Grogan, Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Chicago

3:00 - 3:30 p.m.  Networking Break
Take this opportunity to meet and mingle with other attendees and the faculty. Complimentary beer and wine are served.

3:30 – 4:15 p.m. Top 15 Tips for Satisfying Your Clients*
Satisfying your clients is the key to keeping the clients you have and obtaining new ones along the way. This presentation explores the top 15 ways to make your clients happy – from returning phone calls and dealing with conflicts, to maintaining accurate records and training your staff.
Paul A. Osborn, Ward Murray Pace & Johnson P.C., Sterling

4:15 – 5:15 p.m.  Your New Legal Career*
Submit your questions at registration and our panelists will draw upon their own experiences as a corporate attorney, litigation lawyer, transactional practitioner, and government attorney to address the issues you want to discuss during the closing segment! Topics may include: challenges for new attorneys; where to turn for guidance; surviving the stresses of the first year of practice; settling on an area of practice (or transitioning from one you hate); conducting free online legal research, and much more!
Marron A. Mahoney, Attorney at Law, Chicago
Starr M. Rayford, Patton & Ryan LLC, Chicago
George L. Schoenbeck, Sosin Arnold & Schoenbeck Ltd, Orland Park
Katharine Conklin Struck, Deputy General Counsel, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago



*Newly Admitted Attorneys in their first five years of practice in the Illinois Bar
***Amended Supreme Court Rule 793(c)(1) requires newly admitted attorneys to complete a Basic Skills Course consisting of 6.0 hours of Professional Responsibility MCLE credit and/or mentoring plus additional hours to equal 15 hours of MCLE credit. For information on mentoring programs visit