Continuing Legal Education

Starting Your Law Practice

January 25, 2018
8:50 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
6.25 MCLE hours, including 3.75 Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours (PMCLE credit subject to approval)
Presented by General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm

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


Many attorneys dream of opening their own practice, but don’t necessarily know where to begin. This full-day seminar gives you the guidance you need on where to start – from choosing a professional entity to practice under and finding the right type of location, to hiring good office staff and making sure your technology is secure. Any attorney attending this seminar who has been thinking about starting their own law practice will gain a better understanding of:

  • The pros and cons of each professional entity option, including P.C., LLC, and partnerships;
  • The unexpected charges to be aware of when signing a rental or lease agreement for your new office;
  • Terminating or firing an employee (and the problems that can arise);
  • Your ethical obligation to maintain competence with technology;
  • What should be included in your engagement letters and fee agreements;
  • The issues to be aware of when advising or soliciting clients;
  • The basics of traffic law and criminal law;
  • How to handle basic estate planning cases;
  • What to expect in employment law litigation; and
  • Much more!

Program Coordinators:
Mary Anne Gerstner
, Law Offices Gerstner & Gerstner, Chicago
Roza B. Gossage, Roza Gossage, P.C., Belleville

Program Moderator:
Roza B. Gossage
, Roza Gossage, P.C., Belleville


NOTE: Your registration includes access to electronic course materials that will be sent to you via email prior to the seminar. Printed course materials may be purchased for a nomial fee via the registration page.



8:50 – 9:00 a.m.  Welcome and Introductions
Roza B. Gossage
, Roza Gossage, P.C., Belleville

9:00 – 9:30 a.m.  Choosing Your Professional Entity*
Discover which professional entity is right for you with this in-depth look at your various options, including solo practice, partnerships, professional corporations (P.C.), and limited liability company (LLC), as well as the pros and cons of each.
George E. Marifian, Mathis Marifian & Richter Ltd., Belleville

9:30 – 10:00 a.m.  Your New Office*
Before you can hang out your shingle, you need to find a place to call home. This presentation discusses leasing, renting, and other alternatives for your office space. The discussion includes the pros/pitfalls of each and the unexpected charges that may be included in your agreement.
George E. Marifian, Mathis Marifian & Richter Ltd., Belleville

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.  Hiring and Termination/Firing of Employees, Independent Contractors*
Owning your own law firm means knowing how to hire the right kind of personnel to help you run the office. This segment discusses a number of key issues, including: the difference between an employee and an independent contractor, terminating or firing an employee (and the problems and claims that can arise when you do), potential discrimination claims, pregnancy discrimination, the Family and Medical Leave Act, unemployment claims, and more.
Carl R. Draper, Feldman Wasser, Springfield

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.  Break (beverages provided)

10:45 – 11:30 a.m.  The Ethics of Technology*
The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct now recognize that part of a lawyer’s duty to maintain competence includes keeping abreast of the benefits and risks associated with today’s technology. Learn how to stay in compliance, the risks associated with using technology in the practice of law, how to keep your data secure, and the benefits of cloud technology.
Aaron W. Brooks, Holmstrom Kennedy P.C., Rockford

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Representing the Disabled Client*
Get the best practice tips you need for representing a client who is disabled, either mentally or physically, with this informative segment.
Carl R. Draper, Feldman Wasser, Springfield

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  Lunch (on your own)

1:00 – 1:30 p.m.  Fee Agreements, Engagement Agreements, and Referral Fees*
Learn what should be included in your engagement agreements and fee agreements, as well as your ethical obligation regarding written disclosures to the client. Additional topics include: referral fees, billing and collection issues, and protecting yourself against unwarranted claims against services rendered (and the costs associated with these claims).
George M. Sachs, George M. Sachs P.C., Arlington Heights

1:30 – 2:00 p.m.  The Ethics of Advising or Soliciting Clients*
Join us for a look at the ethical issues you need to consider when advising or soliciting clients, including clients seeking a second opinion, clients seeking other representation, and representing clients who were on the other side of a case involving a previous client.
Roland R. Cross, Brown Hay & Stephens LLP, Springfield

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  Traffic Law and Criminal Law
Don’t miss this introductory look at traffic and criminal law, including the recent case law updates affecting these practice areas.
Van-Lear P. Eckert, Law Office of Van-Lear P. Eckert P.C., Belleville
Dominic Kujawa, Jr., Dominic Kujawa P.C., Belleville

3:00 – 3:15 p.m.  Break (refreshments provided)

3:15 – 4:00 p.m.  Wills, Trusts, and Probate
Take advantage of this opportunity to hear from our speaker who has extensive experience practicing in various probate courts throughout Illinois. Topics include: the basics of estate planning, the concepts and procedures involving wills, trust, and powers of attorney in Illinois, disposition of digital assets, and the probate of simple (and not so simple) decedent’s estates.
Chad S. Beckett, Beckett Law Office, P.C., Urbana

4:00 – 4:45 p.m.  Employment Litigation
Learn about causes of action in employment law, exhaustion of administrative remedies, disability discrimination, and more with this comprehensive overview of employment law litigation.
Deidre Baumann, Baumann & Shuldiner, Chicago


*Professional Responsibility MCLE credit subject to approval