February 2018Volume 106Number 2Page 10

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President's Page

Standing Up for Lawyers

With 2018 well underway, we're working hard to defend and protect the interests of the legal profession.

Hon. Russell W. Hartigan

The New Year is off to a good start for Illinois lawyers and the ISBA. Here's just some of what we're doing.

In August, I wrote a letter on behalf of the ISBA to Chief Justice Karmeier and in October, I sent another to Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans. The gist of the letters was to recommend changing the e-filing requirements to accommodate pro se litigants who lack tech skills and computer access or who for other good reasons are unable to readily file electronically.

The ISBA Board's wish was granted when the court amended its e-filing rule on December 13. As most of you know, the court also delayed mandatory e-filing in Cook and Winnebago Counties. (By the way, you'll find a wealth of e-filing resources, including free CLE, on ISBA's PracticeHQ technology and management portal at www.isba.org/practicehq/manage/efiling.)

On the legislative front, we continue to lobby Springfield on behalf of lawyers and to monitor legislative proposals that affect the practice of law. At the ISBA Midyear Meeting, I reappointed Chicago personal injury lawyer Joseph Powers to the Illinois Lawyers' Political Action Committee (LAWPAC) and appointed new members Sean Brady of Joliet and Justin Karubas of Wheaton. We also have a small contingent of outside lobbyists who help Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington protect our members' interests.

My special committees on gun violence, succession planning, membership development, and the future of the profession are busily working on their respective charges. The Illinois Supreme Court also created a commission on pretrial practices late last year to provide guidance and recommendations on that important topic, and I represent the ISBA on that body.

Finally, the ISBA Board of Governors voted last year to act on behalf of lawyers who were unfairly targeted by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). On July 11, 2017, we filed a lawsuit in Cook County to enjoin the IDFPR from prosecuting Illinois licensed attorneys for submitting information about property values in advocating on behalf of clients in real estate tax assessment proceedings. The case, now in the motion stage, is proceeding.

The ISBA's complaint seeks to ensure that lawyers can represent clients in tax assessment proceedings by submitting the kind of information they have long provided without fear of prosecution by the IDFPR. We also contend that the IDFPR lacks authority to prosecute attorneys. We are acting on behalf of our profession to protect the Illinois Supreme Court's exclusive jurisdiction to regulate lawyers and the practice of law.

I hope 2018 is off to a good start for you personally. I look forward to connecting with many of you as I travel the state to talk about the virtues and benefits of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Foundation, and the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company. If you aren't already doing so, make 2018 the year you take full advantage of the many benefits your ISBA membership has to offer.

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