Publications

Articles From Helen W. Gunnarsson

Station adjustments: not-so-rough justice for kids

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
October
2007
LawPulse
Page 510
For juveniles who break the law, "station adjustments" can mete punishment without creating a criminal record. Here's how to help clients make the most of the opportunity.

Time to update the Rules of Professional Conduct?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
October
2007
LawPulse
Page 510
The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee is considering a proposal to do just that.

What court reporters want

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
October
2007
LawPulse
Page 510
 At depositions, they want you to say out loud who is in the room. And to speak slowly. And not to interrupt other speakers. And...

Court upholds support-arrearage payments at 60 percent of income

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
September
2007
LawPulse
Page 454
The third district upheld a ruling requiring an obligor to pay 60 percent of his income to pay off a child-support/maintenance arrearage totaling more that $200,000.

Legal aid groups would benefit from cy pres statute

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
September
2007
LawPulse
Page 454
A bill would make it more likely that legal aid and other charitable organizations will end up with leftover class-action settlement proceeds.

New law allows Human Rights Act plaintiffs to file in circuit court

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
September
2007
LawPulse
Page 454
Complainants under the Illinois Human Rights Act can now file in circuit court instead of with state agencies. This brings Illinois into line with federal practice and that of 38 states.

New law on attorney modification clauses in real-estate contracts?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
September
2007
LawPulse
Page 454
Has the second district made it easier for a party to a real estate contract to make a counter offer disguised as a mere "modification"?

SLAPP suits take a hit

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
September
2007
LawPulse
Page 454
A new bill would discourage developers and others from suing - and thus trying to silence - opponents of their subdivisions, landfills, and the like.

Animal Law Comes into Its Own

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2007
Article
Page 412
As Americans place more value on pets, the importance of animal law is growing. Here's an Illinois-focused look at this emerging area.

Bill would make involuntary commitment easier

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2007
LawPulse
Page 398
But critics of the legislation say lack of resources, not a too-high commitment standard, is the problem with Illinois' mental health system.

Employers win pay-disparity case in Supreme Court

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2007
LawPulse
Page 398
In Ledbetter, the Supreme Court rules that Title VII's filing deadline bars employment discrimination claims based on decisions that occurred outside the limitations period, even if the employee's current pay is lower because of the decisions.

Initial consultations - satisfaction or your money back?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2007
LawPulse
Page 398
Should lawyers provide free consultations to prospective clients? Discounts to new clients? Refunds of a consult fee to clients who ask for one? ISBA lawyers offer their opinions.

Mental suffering now compensable in wrongful death cases

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2007
LawPulse
Page 398
Illinois becomes the 24th state to allow wrongful-death plaintiffs to recover for their grief, sorrow, and mental suffering at the loss of their loved one.

New DUI bill replaces JDPs with “monitoring device driving permits”

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
August
2007
LawPulse
Page 398
A major overhaul of DUI law doubles the summary-suspension period and requires offenders to submit to alcohol monitoring devices in return for driving permits. Critics charge that it will produce unintended consequences, including fewer guilty pleas.

Can lawyers patent their legal techniques?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
LawPulse
Page 342
A patent issued on an estate-planning technique has that bar buzzing.

Collateral source rule and med bills - plaintiff’s, defense bar each win one

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
LawPulse
Page 342
Two districts of the appellate court construe Arthur v Catour, holding that plaintiffs can recover only what Medicare and Medicaid paid the provider - not the larger, undiscounted amount billed - and allowing a physician's expert testimony that a medical bill was reasonable.

Does your order of dismissal do the job?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
LawPulse
Page 342
Case law from the United States Supreme Court and the seventh circuit interpreting the federal rules can make it hard for settling parties to draft orders of dismissal that allow the judge to retain jurisdiction.

Guardian Ad Litem, Attorney for the Child, Child Representative: How’s the System Working?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
Article
Page 352
Eighteen months ago, Illinois redefined the roles of the GAL, child representative, and attorney for the child. How are courts and lawyers coping with the new system?

Preserving the right to appeal an ambiguous ruling

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
LawPulse
Page 342
What can you do to preserve your client's right to appeal when the trial court issues an order of ambiguous finality? The Waddick case may provide some lessons.

So you wanna be a child rep…?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
July
2007
LawPulse
Page 342
How do you get appointed? How much can you earn? What about appointees who don't do the job?

The Illinois Supreme Court OKs advance payment retainers

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
June
2007
LawPulse
Page 286
The court last month approved lawyers' use of the advance payment retainer, cautioning that more familiar retainer agreements will be the preferred option in most cases.

It’s official - you can’t collect fees for collecting your own fees

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
June
2007
LawPulse
Page 286
As a matter of public policy, "lawyers representing themselves simply do not incur legal fees," the third district ruled recently.

Law firm that followed state collection law not liable under FDCPA

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
June
2007
LawPulse
Page 286
A law firm did not violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it followed Illinois procedure for collecting a state-court judgment, the seventh circuit ruled.

Tax nonpayment sales and the mentally ill - does the system work?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
June
2007
LawPulse
Page 286
Do recent cases indicate that Illinois should change its laws to further protect mentally ill property owners?

The trouble with hourly billing

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
June
2007
LawPulse
Page 286
Does the tradition of billing by the hour push lawyers to pad bills and thus engage in the kind of "dishonest" behavior forbidden by the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct?

What’s Your Duty Under Himmel?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
June
2007
Article
Page 296
What kind of misconduct by your fellow lawyers should be reported to ARDC? What if you make the wrong call?

Hire Laterally, Think Ethically

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
May
2007
Article
Page 240
Some things Illinois lawyers and law firms should think about before making a lateral move or hire.

A new, stricter test for independent contractor status?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
May
2007
LawPulse
Page 230
Has the Illinois Supreme Court embraced a test that makes it harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees and thus avoid employee-related taxes and other expenses?

Oppositional depositions - telling your client not to answer

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
May
2007
LawPulse
Page 230
A recent federal case sheds light about when and how lawyers can counsel their clients to refuse to answer questions in a deposition.

Pleading guilty online

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
May
2007
LawPulse
Page 230
New supreme court standards allow defendants in small traffic cases to plead guilty and pay up without a trip to the courthouse.

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