Publications

Articles on Law Pulse

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?

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.

A trio of Illinois Supreme Court Rule amendments

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
May
2007
LawPulse
Page 230
The court amended rules governing the format of appellate briefs, appeals from circuit court rulings, and voir dire examinations in criminal cases.

No governmental immunity for hazardous recreational activity

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
April
2007
LawPulse
Page 170
The tort immunity act offers no blanket immunity for trampolining and other hazardous recreational activities, the high court rules.

Parent companies more vulnerable to suit for subsidiaries’ torts

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
April
2007
LawPulse
Page 170
Under the direct participant theory, recently adopted by the Illinois Supreme Court, a parent business that guides its subsidiary's activities may be liable for the subsidiary's torts.

Slavery reparations claims dismissed by 7CA

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
April
2007
LawPulse
Page 170
The court held that slave descendants' section 1982 claims are, inter alia, too speculative and the claimants too far removed from the wrong of slavery.

Supremes - the risk-utility test applies despite open, obvious dangers

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
April
2007
LawPulse
Page 170
In a victory for consumers, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the use of the "risk-utility" test in a product liability suit based on an item with open and obvious dangers.

When is holding multiple public offices verboten?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
April
2007
LawPulse
Page 170
A recent appellate case, and AG opinions over the years, illustrate that officeholders won't always be permitted to serve two masters.

Hospital not liable for off-duty worker’s disclosure of patient info

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
March
2007
LawPulse
Page 118
The Illinois Supreme Court rules that a phlebomist's disclosure at a local tavern of a patient's blood-test results was outside the scope of her employment.

“Innocent construction” libel rule - still standing but battered

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
March
2007
LawPulse
Page 118
The Illinois Supreme Court refused to abandon the rule in Tuite v Corbitt but overturned the trial and appellate courts who applied it in dismissing the plaintiff's case.

IOLTA change allows trust accounts to earn highest rate

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
March
2007
LawPulse
Page 118
Amended RPC 1.15, effective June 1, requires lawyers to place nominal or short-term client funds with banks that pay the same return on IOLTA as on non-IOLTA accounts.

J.S.A. - the supreme court peers into a tangled paternity web

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
March
2007
LawPulse
Page 118
A convoluted paternity case examines the interplay between the parentage and adoption acts and raises as many questions as it answers.

Jury trials for divorce?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
March
2007
LawPulse
Page 118
An Illinois bill would bring jury trials back to contested divorce. The ISBA Family Law Section Council thinks that's a bad idea.

Extra fees for extra effort - a win in the appellate court

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
February
2007
LawPulse
Page 66
The appellate court reversed the trial court's rejection of a plaintiff's firm's argument that its extraordinary effort justified fees that exceeded the statutory med-mal limit.

Goodbye to number, length limits for Illinois appellate opinions

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
February
2007
LawPulse
Page 66
The supreme court lifted its 12-year-old limit, effective last month. Will its next step be to publish Rule 23 opinions on its Web site? Appellate advocates hope so.

Impending Regs Affect Planning for Clients Facing Long-Term Care

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
February
2007
LawPulse
Page 66
The state is on track to issue new regulations that will make it harder for clients who are headed for nursing-home care to hang on to assets. Elder law and estate-planning practitioners need to be prepared with new strategies for the new rules.

New rule allows citation of unpublished federal opinions

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
February
2007
LawPulse
Page 66
Federal appellate courts used to restrict or prohibit citation of unpublished opinions in arguments to the courts. That changed January 1.

Criminal defendants must be informed of right to counsel, Campbell says

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
January
2007
LawPulse
Page 8
A defendant's waiver of right to counsel was ineffective because the trial judge didn't inform him of the nature of the charges, the range of penalties, or his right to a lawyer.

Getting back in the closings game

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
January
2007
LawPulse
Page 8
Lawyers should try to reclaim their place at the residential real-estate table, a leading practitioner writes. And that requires more than going along for the ride.

Lawpulse Have you been bench-slapped by the 7CA?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
January
2007
LawPulse
Page 8
 Are seventh circuit justices' public scoldings of attorneys for defective jurisdictional statements disproportionately harsh?

Lawsuit challenges med-mal caps

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
January
2007
LawPulse
Page 8
The suit, filed in Cook County, argues that the statute violates the separation of powers, is impermissible special legislation, and suffers from other constitutional infirmities.

A pro-prosecution definition of “delay” under the Speedy Trial Act

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
January
2007
LawPulse
Page 8
Even some respected defense attorneys agree that the ruling will end form-over-substance gamesmanship.

Cross-examination and impeachment techniques for DUI defense attorneys

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
December
2006
LawPulse
Page 642
You can gather plenty of evidence even without the benefit of discovery, a pair of leading DUI defense attorneys say.

Living-trust scams: all too alive and well in Illinois

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
December
2006
LawPulse
Page 642
Meanwhile, a recent Indiana Supreme Court opinion unambiguously declares that drafting a testamentary trust is the practice of law.

New statutory language targets elder self-neglect

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
December
2006
LawPulse
Page 642
Soon-to-be-effective changes to the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act will give authorities new power to intervene when elderly people can't take care of themselves.

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