Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
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A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership
Free CLE
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Quick Takes for Your Practice: Tips for Effective Brief Writing

Posted on January 23, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Ryan Suniga, an attorney with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, discusses tips for effective brief writing. Tips include framing your issue at the beginning of a piece of writing, becoming proficient at designing text, and the use of caselaw.

Best Practice Tips: Law Practice Exit Strategy—Internal or External

Posted on January 23, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am the owner of a criminal defense practice in Bloomington, Illinois. I have been practicing for 40 years and I have just turned 65. I have one associate who has been with me for two years and two staff members. I would like to retire by the end of this year, and I would like to receive some value from my practice. Would I be better off selling my practice to my associate or another firm?

Practice HQ Resource: Email Etiquette Checklist

Posted on January 22, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

It’s a common source of workplace anxiety: Did you inadvertently carbon copy the wrong person on that email? Or was a critical piece of information left out that clarifies your position?

In the fast-paced modern work environment, emails are often sent in a hurry. That’s why it’s especially important that attorneys ensure their email communications are concise, pleasant, and accurate.

What You Might Have Forgotten About Billing Clients

Posted on January 18, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Ensuring you get paid for your efforts on behalf of your client requires more than getting retained, performing legal services, and sending a bill. When a client disputes a fee or simply refuses to pay, how do you put yourself in the best position to obtain payment? It starts with your initial retention and lasts beyond your representation. In his January Illinois Bar Journal article, “What You Might Have Forgotten About Billing Clients,” David M. Neff revisits essential steps for billing clients and offers guidance from retention to collection.

CLE: Illinois Animal Law Conference—2019

Posted on January 18, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

ISBA’s Illinois Animal Law Conference is back again, giving you the updates you need to effectively advise your clients on a number of important animal law topics. Criminal law attorneys, animal law practitioners, environmental lawyers, general practitioners, and counsel for municipalities and government entities who attend this seminar Feb. 14-15 in Carbondale will better understand: how “forensic veterinary medicine” can be used in all aspects of animal law litigation; how data is being collected and used to proactively address animal-related community concerns; what is being done to protect horses and how horse rescue organizations are regulated; the most common conservation violations and the enforcement process; the Illinois Herptiles-Herps Act and what Illinois is doing to protect amphibians and reptiles; the recent issues that have arisen in the pet food industry; how to help your client with their pet planning needs; how coyotes are being targeted in killing contests, and the efforts that are being made to outlaw these type of events; the recent case law, legislation, and regulations affecting the animal law arena; and how mindfulness practices can improve our wellbeing.

Best Practice Tips: Improving Productivity and Profitability in an Insurance Defense Law Firm

Posted on January 16, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am the owner of a six-attorney insurance defense firm. I started the practice 12 years ago with a paralegal and have grown the firm to where it is today – six attorneys, two paralegals, and two other staff members. While I have done well and am taking home around $350,000 a year, I am not sure if we are attaining the numbers that we should be. I have a 1,500-billable hour expectation with a per-hour bonus payable for each billable hour exceeding 1,500. I do not have any attorneys who have reached this expectation. Our billing rates average around $150 per hour. I am wanting to put in place a partnership track and am not sure where to start. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Illinois Supreme Court Receives Famous Lincoln Portrait in Commemoration of State’s Bicentennial

Posted on January 16, 2019 by Rhys Saunders
Pictured are ISBA 3rd Vice President Anna Krolikowska, ISBA President James McCluskey, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier, and ISBA President Elect David Sosin. 

The Illinois Supreme Court received a high-quality reproduction of a famous Abraham Lincoln photograph on Jan. 15 during a ceremony held in Springfield.

The photograph was taken in Springfield by well-known photographer Alexander Hesler on June 3, 1860, for Lincoln’s 1860 presidential campaign. Historians consider Hesler’s portrait one of the best taken of Lincoln during his pre-presidential years.

CLE: Starting and Running Your Own Practice

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

As with any significant business venture, there is a certain amount of planning that must go into organizing a law practice in order for it to be successful. Get the guidance you need on organizing, marketing, protecting, and profiting from a solo practice with this full-day seminar Feb. 8 in O’Fallon. Attorneys with all levels of practice experience who are interested in starting a solo practice and who attend this seminar will better understand: how to name your law firm and register it with the required agencies; how to safeguard your investment through malpractice insurance and other options; how having a website and advertising through social media can help your practice; the legal forms you need to get started, including sample contracts, petitions, and engagement letters; the challenges facing solo practitioners (from the judicial perspective); and how to manage the stress and demands of the profession.

Practice HQ Resource: Crisis Communications Planning Checklist

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Having a crisis communications plan in place is imperative for all businesses—and especially so for law firms.

Such plans should incorporate both internal and external communications, so that employees are kept abreast of what is happening and to ensure that firms can control the public conversation.

Martin Sinclair Named Chair of the Commission on Professionalism

Posted on January 14, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Supreme Court of Illinois has appointed Martin Sinclair as chair of the Commission on Professionalism, effective Jan. 1.

Sinclair, an attorney at Sperling & Slater, P.C. in Chicago, previously served as the commission's vice-chair. His term as chair will expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

In addition, Commissioner James DeAno, managing partner at DeAno & Scarry, LLC in Chicago, has been designated vice-chair for a term expiring Dec. 31. John Kim, counsel at State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. in Bloomington, has been appointed as a new commissioner for a term expiring Dec. 31, 2021. Kim replaces Jeffrey Jackson, who retired from the commission as of Dec. 31, 2018.

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