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What You Need to Know About Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

Posted on August 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Because most solos and small firms may not need a full-time bookkeeper, they often end up either trying to do the work themselves or having a spouse or partner come in “a few days a week” to do the work. With this approach, no one is consistently and directly responsible for ensuring that the finances are in order, regardless of how “simple” the firm thinks they are. 

The August Illinois Bar Journal Practice HQ column summarizes all the financial areas a proper bookkeeping routine covers and discusses the benefits of outsourcing this role. Whether outsourcing is a viable option, consider at least a quick audit of your own bookkeeping routine and the time you devote to it. A thorough, orderly bookkeeping process may help minimize expenses, increase your efficiency, and maximize your bottom line.

CLE: Cannabis Law - What You Need to Know to Represent Cannabis Businesses and Investors

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., but is fraught with numerous legal and regulatory issues that are constantly evolving. This half-day program in Chicago or via live webcast on Sept. 20 offers a multidisciplinary introduction to a number of issues that can arise when representing cannabis business clients and investors, including tax, regulatory/compliance, securities, banking, real estate, and land use. 

Best Practice Tips: Six Worries That Keep Law Firm Managing Partners Awake at Night

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a new managing partner in a 35-attorney firm in Tucson, Ariz. I replaced the previous managing partner who retired. He was the firm founder and had been in the position since the firm’s inception. I have had this position for six months and I am finding the job overwhelming – trying to serve my clients and managing the firm at the same time is very difficult. What are the major challenges that managing partners are having?

A. I understand and appreciate your situation. Managing partners advise me that the following challenges are what keeps them awake at night:

Quick Takes for Your Practice: The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Mechanics Liens

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

James M. Dash, founding member of the firm Carlson Dash LLC, discusses mechanics liens in Illinois. 

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation Seeks Three Attorneys

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals and groups in civil cases, is seeking three staff attorneys at the Northern Regional Office in Springfield.

The first position includes providing civil legal services ranging from advice to representation to individuals referred by the health care partner; developing and presenting training programs to faculty doctors, nurses, residents and other healthcare professionals; creating and presenting community legal education programs; supervising an intake specialist; and drafting quarterly reports.

Shining Moonlight on Witness Testimony

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Flawed witness testimony is as old as the notion of justice itself. A witness may have unquestionable integrity, but his memories and perspectives may be incomplete or incorrect. In his August Illinois Bar Journal column, retired circuit court judge Ron Spears examines Abraham Lincoln’s famous almanac trial for the lessons it reveals about flawed witnesses. Spears also discusses how discoveries in neuroscience are adding to our understanding of human memory and eyewitness identification. 

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, August 9

Posted on August 10, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Thursday, August 9. The supreme court addressed the issue of whether the lower court erred when it terminated a father’s parental rights on the grounds that he was an unfit person under the Adoption Act.

In re N.G., a minor, 2018 IL 121939

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC 

In a 4-3 decision of the Illinois Supreme Court, the majority’s expansive view of the judiciary’s obligation to right a constitutional wrong clashes with the dissent’s adherence to judicial restraint. The supreme court ruled that a circuit court cannot terminate parental rights on the basis of a parent’s felony criminal conviction, where the conviction was based on a statute later deemed unconstitutional on its face.

CLE: All the Queen's Horses - The $53 Million Question: Who's Responsible for Finding Fraud?

Posted on August 10, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

On Feb. 14, 2013, Rita Crundwell, former comptroller for the city of Dixon, Ill., was sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison for stealing more than $53 million from the city. Crundwell’s crime went on record as the largest municipal fraud in U.S. history. Just as shocking as the amount stolen from this small Illinois town was the fact that Crundwell engaged in her scheme to pillage Dixon for 20 years before being discovered. Crundwell's fraud once again focused an unflattering spotlight on the accounting profession and the role of the audit. The relevance of the audit has been in question since the uncovering of massive corporate frauds dating back to Worldcom and Enron. Subsequent to Crundwell's conviction, the city of Dixon sued its auditors, accountants and bank, settling their claim against them for $40 million.

Best Practice Tips: Firm Administrator vs. Director of Administration or Chief Operating Officer

Posted on August 8, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Our firm is a 14-attorney firm in south Florida. I am the senior member of a three-member executive committee. Our firm is in the second generation of partners. The founders retired five years ago. Upon their retirements, we changed our governance from a managing partner to an executive committee model supplemented with an office administrator – some refer to the position as the office manager. Our executive committee model has worked relatively well. The administrator who we hired five years ago is still in place, but we are not satisfied with his performance. We believe that this is in part due to the fact that our expectations have changed. When we hired him, we thought that we needed an office administrator primarily to manage the office staff, billing, and the bookkeeping. So we hired an administrator who had an associate degree in accounting and had worked as an office manager in an eight-attorney firm for two years. He has done a good job managing the staff, billing, and the bookkeeping. However, we have now discovered that we want more – we want executive-level leadership. We want someone who is respected by all the attorneys and can:

Lawyer Referral Service Makes More than 800 Referrals in July

Posted on August 7, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois State Bar Association’s Lawyer Finder Service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays. The Service makes referrals in a number of areas of law. For the month of July 2018 there were more than 800 referrals given.

Here are the results for July 2018: