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General and Boilerplate Objections: Curbing Routine Abuse of the Discovery Process

Posted on January 29, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

February’s Illinois Bar Journal includes the winning article of 2019’s Lincoln Award Legal Writing Contest. The article, “General and Boilerplate Objections: Curbing Routine Abuse of the Discovery Process” by Gregory R. Jones, an associate at Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., in Edwardsville, examines distasteful discovery tactics that can directly conflict with the spirit of discovery and the concept of “full disclosure.”

Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Issued Friday, January 25

Posted on January 25, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down eight opinions on Friday, Jan. 25. In People v. Witherspoon, the court considered whether a person who enters another person’s home in violation of a court order thereby enters “without authority” under the home invasion statute. In People v. Johnson, the supreme court concluded that the appellate court erred in considering the merits of a man’s sentencing challenge because he could not challenge it other than through withdrawal of his plea. The court ruled that a defendant was required to offer some affirmative evidence that the parking lot where he was arrested for DUI was not a public highway in People v. Relwani. In Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., the court ruled that consumers do not have to demonstrate “injury or adverse effect” to sue companies under the state’s biometric privacy law. The supreme court upheld a trial court’s ruling granting a father who had joint custody of his children to relocate in In re Marriage of Fatkin and clarified the rules governing the admission of photographs in motor vehicle cases in Peach v. McGovern. In In re Appointment of Special Prosecutor, the court rejected arguments by the Better Government Association to release documents in a FOIA request. In Smith v. The Vanguard Group, the court determined that a man did not violate an injunction when he changed the beneficiary designation from his wife to his sons.

2019 Lincoln Award Legal Writing Contest Winners Announced

Posted on January 24, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

Gregory R. Jones, an associate at Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., from Edwardsville, is winner of first place and $2,000 in the ISBA’s 2019 Lincoln Award Legal Writing Contest. His article, “General and Boilerplate Objections: Curbing Routine Abuse of the Discovery Process,” appears in the February issue of the Illinois Bar Journal.

Second place winner is Daniel C. Katzman, a partner at Katzman & Sugden, LLC, in Belleville. His article is “Can You Record Me Now? Tapping into the Illinois Eavesdropping Act and its Effect on Attorneys, Employers, and Individuals.” Daniel won $1,000.

Third place and $500 goes to Chicagoan Jake Crabbs, for “Responding to Affirmative Defenses.”

ISBA Statehouse Review for January 24, 2019

Posted on January 24, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers the Vacancy Fraud Act, the Workplace Transparency Act, the Justice for Juveniles Program, and guardianship of minors.

Creates the Vacancy Fraud Act. House Bill 832 (Martwick, D-Chicago) allows a taxing body or its representative to file a vacancy-fraud complaint with the county board of review if the property is receiving vacancy relief and the property owner is not actively attempting to lease, sell, or alter the property. It sets forth factors in determining whether vacancy fraud has occurred and its penalties. House Bill 832 was just introduced.

CLE: Overseeing Retirement Plan Investments—Understanding Your ERISA Fiduciary Obligations

Posted on January 24, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

The fiduciary duties established under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) are recognized as the “highest known to law” and can result in personal liability for fiduciaries who oversee plan investments. Law firm partners who manage firm retirement plans and lawyers with clients who maintain retirement plans who attend this online seminar on Feb. 19 will walk away with a basic level of financial literacy regarding common retirement plan investments, as well as a better understanding of the ERISA fiduciary obligations that must be met regarding the investment of retirement plan assets.

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.