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Best Practice Tips: Law Practice Continuation Plans

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a sole practitioner in Peoria, Illinois. My firm is a general practice firm that services clients throughout central Illinois. I have four staff members. I am 58. While I have enjoyed having my own practice for the past 20 years, I am concerned – what if something were to happen to me today or tomorrow? What is my backup plan in the event of short-term illness, disability, death, and even vacations? How would the firm keep operating? Who would take care of the client’s needs? How would my staff be taken care of?

A. Sound practice continuation arrangements can solve this dilemma, preserve practice value, and help prevent a lawyer’s spouse or immediate heirs from facing a hasty sale or disposition of the practice in an emergency. A practice continuation arrangement can also give lawyer practitioners, staff, and families peace of mind.

A practice continuation arrangement is an arrangement, typically in the form of an agreement or contract made between an individual lawyer or a small law firm and another lawyer or law firm. The arrangement describes a course of action to transfer a lawyer’s practice and sets payment for its value. In the event of vacation, temporary or permanent disability, or death, a practice continuation arrangement protects the practice, the business interests of the lawyer or law firm’s clients, and the financial interests of the lawyer.


Enter Our Caption Contest for a Chance to Win Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Enter the ISBA Caption Contest for a chance to be published in IBJ and win a pair of wireless Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.

Welcome to the first-ever ISBA Member Appreciation Month Caption Contest. Simply write a clever or humorous caption for the image above and go here to enter. We've even included a sample caption above to get your creative juices flowing.

The winning entry will appear in the Illinois Bar Journal, and the winning author gets a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre - Beats Studio Wireless On-Ear Headphones (valued at $200).

Best of luck to all Caption Contest entrants!

The contest is open through May 31. Submit as many entries as you like.

Member Appreciation Month: Find Your Workplace Groove

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Let's face it, some work days are just harder to get through than others. Whether due to an overwhelming to-do list or just finding it hard to focus — everyone needs an assist now and then.

Today we're exploring using music in the workplace to improve concentration and productivity. And we'll also check out the flip side, using complete silence to aid performance.

The Power of Music. Music has the power to do for the workday what a white noise machine does for sleep, that is, block out distractions. Studies have shown that melodic music also improves your mood by releasing dopamine in the reward area of your brain, which in turn bring about additional positive outcomes from productivity to creativity.

When deciding if listening to music at work will work for you, consider what type of task you'll be doing and whether music will help or hinder you in that task. New research has shown that music can increase your attention span when working on things that are repetitive but may be a distraction when you're tasked with critical-thinking. Each person is different, though, so find out what is right for you.

Illinois Bar Foundation to Host McHenry County Fellows Reception

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Join the Fellows of the Illinois Bar Foundation for the McHenry County Fellows Reception on Tuesday, June 27 from 5 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Woodstock Country Club, 10310 Country Club Rd., Bull Valley, IL 60098. The event will honor Herbert H. Franks (Franks Gerkin McKenna) and posthumously honor H. Joseph Gitlin (The Gitlin Law Firm) for their leadership and dedication to the law.

Tickets are $50 per person. Tickets and sponsorships are available here or can be purchased by calling the Foundation at 312-726-6072.

The proceeds from this event will help the Foundation further its mission to ensure meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means; assist lawyers who have fallen on hard times; and provide legal Fellowships to recent law school graduates. For more information, please call 312-726-6072 or visit

Thank you to the McHenry County Fellows Reception Committee

Hon. Michael J. Chmiel

Sandra Crawford

Susan M. Goldberg

Paulette M. Gray

Lisa M. Nyuli

Mary F. Petruchius

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Benefactor Sponsors

Perry J. Browder

Paulette Gitlin

The Gitlin Law Firm & Michael C. Poper

Simmons Hanly Conroy

Friend Sponsors

The Future Is Now: Legal Services 2.017 Conference Reimagines the Delivery of Legal Services

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Last Thursday, May 18, 2017, The Future Is Now: Legal Services 2.017, hosted by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and co-sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association, among others, brought legal practitioners and industry experts together for presentations and open discussions on the future of the profession.

The delivery of legal services is changing rapidly in light of new technology that has transformed the way we communicate, collaborate, and organize our work. As a result, the traditional landscape of legal services is falling behind and failing to meet client needs. Innovation is key to adapt to change and become more efficient at the practice of law.

This industry conference featured talks by experts on topics including:

  • Using online dispute resolution to open the virtual courthouse doors to the public
  • Preventative lawyering practices and insurance mechanisms that meet the needs of today's lawyer and consumer
  • A value-driven lawyer business model that rewards production rather than efficiency
  • How to invest in employees and boost impact by diversifying the workplace
  • Leveraging new technology to deliver legal services to clients where they are are, when they need them

Attendees were also given the opportunity to participate by asking questions and responding to the presentations during the town-hall discussions that followed each series of talks. 

Congratulations to the Winners of the #lawinINstyle Instagram Contest

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Congratulations to Stephen Deckro, Stephanie Gilbert, and Mervate Mohammad for each winning a Visa gift card in the #lawinINstyle Instagram contest

During our second week of Member Appreciation Month, we gave advice on how to polish your professional presence by evaluating what kind of image your wardrobe projects. We asked several of our members to give insight and advice on the power of dressing well, then asked our readers to share their favorite outfit on Instagram. We loved seeing examples of how our members use their wardrobes to put their best foot forward as attorneys.

Don't forget to check out our Membership Appreciation Month site for upcoming promotions.

CLE - Estate Administrative Issues: Are You Prepared to Handle Some of the Difficult Issues Facing Your Client?

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Don’t miss this full-day seminar in Chicago or via live webcast on June 9, 2017 that offers valuable information on how to handle an assortment of complex issues facing certain families during the administration of an estate, including drafting appropriate estate planning documents, enforcing settlement agreements, repairing documents that do not work, understanding administrative provisions of trust instruments, administering qualified retirement assets, and preparing fiduciary tax returns. Attendees with intermediate or advanced experience in estate planning, probate, tax planning, trust construction, tax preparation, trust and estate administration, chancery, or charitable planning representing fiduciaries who attend this seminar will better understand: the role of the trust protector; statutory and common law techniques available to fiduciaries and beneficiaries; trust construction, modification, and decanting; charitable trust reformation and how to assure grantor’s intent is met; use of apportionment provisions in planning documents; inherited IRAs; typical issues faced in tax return preparation; and much more!

The program is presented by the ISBA Trusts & Estates Section and qualifies for 6.25 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.

See Disney’s Aladdin in Chicago and Save with TicketsatWork

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Discover a whole new world at Disney's ALADDIN, the hit Broadway musical. Take advantage of this deal from TicketsatWork to buy tickets starting at $63.50. 

From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It's an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.

These offers are provided to you through the Illinois State Bar Association’s Member Marketplace.

Want to sign up? It's free and easy: 
1. Visit
2. Use your company code: ISBA
3. Read and follow the easy steps on our site, and once registered you can access all tickets, events, hotels and more online for free.

Member Appreciation Month: Help for Your Tired Eyes

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Continuing our D4S Office Wellness Week, today we're looking at a very 21st century work problem — Computer Vision Syndrome — and ways to prevent or alleviate related symptoms.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)? According to the American Optometric Association, CVS (also referred to as Digital Eye Strain) describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and smartphone use. Research shows that between 50 and 90 percent of people who work at a computer screen experience some symptoms.

The most common symptoms include eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, dry red eyes, and neck/shoulder/back pain.

What causes CVS? CVS is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in that both are repetitive motion injuries you can get at work. When you spend the majority of your day on the computer, your eyes follow the same path over and over, constantly focusing and refocusing every time they move across the screen or you look away from your screen and back.

Member Appreciation Month: Physio for Stress Relief

Posted on May 22, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Welcome to D4S Week 4 - Office Wellness! Lawyers tend to work long hours and experience significant amounts of stress. This week we're looking at ways to help you cope with that stress and make your office environment healthier too. Let's get started...

Chances are you spend much of your day sitting in front of a computer. (You're likely there now.) If you are seated (or the next your are,) check your posture. Are you hunched over? Is your breathing inhibited? Does your lower back or neck hurt? When was the last time you stretched?

We've asked Health and Relaxation Coach Liv Ryan — daughter of (proud) mom Jeanne Heaton, ISBA Director of CLE — for an encore of her 'DIY Physio for Stress Reduction' techniques, recently given at an ISBA Solo & Small Firm Institute.

In the video, Liv shares a few stretches you can do seated at your desk, or standing nearby, that will reinvigorate you, work out some of your tension, and get the blood flowing again for better alertness and posture throughout the rest of your day. Watch it before you go get your morning coffee or whenever you find yourself needing a short break.