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Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Issued Friday, Dec. 29

Posted on January 2, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Leading appellate attorneys review Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down on Friday, Dec. 29. The cases are Cohen v. Chicago Park District and Yarbrough v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Cohen v. Chicago Park District

By Joanne R. Driscoll, Forde Law Offices LLP

For a second time within a month, the Illinois Supreme Court was called upon to interpret the meaning of section 3-107 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (the Act) (745 ILCS 10/3-107 (West 2012)), in the context of bicycling accidents along shared-use paths or trails. In Corbett v. The County of Lake, 2012 IL 121536, decided in November, the court construed subsection (b), whereas here the court construed subsection (a). In both cases, the court found section 3-107 inapplicable, although this case drew a dissent, but for a different reason.

Mandatory E-Filing Deadline Extension Granted for Cook and Winnebago Counties

Posted on January 2, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Supreme Court of Illinois has extended the Jan. 1, 2018, deadline to implement mandatory e-filing for all civil cases for Cook and Winnebago Counties. The request for an extension by Greene County was denied. 

The Circuit Court of Cook County will have six more months to prepare for mandatory electronic filing, according to an Illinois Supreme Court order issued Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.  Through June 30, the county is allowed to continue permissive e-filing with a commitment to complete the full case management system integration by April 1. By May 1, Cook County must permit filings for all civil case types to be made on eFileIL. Read the order on the Illinois Courts website to see the full list of conditions.

This extension comes after a request early last month from Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown to push back the start date a full year, stating that the county's vendor, Tyler Technologies, could not fully meet the deadline. The Circuit Clerk's office will work with Tyler to meet the extended deadline, including the testing of essential functionality.

Spotlight on Pro Bono: Tick Tock. New Year’s Resolution? Find Time.

Posted on January 2, 2018 by Sara Anderson

By Teri Ross, Program Director, Illinois Legal Aid Online

Like many Illinois attorneys, I recently completed my ARDC registration. Like some of you, I had to answer “Mandatory Pro Bono Information” questions. In particular, this one stood out:

"Did you within the past twelve months, provide any pro bono legal services? Yes or No"

Well, honestly (as my mother used to say), who wants to answer ‘No’ to that? There must have been something I’d done that I could report on. Think, think, think. I reflect on my extracurricular activities in 2017 — scout mom, active church member, elementary school volunteer, letter writer, and other social justice advocacy. Can I report on any of that?

Now, it’s not like I don’t know what pro bono is. I work for a non-profit legal aid organization that offers great, online information about pro bono, not to mention a whole directory of Illinois pro bono opportunities. My problem is that I really haven’t done any pro bono work. I am a lawyer, so of course, I could try to justify some of my activities listed above to wedge (awkwardly) into the pro bono categories. But the truth is, I have not done anything outside of my paid employment that equates to “legal services to a person/persons of limited means.”

Nominating Petitions Now Being Accepted for Upcoming ISBA Election

Posted on January 2, 2018 by Sara Anderson

In the spring, members of the ISBA will elect a third vice president, six seats on the Board of Governors, and 22 seats on the Cook County Assembly.

One board seat is open in each of the following Areas: Cook County, Board Area 1 (circuit 18), Board Area 3 (Circuits 12, 13, 16, 21 and 23), Board Area 4 (circuits 10, 14, and 15), Board Area 6 (circuits 7, 8 and 9), and Board Area 8 (circuits 3 and 20).  

Nominating petitions are now being accepted and must be filed by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at either the Illinois Bar Center, 424 South 2nd Street, in Springfield, or the ISBA Office at 20 S. Clark Street, 9th Floor, Chicago.

Petitions must be physically submitted with original signatures. Petitions submitted via email or fax will not be accepted.

Candidates should submit their biography and photo online.

Questions regarding the filing of petitions should be directed to Kim Weaver, assistant to the executive director.

Find out more on the ISBA Elections page.

Best Practice Tips: Associate Attorneys as a Succession Strategy

Posted on December 26, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. My firm is a Tucson, Arizona business litigation firm. We have four founding partners and four associates. The partners are in their late fifties and early sixties. All four of us are contemplating retirement in the next 8–10 years. We are assuming that our associates will be willing to step up and buy out our interests. We have not had any discussions with our associates concerning this. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Illinois Supreme Court Forms Commission to Reform Pretrial Practices

Posted on December 21, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court launched its Commission on Pretrial Practices today to conduct a comprehensive review of Illinois' pretrial detention system and provide guidance and recommendations for change.

Building on pretrial reform initiatives that began last year, the Commission will gain an understanding of where the greatest problems lie; how the problems vary by jurisdiction; and how laws, regulations, and rules can be changed to ensure pretrial services are fair, efficient, transparent, accountable, and adequately resourced. 

Illinois' pretrial practices are one of the greatest problems facing the state's justice system. "Pretrial detention costs now consume a substantial portion of the total resources expended by the justice system in our country. The time has come to take a hard look at whether that investment makes sense," Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier said. "Mindful of these social and financial costs, the Illinois Supreme Court has committed itself to enacting sensible and practical reforms to the pretrial process to ensure that pretrial incarceration is reserved for cases in which the threat to public safety truly warrants it."

The idea of forming a statewide pretrial commission began four years ago when the supreme court began looking into the issue of pretrial services in Cook County by creating a committee of key stakeholders in the county. This stakeholders committee, chaired by Hon. Benjamin Miller, retired Illinois Supreme Court chief justice, and Hon. David Coar, retired federal judge, met for several years to develop a program of best practices.

ISBA Offices Closing for Holidays

Posted on December 21, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The ISBA Springfield and Chicago offices will be closed for the holidays beginning tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 22. They will reopen on Jan. 2, 2018. During this time, members can expect the following:

All business and e-newsletter distribution will resume as usual on Jan. 2, 2018.

On behalf of everyone at the ISBA, we wish you a happy holiday season and best wishes in the new year. 

Quick Takes for Your Practice: Changes to the MCLE Rules

Posted on December 21, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Jayne Reardon, executive director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, discusses changes to the MCLE rules made by the supreme court.

Referring with Style

Posted on December 21, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

As lawyers increasingly focus their practices, a given attorney often isn't the best choice to handle a given case. Yet clients typically don't know where to turn, which means lawyers and their firms end up deciding which cases to accept and which to refer, and - when they send cases out - how to handle that referral.

Once done on the down-low, referrals have become a more above-board part of legal practice, says Warren Lupel, former special counsel in the litigation and dispute resolution practice at Much Shelist in Chicago. "There's nothing wrong with it, and it's even desirable in most instances," says Lupel, who appeared with Daniel Breen of Chicago's Breen Goril Law during a CLE presentation at the ISBA's Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute in October. "If you are not that specialist, and you know a specialist, the client is going to get a better deal if you refer."

Whether and when to refer is a case-by-case judgment based on one's confidence level in handling a particular matter, Lupel says. "You don't have to be the best lawyer in the country or the county to keep the file," he says. "But if you're a real estate lawyer, and you get a medical malpractice case, that decision should be easy."

Other judgments are trickier, he says. "You may handle small personal injury cases, and this is a big one. Maybe you don't refer it."

Temporary ISBA Service Interruption Scheduled on Dec. 29-30

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Sara Anderson

All ISBA systems will be down due to electrical work beginning Friday, Dec. 29 at 8 a.m. until Saturday, Dec. 30 at 12 p.m. (noon). During this time the ISBA website will not be available. As a result you will also not be able to log into Fastcase, online CLE, and ISBA Central. Here is what you need to know and steps you can take to ensure continued service.

Online CLE

You will not be able to access online CLE at all during the outage. If you need to complete CLE credit before the end of the year, we strongly urge you to plan to finalize that before the outage. 

ISBA Central Communities and Discussion Groups

Discussion groups will still be available via email, but you will not be able to log into ISBA Central. (Note: if you are already logged into the ISBA website, you may be able to access ISBA Central by going to it directly at


For members who need to access Fastcase during this time, please follow the instructions below.