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ISBA futures report recommends consumer directory, tech training

Posted on November 10, 2016 by Mark S. Mathewson

An ISBA task force has concluded that licensing nonlawyer legal technicians is not a good way to improve the delivery of legal services. Instead, the group recommends creating a consumer-oriented lawyer directory for ISBA members, providing more technology and practice-management education and resources to members, and establishing an ISBA standing committee on the future of legal services, among other initiatives.

The ISBA Board of Governors is recommending that the ISBA Assembly adopt the report and recommendations of the Task Force on the Future of Legal Services. The Board approved the report in October and the Assembly will consider it at its December 10 meeting in Chicago. Read the report here.

The task force grew out of concern about the move to create court-licensed nonlawyer legal service providers, also know as LLLTs, in Washington and other states (for more, see the September 2015 Illinois Bar Journal cover story). However, the group examined many other, and likely more significant, issues reshaping the practice of law.

They include the rise of internet-based legal service providers, the broader impact of technology on the practice of law, and the increasing number of self-represented litigants. With this report, the ISBA joins a growing number of bar associations across the country seeking to address the transformation underway in the legal services industry. The report and recommendations will be the subject of an article in the January 2017 Illinois Bar Journal.

Quick Takes for Your Practice: What the ARDC Wants You to Know About Succession Planning

Posted on November 10, 2016 by Morgan Yingst

Ethics education counsel at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Mary Andreoni discusses what attorneys need to know about succession planning.

Court rejects right-of-publicity claim against Avvo

Posted on November 9, 2016 by Mark S. Mathewson

A federal district court found that Avvo did not run afoul of the Illinois Right of Publicity Act by creating attorney profile pages without plaintiffs' consent and using them to sell advertising to competing attorneys.

Plaintiff John Vrdolyak relied heavily on the seventh circuit's opinion in Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 743 F.3d 509, 515 (7th Cir. 2014), which set forth a multi-prong test to help determine whether speech is commercial or noncommercial. Vrdolyak argued that, like the advertisement in Jordan, Avvo's advertising is inextricably linked to its attorney profiles, meaning the entire directory is commercial speech and thus protected at a lower level under the First Amendment than noncommercial speech.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois court disagreed. It found that because not every profile contains an advertisement, and because none of the advertisements used the plaintiff's name, "the court views what defendant does as more akin to the yellow pages directory, which receives First Amendment protection, than the advertisement that Jewel placed in Jordan."

Best Practice: Law Firm Retirement - Planning Retirement

Posted on November 9, 2016 by Morgan Yingst

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a six-attorney firm in downtown Chicago. I am sixty four and starting to think about retirement and would appreciate your thoughts on how where to start.

1,374 new attorneys admitted to practice in Illinois

Posted on November 8, 2016 by Morgan Yingst

Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court administered the attorney’s oath to 1,374 new attorneys on Thursday, November 10, at five separate locations across the state.

The largest group, 1,121, was admitted in the First Judicial District during two ceremonies at Arie Crown Theater, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. The ceremonies were at 9:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. 

All of the candidates sworn in have passed the Illinois State Bar Examination and a required ethics examination and were certified by the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. They bring the total number of licensed attorneys in Illinois to approximately 96,300.

CLE: Don’t miss these two upcoming live webcasts on November 30, 2016!

Posted on November 7, 2016 by Morgan Yingst

Environmental Law for the General Practitioner: Fundamentals on Handling Hazardous Waste at Your Client's Business

Join us for Part Three of the Environmental Law for the General Practitioner Series, which will be of particular interest to attorneys representing companies disposing of waste.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | 1.0 hour MCLE credit

Illinois Lawyer Finder makes over 800 referrals in October

Posted on November 7, 2016 by Douglas Knapp

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 October 2016, there were 867 referrals. ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:

Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis announces vacancy in Eleventh Subcircuit of Cook County

Posted on November 4, 2016 by Morgan Yingst

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis has begun an application process for a vacancy in the Eleventh Judicial Subcircuit of Cook County.

The vacancy is created by the upcoming retirement of the Hon. Kathleen Kennedy, effective Nov. 30, 2016.

Under the Illinois Constitution, judicial vacancies are filled on an interim basis by Supreme Court appointment. Justice Theis will make a recommendation to the Supreme Court after applicants for the position undergo a screening and evaluation process.

Quick Takes for Your Practice: Reforms and initiatives targeted at stopping wrongful convictions

Posted on November 3, 2016 by Morgan Yingst

Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg from the Illinois Innocence Project discusses current reforms and initiatives targeted at stopping wrongful convictions.

You be the judge: Ratings for Illinois judicial candidates

Posted on November 3, 2016 by Morgan Yingst

View the Illinois State Bar Association's judicial ratings by county for Tuesday's election.

Methods ISBA uses to rate candidates

For most judicial offices, ISBA will provide either an evaluation or a poll rating; in the case of Supreme and Appellate court candidates outside of Cook County, ISBA will provide both an evaluation rating and poll results. NOTE: Evaluation ratings, which are the result of an in-depth review of candidates, are the opinion of the Illinois State Bar Association; the Judicial Advisory Poll ratings do not reflect the opinion of ISBA, but rather the opinion of those attorneys who participated in the poll.