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Best Practice: Law firm merger – are we a suitable candidate?

Posted on March 8, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. We have a two-partner firm in Columbus, Ohio. We have two staff members, and there are no other attorneys in the firm. We have been in practice together for 17 years. I am 62 and my partner is in his fifties. My practice is limited to intellectual property and my partner’s practice is limited to medical malpractice defense. Recently, as a result of lack of coverage, our unwillingness to hire associate attorneys, and our frustrations with dealing with management issues, we have decided that we would like to merge with a larger firm. However, we are concerned that our numbers may not be satisfactory. Our five-year averages are as follows:

  • Gross Revenue – $500,000
  • Expenses – $240,000
  • Net Income – $260,000

Since we split the pot evenly we each made $130,000 on average. With these numbers are we a suitable candidate or are we just whistling in the wind? We would appreciate your thoughts.

Proposed legislation would limit civil asset forfeiture

Posted on March 7, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

On January 25, 2017, Illinois State Representatives Will Guzzardi, Steven Andersson, and Tom Demmer introduced HB 689. The bill, which has bipartisan support and 14 other co-sponsors, would amend various asset-forfeiture statutes to increase fairness to property owners, increase transparency in the forfeiture process, and remove financial incentives that encourage police and prosecutors to seize citizens' property.

Civil forfeiture is heavily used under current Illinois law. Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, civil forfeiture does not require a criminal conviction before an individual's property can be taken by the government. In some situations, property owners may not be aware that a forfeiture proceeding is taking place because the case is brought in rem. HB 689 would change that.

The bill's changes are in line with recommendations by two strange ideological bedfellows, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the Illinois Policy Institute. The two organizations recently produced an article examining asset forfeiture in Illinois and proposing reforms for the existing system (read it at http://www.aclu-il.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/civil-asset-forfeiture.pdf).

Find out more about the bill in the March Illinois Bar Journal.

March with ISBA in the 2017 Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade

Posted on March 7, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

The ISBA Marketing & Communications Committee invites you to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade this Saturday, March 11. The Committee will be meeting at the Chicago Office, 20 S. Clark, 9th floor between 11 and 11:30 a.m. before marching over to the parade site on Columbus Drive. You may also meet the group at ISBA's parade spot No. 99. The parade kicks off at noon.

Contact Melissa Burkholder at mburkholder@isba.org for further information.

CLE: General Practice Update 2017: Quincy Regional Event

Posted on March 7, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Enhance your professional excellence by attending this full-day seminar in Quincy on March 24, 2017 that gives you the opportunity to update your knowledge in a number of general practice areas! Attorneys with basic to intermediate levels of practice experience who attend this seminar will better understand: how mobile and desktop software applications can help you practice more efficiently; the recent changes to the trust account regulations by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission; common mistakes and errors (and how to avoid them) when dealing with recent changes in how divorces are handled in Illinois; how e-filing and cameras in the courtroom will affect the Eighth Judicial Circuit; the recent cases involving search and seizure and other criminal law issues; the Illinois Parentage Act; how to use mediation and alternative dispute resolution in your practice; how to increase civility in your practice, both in person and on social media; and the best methods for having personal collections and items appraised for trusts and estates.

The seminar is presented by the ISBA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section. It qualifies for 7.0 hours MCLE credit, including 4.0 hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.

 

Act now to join ISBA Ireland trip in September

Posted on March 6, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

This is your last call to join the Honorable Russell W. Hartigan and his wife Susan on the 2017 ISBA President's Trip to Ireland September 8-17, 2017. This eight night tour of the emerald isle includes visits to Dublin, Belfast, the Cliffs of Moher, and much more. For only $4,599 per person, you'll get five star accommodations, a special welcome reception and farewell dinner, traditional Irish breakfast every day, gratuities for your local guides, transfers to and from the airports in Shannon and Dublin, and an exclusive Go Next Program Manager to make sure everything runs without a hitch. Read the trip brochure to find out more.

This special offer expires March 13, 2017, so this is your last chance to hop on this trip of a lifetime. Space is limited, so book now by calling 844-215-1589 and reserve your spot today!

CLE: Economic Development in Your Community: Learn from the Leaders (Live Webcast)

Posted on March 2, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Don’t miss this in-depth look at the various types of economic development incentives that are available to local governments – from TIFs and Business Development Districts, to Special Services Areas and more! Attorneys with all levels of practice experience who attend this online seminar on March 15, 2017 will better understand: the financial elements of economic development incentives and how financing is an area of special concern; the role of bond counsel; how the Prevailing Wage Law can impact the economic development in your community; what not to do when using incentives; and how to structure redevelopment agreements.

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Local Government Law Section and qualifies for 2.0 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.

 

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of March 2, 2017

Posted on March 2, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers the Mechanics Lien Act, the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, defining "high school" for child support purposes, the Health Care Services Lien Act, name changes and IMDMA judgments, the Residential Real Property Disclosure Act, and the Presumptively Void Transfers Article of the Probate Act of 1975.

More information on each bill is available below the video.

Illinois Supreme Court posts briefs for upcoming court terms online

Posted on March 1, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Beginning with its March 2017 term, the Illinois Supreme Court is posting briefs for each case in the term’s Call of the Docket on the court’s website.

The briefs for the March term are available under Docket in the Quick Links tab. Briefs for upcoming terms will typically be available one to two weeks before each term starts.

“Briefs and oral arguments are the primary tools used by courts of review in deciding cases," Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier said in a court press release. "Our court has made videos of all oral arguments available online for several years now. We are very pleased that briefs will now be available online as well."

The change was made possible when the Illinois Supreme Court adopted Rule 364 to protect against identity theft and the disclosure of personal information in cases before the state's reviewing courts. The rule took effect July 1, 2016, and affects all documents and exhibits filed by paper or electronically in criminal and civil cases before the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts.

Best Practice: Personal injury law firm TV advertising – launching a program

Posted on March 1, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of a plaintiff personal injury law firm in Arlington, Texas. I have three associate attorneys, six non-lawyer case managers, and three other staff members. Our marketing consists of our yellow pages program and our website. I am considering TV advertising and I would appreciate your thoughts concerning venturing into this arena.

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