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Amended supreme court rule requires uninsured lawyers to do self-assessment

Posted on February 28, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Beginning next year, lawyers who don't carry malpractice insurance will have to complete a four-hour assessment of their ethical knowledge and management practices.

Each year, the ARDC requires Illinois attorneys to report whether they or their firms carry malpractice insurance. That information is made public via the ARDC's website, although a prospective client may not know the website exists, let alone that it provides such information. On January 25, 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court amended Rule 756(e) by implementing "proactive management based regulation" (PMBR). The new rule will require attorneys who do not carry malpractice insurance to complete a four-hour interactive, online assessment of the operations of their firm. The assessment is based on both ethical rules and best business practices. It will be conducted every two years, beginning in 2018. (For more about PMBR, see the June 2016 Illinois Bar Journal cover story.)

According to James Grogan, the ARDC's Deputy Administrator and Chief Counsel, 41 percent of solo practitioners in Illinois do not carry malpractice insurance. There are roughly 13,500 solo attorneys in the state, which means some 5,500 practice uninsured. What's more, nine percent of small firms do not maintain malpractice insurance policies.

Learn about candidates for ISBA 3d VP, Board of Governors

Posted on February 28, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Campaign season is here! Biographies of candidates for the ISBA 3d VP and board of governors races, along with a complete list of Assembly candidates, are online now. Paper ballots will be mailed and e-ballots will be emailed on March 29. Voting concludes April 28 at 4:30 p.m. CDT. All attorney members with dues paid up by March 1 of this year are eligible to vote for races in their area. Find out more at www.isba.org/elections.

Laureates will be honored at March 30 luncheon

Posted on February 28, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

The 2017 class of laureates of the ISBA Academy of Illinois Lawyers will be honored at a special luncheon at the Standard Club in Chicago on March 30. This year's inductees are Patricia Bronte, Chicago; Joseph Gagliardo, Chicago; Marshall Hartman, Lincolnwood; James Holderman, Chicago; Lori Levin, Chicago; George Mahoney, Joliet; Nicholas Motherway, Chicago; Michael Reagan, Ottawa; and Larry Rogers, Chicago.

 A welcome reception begins at 11:15 a.m., followed by lunch and award ceremony at noon. To order individual tickets, complete the online registration form. The deadline for purchasing tickets is March 24.

The ISBA Academy of Illinois Lawyers honors lawyers "who have established and maintained the highest principles of the profession as demonstrated by their pervasive record of service to the law and the public." Find out more about the Academy and the Laureate Award.

Questions about the luncheon should be directed to Kim Weaver at kweaver@isba.org.

CLE: The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA): Guidance for Practicing Attorneys [LIVE WEBCAST]

Posted on February 28, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Are you an attorney with advance-level practice experience who would like to better understand The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA)? Do you want to give your physician clients practical legal advice about Medicare payments and obligations? Do you represent and advise other health care professionals that might benefit from your understanding of MACRA? Then don’t miss this hot topic live webcast on March 15, 2017 that explains: what MACRA is – including objectives and principal provisions; how MACRA will affect physicians, as well as the requirements MACRA imposes on physicians; how physicians can maximize their Medicare payments on account of MACRA; and the tools available for helping physicians make informed decisions about participating in the Medicare Program.

The program is presented by the ISBA Health Care Law Section and qualifies for 1.50 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.

Quick Takes for Your Practice: 4 Factors to Consider Before Practicing Immigration Law

Posted on February 27, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Glenview lawyer Rachel Huan Kao discusses four factors to consider before practicing immigration law.

Transform your practice with a business plan

Posted on February 22, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

For about a dozen years after Kerry Lavelle founded his namesake law firm a quarter-century ago, he was based in the loop and took what cases he could find, enjoying steady success that enabled him to grow the firm to five lawyers, which he took pride in at the time.

About 13 years ago, he moved the firm to northwest suburban Palatine and undertook a change in direction aside from geography. "I took a very different approach: I built a business plan, and with the right discipline, we really grew the firm, and we now have 24 attorneys," says Lavelle, who will speak in Moline March 31 at the ISBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute on "Build It and the Profit Will Come: Simple Steps to Building Your Business Plan."

Lavelle didn't just throw himself into this exercise blindly. "I read a lot of business books, and I realized there's more to a business plan than just the pro forma financials," he says. "A business plan is a model to really touch on all the necessary elements of the business going forward. And if you stick to those goals and those truisms, you will be successful."

A business plan can help lawyers flesh out their ideas, and in some ways the journey is more enlightening than the destination, says Debbie Foster, partner at Affinity Consulting Group, who helps law firm clients put business plans together.

CLE: Engagement Letters, Timesheets & Billing Tips [Live Webcast]

Posted on February 22, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Running your own practice is rewarding, but it can be hard to juggle all the tasks that are required for running a successful business. Join us via the Internet on March 8, 2017 as Kevin Stine teaches us the importance of engagement letters (and how to draft them), how to keep track of your time, and how to produce accurate bills for clients. Topics include: understanding how you get paid and your monthly communication with the client; why use engagement letters; terms of representation; the importance of retainers; the cost of collection; proofreading your timesheets for accuracy and offering descriptions of tasks performed on the timesheet; dealing with travel and its expenses; the ethical issues and pitfalls to avoid; and much more!

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics. It qualifies for 1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.

Best Practice: Law firm equity partnership/admission requirements

Posted on February 22, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Asked and Answered

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

Q.  We have a 16-attorney business law firm in Cleveland, Ohio – six equity partners and 10 associates. The equity partners have been discussing putting in place an associate attorney career advancement program and outlining equity partner admission requirements. Can you share your thoughts on what we should be considering and how we should get started?

Quick Takes for Your Practice: Illinois State and Local Tax Issues

Posted on February 22, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

David Kupiec of Kupiec & Martin LLC discusses Illinois state and local tax issues.

Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court opinions issued Friday, Feb. 17

Posted on February 19, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Leading appellate attorneys review the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down Friday, February 17. The cases are Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative HearingsWardwell v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.Grimm v. Calica, and, from the criminal docket, People v. Fort, People v. Ayres, and People v. Shinaul.

CIVIL

Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative Hearings

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative Hearings, a limited scope Armageddon was expected to occur concerning a claim of unauthorized practice of law, but by a vote of 4 to 3 that battle was called off.  Stone Street Partners, LLC brought this action in the circuit court to obtain administrative review and other relief after discovering that a judgment had been recorded against one of its properties for failure to pay $1,050 in fines and costs imposed by Chicago’s department of administrative hearings for alleged violations of the city’s building code, such as installation of carbon monoxide detectors, removal of garbage and debris, and the installation of lighting and exit signage.

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