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Register now for Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute in Chicago

Posted on September 23, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute Series: Tech Tips & Tools to Transition to the Solo & Small Firm Setting will be held from 8:15 a.m.-5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16. This program will be held at the ISBA Chicago Office, 20 S. Clark and will available via live webcast.

Find out more and register at

Don’t let cybersecurity breaches lead to legal malpractice: The fax is back

Posted on September 23, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA Mutual Liability Minute

By Joseph R. Marconi & Brian C. Langs1, Johnson & Bell, Ltd., Chicago

Back in July of 2011, we warned of a then popular e-mail/fraudulent check scheme whereby lawyers would receive e-mails from alleged potential foreign clients looking to collect debts from customers. Those scammers convinced the unsuspecting lawyers to deposit fraudulent “settlement checks” into client accounts and wire the “clients’ share” to foreign accounts after the bogus checks cleared. When the frauds were eventually uncovered by the banks, the lawyers were left with liability to the banks for the fraudulent check and wire transfers.2 Since then, newer, more complex electronic scams have surfaced whereby hackers intercept e-mails between lawyers and clients that contain wire transfer instructions. After intercepting such an e-mail, the hacker changes the instructions in the e-mail to wire money to his own untraceable account. The hacker forwards his bogus wiring instructions to the unsuspecting recipient, all while “masking” his identity as the sender and making it appear to the recipient as if the instruction came from the correct sender, whether lawyer or client.

Supreme Court Rules Committee schedules public hearing on proposed rule amendments

Posted on September 22, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee will seek comment at a public hearing in Chicago on a proposed amendment to a Supreme Court rule regarding personal identity information in civil case filings. The Committee will also consider comments on proposed rule changes involving motions in a reviewing court; appeals from final circuit court judgments in civil cases; and general rules governing appeals from the Appellate Court to the Supreme Court.

All of the proposals will be aired at a public hearing of the Supreme Court Rules Committee on Friday, October 10 at 10 a.m. in Chicago. Copies of all proposals are available on the Supreme Court website at:

ISBA seeks members to highlight on Lawyers Care blog

Posted on September 22, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

In addition to performing quality legal work, many lawyers are hard at work in the community supporting a good cause, yet their contributions often go unrecognized., the ISBA’s website for the public, hosts a blog called “Lawyers Care.” In it, we share the philanthropic side of lawyers by featuring their community service, such as supporting a food and clothing drive, creating a scholarship program for a local school, or hosting an innovative fundraiser to help those in need.

Examples of previous Lawyers Care blogs can be found at If you want to share your story with the public, please send an email with a summary of your community work to Chris Bonjean at

President Felice receives NIU Law Alumnus of the Year Award

Posted on September 22, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA President Richard D. FeliceISBA President Richard D. Felice received the Alumnus of the Year Award from Northern Illinois University (NIU) College of Law on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at a ceremony at the University Club of Chicago. View photos from the event at

Felice (’79) was selected for the award based on outstanding achievements in his career, demonstrated service to the NIU College of Law, demonstrated service to his community, and professional integrity.

During his year as president, Felice is placing special emphasis on three projects. The first is the formation of a Task Force on the Impact of Law School Debt on the Future of the Profession to address the tremendous challenges facing new lawyers, including staggering law school debt and a stifling job market. The second initiative is the formation of a Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute Series, offering educational programs to solo and small firm practitioners in five settings throughout the state. The third program focuses on civics education. Working with the ISBA’s Law Related Education Committee, the organization is expanding its civics education programming to high school students and will also work with Illinois Judges Association on its “Courtroom in the Classroom” project.

Ethics Question of the Week: Can I contact former clients to tell them I've left firm?

Posted on September 18, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Q.  Can I contact former clients with whom I had an attorney-client relationship and tell them I left my firm?

A. Comment 4 to IRPC 7.3 does not prohibit an attorney from directly contacting former clients to inform them of the attorney’s departure or to solicit their employment.

Any individual planning to leave a firm should review the case of Dowd & Dowd, LTD. V. Gleason, 352 Ill. App. 3d 365 (1st Dist. 2004) which covers many aspects such as contacting prospective clients before one has actually left their firm and other fiduciary duties  For more information, see ISBA Advisory Opinion 12-14. 

ISBA members can browse past ISBA Ethics Opinions, access our Ethics Hotline, and other resources on the ISBA Ethics Page.

[DisclaimerThese questions are representative of calls received on the ISBA’s ethics hotline.  The information provided below is meant as an educational tool to highlight potentially applicable Illinois RPC or other ethics resources that might help the lawyer answer the question posed.  The information provided isn’t legal advice.  Because every situation is different, often complex, and the law is constantly evolving, you shouldn’t rely upon this general information without conducting your own research.]

The U.S. Supreme Court says ‘no’ to cell-phone searches incident to arrest

Posted on September 18, 2014 by Mark S. Mathewson

In Riley v. California, the Court established a rare bright-line rule under the Fourth Amendment when it declared that data searches of cell phones -- regardless of type -- are unlawful incident to arrest. David J. Robinson's article in the September Illinois Bar Journal analyzes Riley and provides guidance to practitioners and judges about how to deal with motions to exclude evidence collected before and after the high Court ruling. Read it here.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on September 18, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Slepicka v. Ill. Dept. of Public Health, Nationwide Financial v. Pobuda and Bruns v. City of Centralia and the criminal case People v. Perez.


Slepicka v. Illinois Department of Public Health

By Alyssa M. Reiter, Williams, Montgomery & John Ltd.

What is the remedy if administrative review is sought in the wrong circuit court? Here, the Court held that the remedy was for the action to be transferred to the correct district of the Appellate Court to review the merits.

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued an order from Springfield determining that Mary Slepicka was subject to involuntary discharge from her nursing home, which was located in Cook County.  Slepicka sought administrative review of that decision in the Sangamon County circuit court. The nursing home moved to dismiss or transfer for improper venue. The circuit court denied the motion and confirmed the Department’s decision.

The nursing home sought dismissal of Slepicka’s appeal. The Appellate Court, Fourth District, found that the circuit court had jurisdiction but that venue was improper. It vacated the circuit court judgment and remanded with directions that the action be transferred to Cook County circuit court to review the Department’s decision.