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The Medical Cannabis Act and Illinois DUI law

Posted on March 5, 2014 by Mark S. Mathewson

For the first time, people can legally drive in Illinois with cannabis in their systems, as long as they aren't impaired. But the Medical Cannabis Act introduces inconsistencies into DUI law that are likely to inspire litigation. Here's an overview from the March Illinois Bar Journal.

Ethics Question of the Week: Can I represent a client in a field of law I'm not familiar with?

Posted on March 5, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Q. A client has asked me to handle her divorce, but I’ve never done one. Can I ethically represent her?

A. Lawyer competence to handle any given matter is addressed in RPC 1.1. Comment [2] provides that “a lawyer need not necessarily have special training or prior experience to handle legal problems of a type with which the lawyer is unfamiliar” and that “a lawyer can provide adequate representation in a wholly novel field through necessary study.” In addition, Comment [4] says that “a lawyer may accept representation where the requisite level of competence can be achieved by reasonable preparation.”  A novice lawyer could also associate with a lawyer of “established competence” in the field at issue in order to competently represent the client.

ISBA members can browse past ISBA Ethics Opinions at

CLE: DUI and Traffic Law Updates 2014

Posted on March 5, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Don’t miss this discussion in Fairview Heights on Friday, March 14th regarding the increasingly complex issues occurring in traffic law and DUI court, as well as the new case law and legislation mandated by the Illinois General Assembly! State’s attorneys, public defenders, judges, and attorneys practicing in the DUI and traffic courts – with all levels of experience – who attend this full-day seminar will better understand: the jury selection process in DUI and misdemeanor cases; how the traffic law arena is affected by the legalization of medical marijuana; the ethical obligations you have as a traffic law attorney; how new legislation has impacted the defense of Operating Under the Influence; and much more!

The program is presented by the ISBA Traffic Laws and Courts Section and qualifies for 5.50 hours MCLE credit, including 0.75 hour Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.

Best Practice: Lawyer, businessperson or both?

Posted on March 5, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am an attorney in Miami. I have been out of law school for five years. I worked with a small firm for a year and then went solo and have been doing contract work for other law firms for the past four years. For the past year I have been trying to get a position as an associate with a small firm - but have not had any success. Recently, I had an interview with a 2 attorney (2 partners in their early 70s) firm and I thought the interview went well - I believe that I impressed them with my legal knowledge and skills. However, I did not get the position. They advised me that they were looking for less of a lawyer and more of a business person. What am I doing wrong?

Illinois Supreme Court announces new Civil Justice Division

Posted on March 3, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced the creation of a Civil Justice Division within the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC), charged with supporting the Court’s multi-dimensional initiatives to improve access to justice throughout the state. In addition, Chief Justice Rita B. Garman has named Timothy W. Kelly of Bloomington as the next chairman of the Access to Justice Commission.

In 2012, the Court established an Access to Justice Commission to “promote, facilitate, and enhance equal access to justice with an emphasis on access to the Illinois civil courts and administrative agencies for all people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.”

The Commission, made up of dedicated volunteers, has made great strides in improving access for non-native English speakers and in standardizing various forms and procedures, making them more user-friendly for pro se litigants.

CLE: Litigating, Defending, and Preventing Employment, Housing, and Public Accommodation Discrimination Cases: Practice Updates and Tips Concerning the Illinois Human Rights Act – 2014

Posted on March 3, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Review the latest information in employment, housing, and public accommodation discrimination cases under the Illinois Human Rights Act with this informative presentation in Chicago on March 13th! [The seminar will also broadcast via the Internet as a live webcastfor those unable to attend live in Chicago.]

President Holderman speaks at Lake County Jefferson Inn of Court

Posted on February 28, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA President Paula H. Holderman was the dinner speaker at the Lake County Jefferson Inn of Court meeting in Lake Bluff on February 24, 2014.  Pictured are (from left) Inn President Greg Nikitas, Associate Judge Christy Bishop, President Holderman and Circuit Judge James Booras.

Chief Justice Garman announces screening committee to fill 11th Circuit vacancy

Posted on February 28, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Illinois Supreme Court announced Friday the formation of a judicial screening committee to help fill a vacancy for the Woodford County resident judge in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit.

The Circuit Court vacancy was created by the announced retirement of Judge John B. Huschen, effective March 31, 2014. Chief Justice Garman announced an application process for the vacancy on January 15. The only applicant is Associate Judge Charles M. Feeney of El Paso.

The committee will examine Judge Feeney's credentials for the Circuit Court position, seek public comment and interview the candidate. It will report its findings to Chief Justice Garman, and the Chief Justice will make a recommendation to the full Supreme Court. Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court is the sole appointing authority to fill interim judicial vacancies in the Illinois courts.

The appointee will serve until December 5, 2016, when the position will be filled by the 2016 General Election.

The screening committee consists of seven persons who reside in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. Four of the committee members are non-lawyers and three are lawyers.

The non-lawyer members of the committee are Eureka residents Randy Crump and Matt Smith, El Paso resident Linda Haas and Roanoke resident Robert Knepp.

The lawyer members of the committee are Guy Fraker of Bloomington, Ned Leiken of Minonk and James Stoller of El Paso.

Guy Fraker will serve as chairperson of the committee.

Register by March 4 for YLD Bean Bag Party and Tournament

Posted on February 28, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Please join us at the 7th Annual Bean Bag Tournament and show your support for the IBF/ YLD Children’s Assistance Fund. The Children’s Assistance Fund has distributed grants in excess of $285,000 over the past fifteen years, due to the widespread support of our donors and participation in events like the Bean Bag Tournament.

  • When:  Saturday, March 8, 2014, Noon - 4 p.m.
  • Where: Mahoney's Pub and Grille, 551 N. Ogden, Chicago, IL 
  • What:  Open bar, warm appetizers and an afternoon full of friends and competition!
  • Cost: $35.00 per person/per wristband or $100.00 per two-member team (team fee includes two wristbands and entry in the Bean Bag Tournament). You must be 21 or older to participate. 

Championship team will receive $350 and runner up will walk away with $150!

Register now! 

All teams must be registered by Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Wristbands can also be purchased online through March 4, or purchased at the door the day of the event. No refunds will be given after March 4.

Questions? Email Marron Mahoney, or Tony Bruno,