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ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of March 13, 2014

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. In this episode he covers IMDMA and life insurance (House Bill 5825), Guardianship for minors (House Bill 5686), UM/UIM arbitration (House Bill 5575), FOIA (House Bill 5875), IMDMA Rewrite (House Bill 1452), Victims’ Constitutional amendment (HJRCA 1) and Electronic voting in associations and condos (Senate Bill 3040). More information on each bill is available below the video.

That was the year that was: 2013 Supreme Court Rule changes

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Mark S. Mathewson

As Judge Barbara Crowder notes in the January issue of Trial Briefs, last year's supreme court rule changes were "not major." Then again, there was a little drama here and there. (Rule 138, anyone?)

If you're looking for a compendium of the 2013 changes, the good judge has written one. One nice touch is her organizational scheme, which groups the rules by topic, such as "the Internet is here to stay" and "Limited Scope Representation: Multiple rules allow counsel to assist litigants within a case." Read it here.

Gene Schwarm appointed to 5th District Appellate Court

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Hon. S. Gene SchwarmThe Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday the appointment of Chief Circuit Judge S. Gene Schwarm to the Appellate Court in the Fifth Judicial District. Chief Judge Schwarm will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Appellate Justice James M. Wexstten, effective January 29, 2014.

The appointment is effective April 1, 2014 and will expire December 5, 2016, when the position will be filled by the winner of the 2016 General Election

“I am honored to be selected to fill the vacancy in the Fifth District Appellate Court," Chief Judge Schwarm said. "My humble thanks go to Justice Lloyd Karmeier and the Supreme Court for giving me this opportunity.

"I am especially pleased to follow retiring Justice Jim Wexstten, an outstanding jurist and colleague."

St. Charles North High School wins ISBA Mock Trial Championship

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Hinsdale Central and Chicago Christian take 2nd, 3rd Place

St. Charles North High School, in St. Charles, placed first in the 32nd annual Illinois State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitational held at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign March 8 and 9, 2014.

Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale came in second place, and third place went to Chicago Christian High School in Palos Heights. Hinsdale Central also received the highest team average on the Written Law Exam which was administered in conjunction with the Invitational. Teams from 44 Illinois high schools traveled to Champaign to participate in the program. St. Charles North will represent Illinois at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Madison, Wisconsin.

“The mock trial competition lived up to its billing this year, with solid competition from throughout the State,” says Hon. Michael J. Chmiel, of Woodstock, chair of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Law Related Education for the Public, which conducts the program. “The student competitors were well-prepared and very civil, and all augurs well for the legal profession in the future.”

Young Lawyers thank sponsors for successful Bean Bag Tournament

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The ISBA and Young Lawyers Division would like to thank our 2014 sponsors and attendees, along with our host, Mahoney’s Pub & Grille, for making this year’s Bean Bag Tournament such a successful event!. View pictures from the event at

This year, we raised over $3,000 for the IBF/YLD Children’s Assistance Fund. The Children’s Assistance Fund provides funding to organizations throughout Illinois that provide legal assistance to children, open/maintain children’s waiting rooms in courthouses, work to reduce recidivism of juveniles, and/or work to reduce the incidents of domestic violence in families with children.

The Children’s Assistance Fund has distributed grants in excess of $285,000 over the past fifteen years, due, in large part, to the widespread support and participation in our annual fundraisers. Once again, thank you for your generosity.

YLD Bean Bag Tournament Sponsors

  • Russell K. Scott
  • Davi Law Group
  • Mahoney, Silverman & Cross

Ethics Question of the Week: What ethical issues can arise from using a listserve?

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Q. I am a solo practitioner who sometimes uses a legal listserve to ask questions about cases. What ethical issues may arise when I use a listserve?

A. Rule 1.6(a) states that “a lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b) or required by paragraph (c).” ISBA Professional Conduct Advisory Opinion 12-15 (as well as ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 98-411) discusses the use of listservs as a tool to further client interests as long as precautions are met (such as using hypothetical or abstract situations) to protect client confidentiality and identity and to recognize and guard against potential misuse by others.

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

Disclaimer. These 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.    

Best Practice: Law firm billing arrangements - flat fees

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing owner of a four attorney estate planning firm in Phoenix. We also have two paralegals, a receptionist, and an office manager. We have always billed our clients by the hour but have been considering switching to a flat rate billing arrangement. I would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Ask A Lawyer Day set for April 26

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Please consider volunteering to help the public with their legal questions and, at the same time, enhance the image of the profession.

Each year, to recognize and celebrate Law Day, the Illinois State Bar Association sponsors “Ask A Lawyer Day,” a day during which volunteers respond to telephone calls from the public and answer general legal questions free of charge. This is a state-wide public relations effort that receives considerable attention from the public and the media. 

“Ask A Lawyer Day” volunteer lawyers in Springfield will answer calls at the Illinois Bar Center offices at 424 South Second Street from 9 a.m.-noon.  Volunteer lawyers in the Chicago area, will volunteer in the Chicago Office, 20 North Clark Street, Suite 900, from 9 a.m.-noon.


  • Illinois Bar Center
  • 424 South Second Street
  • 9:00 a.m. – noon


  • ISBA Regional Office
  • 20 North Clark Street, Suite 900
  • 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 If you are interested in volunteering, please complete and return this form to Tracy Potter.  You can send it any of the following ways:

FAX: (217) 525-9063
PHONE: (800) 252-8908

Please let us know by April 4 if you would like to participate.