Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
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A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership
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Solo and Small Firm Conference underway in Itasca

Posted on September 13, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The exhibitor hall in the atrium of the Westin Chicago Northwest.The Annual Solo & Small Firm Conference is underway in Itasca. This event features the ISBA's first app, available for free download at Online registration is closed, but onsite registration is still available. Find out more about the conference at www.isba/soloconference.

Follow along from your office on Twitter via the hashtag #isbassf2012

ISBA Election to fill 9 Board seats, 127 Assembly seats

Posted on September 13, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The ISBA Election in the Spring of 2013 will elect 9 seats on the Board of Governors, 39 seats on the Assembly for Cook County and 88 seats on the Assembly for Downstate. Nominating petitions may be filed no earlier than Wednesday, January 2, 2013 and must be filed by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at either the Illinois Bar Center, 424 South 2nd Street, in Springfield or the ISBA Chicago Office at 20 S. Clark Street, 9th Floor, Chicago. Petitions must be physically submitted with original signatures. Petitions submitted via email or fax will not be accepted.

Find out more in the 2013 ISBA Notice of Election and at

ISBA Statehouse Review for the Week of Sept. 12

Posted on September 13, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. In this episode he covers the Mechanics Lien Act, Medical Marijuana and Juvenile homicide offenders. More information on each bill is available below the video.


Mechanics Lien Act. House Bill 3636 (Burke, D-Evergreen Park; Mulroe, D-Chicago) does three things in response to the LaSalle Bank National Association vs. Cypress Creek opinion. (1) Requires that the owner or interested person’s demand for suit to be commenced or answered within 30 days must contain this language in at least 10-point, boldface type: “Failure to respond to this notice within 30 days after receipt, as required by Section 34 of the Mechanics Lien Act, shall result in the forfeiture of the referenced lien.” 

(2) Defines a “lien creditor” as someone who does work or furnishes material under this Act. A lien creditor is preferred over other encumbrances except that previous encumbrances are preferred only to the extent of the value of the land at the time the contract was made for the improvements, and each lien creditor is preferred to the value of all later improvements regardless of whether the lien creditor provided those improvements. 

Bishop appointed associate judge in 19th District

Posted on September 13, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that Christen L. Bishop, received most of the votes cast by the circuit judges in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit and is declared to be appointed to the office of associate judge.

Ms. Bishop received her undergraduate degree in 1991 from the University of Illinois and her Juris Doctor in 1994 from the University of Illinois. Ms. Bishop is currently affiliated with the Lake County State's Attorney's Office in Waukegan.

Looking for a decedent's social security number? Try this

Posted on September 12, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

Veteran ISBA member Paul Meints has a great tip for anyone looking for the social security number of someone who has been dead for a number of years. "[Y]ou might start by looking at," where you can do an SSN search, he writes in the latest ISBA Trusts and Estates newsletter, which is available to all section members.

"You will have to subscribe to to obtain the SSN and related information of a decedent," he writes. "This site does have limitations regarding obtaining a SSN and you cannot obtain a SSN from this site for a person who died within the last 10 years." But he says, it's a place to start. You'll find it here.

Best Practice: Job description for a law firm bookkeeper

Posted on September 12, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of a five attorney firm in Chicago. Including staff we have a total of 13 people working at the firm. As we have grown our approach to handling billing and accounting has been piecemeal. We have a combination of several people handling various tasks including a couple of outsourced vendors as well. Frankly it is a mess. I want to restructure and consolidate all the tasks and responsibilities into one bookkeeper position. Do you have a job description that would help guide me in my search?

A. Here is a job description that might help get your started.

Position Summary

The primary function of this position is to perform the billing, bookkeeping and accounting functions of the firm. This position requires an experienced and accomplished person with a strong bookkeeping and computer background. The position requires skills and experience in bookkeeping, accounting, law firm billing and QuickBooks software as well as Microsoft Office Products. The position requires experience in a law or other professional service firm environment.

Reporting Relationship

This position reports to the firm owner.

President Thies responds to warning of weekly federal court closings

Posted on September 11, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The following is ISBA President John E. Thies' response to Chief Judge Holderman's letter on the possibility of weekly federal court closings due to budget cuts. ISBA members are urged to join President Thies in this effort by contacting their representatives in Congress. Contact information for Illinois' Congressional delegation can be found at

Dear Chief Judge Holderman:

I appreciate the opportunity to respond on behalf of the Illinois State Bar Association to your September 4, 2012, letter detailing the perilous situation confronting the federal courts in the absence of positive budgetary intervention by the Congress.

You asked about our views on how our lawyer members and their clients would be impacted if the U.S. Court for the Northem District of Illinois is forced to drastically diminish its operations. I want to focus my response on the effect such action would have on our clients - the parties in civil actions and the individuals involved in criminal prosecutions. It is they who would be most affected by the interruption of court services.

CLE: The Basics of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted on September 10, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Get the introductory information you need to better serve your clients that are facing an Americans with Disabilities Act case – from the important judicial decisions that have affected the Act, to the emerging issues arising under the Act, to the professional responsibility problems that can arise when representing ADA clients. General practitioners and civil rights attorneys will leave the seminar with a better understanding of the following: the employment rights of disabled individuals (Title I); the rights of disabled persons who use government-funded services and programs (Title II); the regulations governing public accommodations for persons with disabilities (Title III); the various U.S. Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit decisions that have affected the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the ongoing issues – such as web accessibility and pre-employment medical inquiries – that are arising under ADA.

The program, which takes place in Chicago on September 28, 2012, qualifies for 3.25 hours MCLE credit, including .50 hour PMCLE (subject to approval) and is presented by the ISBA Standing Committee on Disability Law.

Can’t attend the live program in Chicago?Then join us via web! This program will broadcast live over the Internet so that attorneys can attend remotely.

Click here for more information and to register for the CHICAGO PROGRAM.

ISBA Member Update with President John E. Thies - Free CLE

Posted on September 10, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA President John E. Thies is proud to announce a new member benefit - 15 hours of free CLE each year for ISBA members.


Find out more at