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Quick take on Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinion on Chicago election case

Posted on September 7, 2012 by Chris Bonjean


Jackson v. The Board of Election Commissioners of the City of Chicago

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

Carmelita Earls and her husband obtained homestead exemptions on three properties in Cook County. Preparatory to filing to run for Alderman, Earls checked with the Indebtedness Check Unit of the City of Chicago Department of Revenue and was told that she owed no outstanding debt to the City. Shortly after, the Assessor's office challenged two of the homestead exemptions. Earls then promptly executed waivers of those exemptions. An objection was raised to Earls' candidacy, in which it was contended that Earls was in arrears in payment of taxes or other indebtedness to the City. 

Liability Minute: Court Rejects the Fiduciary Duty Exception

Posted on September 7, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Two recent cases out of the First District of the Appellate Court in Illinois have bolstered the right of attorneys to assert the attorney client and work product privileges to withhold documents in the context of a malpractice claim against them. In Garvey v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP, 2012 Ill. App. LEXIS 132; 966 N.E. 2d 523 (1st Dist. Mar. 1, 2012) and MDA City Apartments, LLC v. DLA Piper LLP (US), 2012 Ill. App. LEXIS 201 (1st Dist. Mar. 22, 2012), the Court rejected the application of the “fiduciary-duty” exception to the attorney client and work product privileges. The opinions give instruction as to the underlying facts and factors which will frame and preserve an attorney’s asserted privilege as against his or her former client.

Today is final day to register online for Solo & Small Firm Conference - ISBA members save $75

Posted on September 7, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois State Bar Association's 8th Annual Solo & Small Firm Conference returns to Chicagoland Sept. 13-15 at the Westin Northwest Chicago in Itasca. Online registration closes today (Sept. 7) - ISBA members register today to save $75 off the onsite fee. Earn up to 15 hours of MCLE credit, including all 6 hours of PMCLE credit.

Top 10 Reasons To Attend This Year’s Conference

  1. Networking with like-minded peers from across the state!
  2. Crowd favorite program Gizmos & Gadgets returns
  3. Basic and advanced Fastcase legal research training
  4. New location in Itasca, just northwest of Chicago
  5. Individual counseling on how to market your firm
  6. Mobile Device App to put Conference info you need at your fingertips
  7. Comedians-at-Law at Friday night social event
  8. Plenary speaker Todd Winegar's Trials of the Century Overview program
  9. New 4th track of programming – Practice Fundamentals
  10. 15 HRS MCLE/ 6 HRS PMCLE credit available

Learn more and register today at

Today is final day for reduced price registration for Race Judicata; event now in Arvey Field

Posted on September 7, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois Judges Association and Women’s Bar Association of Illinois are teaming up for three times the fun at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) 19th annual Race Judicata Sprint for Justice 5K Run/Walk. This fundraising event takes place on Sept. 13 at in Chicago’s Grant Park. Due to the damage caused to Upper Hutchinson Field by Lallapalooza the Chicago Park District has moved the event to Arvey Field. Arvey Field is located south of Lower Hutchinson Field. Click here for a map that shows the new location.

T-shirts will be provided for team members. All proceeds from Race Judicata go to the general operating costs of CVLS, which works to provide legal services to the poor and working poor of Chicago. The three associations will host a tent that will serve as the main gathering point for ISBA, IJA and WBAI members. Food and water will be available at the tent. The entry fee is $33 through Sept. 7. Register under the team name IJA.WBAI.ISBA at

Just The Beginning Foundation to offer free CLE at Annual Conference

Posted on September 7, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The Just The Beginning Foundation, ISBA's Law and Leadership partner, is offering free CLE credits at its 20th Anniversary Conference "Reaching Back, Lifting Up." Each panel (list below) awards between .50 and .75 Illinois Professional Responsibility credits. The conference will be held Sept. 21-22 at the Chicago Marriott, 540 N. Michigan Ave. Click here to register.

IJA President lauds judges for ISBA activity

Posted on September 7, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Illinois Judges Association (IJA) President Rita M. Novak has announced that 90 judges have been appointed to committees of the Illinois State Bar Association by its new President John E. Thies.

Judge Novak, an Associate Judge from Cook County, pointed to Illinois judges continuing commitment to the betterment of the legal profession. She said: “It is difficult for both lawyers and for judges to find the extra time, in addition to their already demanding jobs, to be part of the larger profession. But that is our responsibility. I am proud of the commitment of Illinois’ judges to our state bar association.”

Among those serving on ISBA committees are Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, of Nashville, who is a member of the Bench and Bar Section Council.

Many judges have committed to leadership positions in the ISBA. Hon. Stephen Pacey, of Paxton, is Treasurer of the 33,000-member organization. Judge Pacey, along with the Hon. Russell Hartigan of Cook County, also serves on the ISBA Board of Governors. Both men also perform other committee work for the ISBA. The 27-member Board of Governors oversees the operations and management of the ISBA, subject to policies set by the ISBA Assembly.

Numerous judges also serve on the ISBA Assembly, which is the supreme policy making body of the Association, with 201 lawyer or judge members elected on a pro rata basis from the judicial circuits.

Writing agreements clients can understand

Posted on September 6, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

In the latest issue of ISBA's The Corporate Lawyer, Aurora lawyer Christine M. Kieta expresses a sentiment that would surely warm the heart of Jim Covington, ISBA's clear-writing authority: "[M]y favorite part of being an attorney is writing agreements that clients can understand."

Kieta describes three strategies for making agreements more clear to lay readers. Among other things, she understands the importance of good document design, telling lawyers to "break up documents so that the reader can digest them in small portions. Expertly crafted point headings serve as lamps along a hallway giving light to each section in the contract." Read and heed her good advice.

Best Practice: Selling your law firm

Posted on September 5, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a sole practitioner in Bloomington, Illinois. My practice is a general practice and most of my clients are either individuals or small businesses. I have one legal assistant and one paralegal that work for me. I am 62 and am starting to think about what to do with my practice and what I need to be thinking about concerning selling my practice. I would be interested in your suggestions.

A. I would start by asking yourself when you actually want to retire or quit. Do you really want to stop practicing law or do you want to work forever? Over two-thirds of the solo and small firm lawyers that I speak with advise me that they want to practice forever - maybe not full throttle - but on a continued but scaled back schedule. Review Rule 1.17 - Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct to insure that you understand the method and the restrictions involved in sale of a law practice. If you want to continuing practicing determine whether selling your law practice is your best option given Rule 1.17. Some of our clients are exploring other options including bringing in other attorneys and forming partnerships or merging with other firms.

If you determine that selling the practice is the route you want to go here are a few ideas to begin readying it for sale:

Legal Tech in the Blogosphere: Virtual lawyering and ethics - Are they compatible?

Posted on September 5, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Many lawyers, particularly young parents, have fantasized about being able to sit at a computer at home and answer clients' legal questions over the internet.  It is therefore, no surprise to learn that those internet-based law practices already exist. Stephanie Kimbro, for example, maintains a web page which identifies her as a member of Burton Law Firm, LLC, "A virtual law firm offering online unbundling and traditional full service representation in North Carolina and Ohio." She has even named her blog, Virtual Lawyering. Similarly, Richard Granat, who publishes the e-Lawyering blog, operates, a Maryland virtual law firm, from his home in Florida. One big challenge for these and other lawyers who use the internet, with its global reach, as their primary method of practicing law, is satisfying the ethical requirements of local authorities. Both of these lawyers clearly identify themselves as the provider of legal services and the nature and limits of the legal services that they offer. At least one well known legal media consultant, Robert Ambrogi, considers them to be ethical users of the internet.  

Bovard appointed associate judge in 5th Circuit

Posted on September 4, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court announced Monday that the Fifth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Mark E. Bovard as an associate judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Bovard received his undergraduate degree in 1994 from Eastern Illinois University in
Charleston and his Juris Doctor in 1997 from Indiana University. Mr. Bovard is currently affiliated with Heller, Holmes & Assoc., P.C. in Mattoon.