Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
ISBA Mutual Lawyers Malpractice Insurance
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A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership
Free CLE
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CLE: 40 Hour Mediation/Arbitration Training

Posted on August 27, 2012 by Chris Bonjean
Now Approved as a 40 Hour Mediation Training Program of the Cook County Law Division

Mediation is designed to resolve differences both in and out of the courts. It requires a very different mindset than courtroom litigation. Join us in Chicago on September 10th for this week-long mediation training and learn how to resolve conflicts in a non-adversarial, non-confrontational manner, allowing peaceful resolutions between parties.

The program is taught by Richard Calkins and Fred Lane—two nationally recognized mediators, authors and educators. Until 20 years ago, both Mr. Calkins and Mr. Lane were well-known and highly regarded litigators. Since then, however, they have successfully mediated over 5,000 cases.

The program qualifies for 40.0 hours MCLE credit, including 40.0 hour Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (PMCLE subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.

Chief Judge announces 2 finalists for DuPage associate judge vacancy

Posted on August 24, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Chief Judge John T. Elsner has announced that following the Aug. 23 meeting of the Circuit Judges of the 18th Judicial Circuit, Robert G. Gibson and Jeffrey S. MacKay have been selected as finalists for associate judge. This vacancy was created by the retirement of Associate Judge Cary B. Pierce.

Gibson graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1983. Judge Gibson was appointed a Circuit Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court effective Aug. 2, 2010 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Circuit Judge Perry R. Thompson.

MacKay graduated from IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1992. He is currently an associate with the law firm of Ekl, Williams and Provenzale. MacKay is an active member of the DuPage County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of August 23

Posted on August 23, 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 Health Care Services Lien Act, Personal property exemptions and trusts, Child-support enforcement (Public Act 97-994 and Public Act 97-1029), Sanctions for visitation violations, Domestic violence form, Adoption and Article 9 of the UCC. More information on each bill is available below the video.

Register now for Fred Lane's Trial Techniques Institute

Posted on August 23, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The Fall Semester of Fred Lane's ISBA Trial Technique Institute begins Sept. 4 at the ISBA's Chicago Regional Office. Listen to Fred discuss the class and find out more below the video.

More information is available at

Register online at

Perception is reality: recusal and judicial campaign contributions

Posted on August 23, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

An ISBA special committee is exploring the role of campaign contributions in judicial elections and the perception that they influence judicial decision-making -- and considering whether recusal standards should be changed to address that perception. Find out more in the September Illinois Bar Journal.

Best Practice: Admitting new law firm partners

Posted on August 22, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our law firm is located in San Antonio, Texas. We have a total of 18 attorneys which includes me and two other equity owners that founded the firm and contributed capital, three equity partners that were made partner that did not contribute any capital, two non-equity partners, and 10 associates. The original three partners control the firm and make all of the decisions with little involvement or input from the others. They are not provided with financial statements or reports. The original three partners bring in virtually all of the business. We are faced with some hard decisions concerning partnership admission - non-equity to equity, associates to non equity, etc. Our compensation cost for attorneys is eating away at our earnings for attorneys that are worker bees and don't bring in any business. Your thoughts?

A. You may want to ask yourselves whether you want employees or partners. It sounds like the other three equity partners are not part of the inner circle and are not really functioning as part of the partnership. What are the criteria for becoming an equity partner? Is client development part of those criteria? Should they contribute capital? If they are not adding value to the firm - growth - you are diluting the earnings pool and reducing the size of the pie for yourselves. Personally, I think in a firm your size criteria for becoming an equity partner should, among other things, include client development and a capital contribution. They should have some skin in the game, contribute capital, and signup for their share of the liabilities. I also believe they should then be included in the inner circle.

"In the instant case"

Posted on August 21, 2012 by James R. Covington

This morning I was reading a petition that had been filed in the appellate court and kept stumbling over the phrase “the instant case.” What? Did the writer mean “this case?”

Steven Stark is his excellent book Writing to Win wonders if the phrase “in the instant case” means, “if you mix powder with milk, you get a case.”

Not to get my knickers in a knot here, but what’s wrong with “this case?” Just as silly to me are the phrases “the case at bar” or “the case at hand.”

“This” is a useful and accurate word. You use it all the time in casual conversation. Don’t be afraid of it.  

CLE: Child Custody and the Military Family

Posted on August 21, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Join us in Chicago on September 7th for a better understanding of how military service impacts the intact family, as well as the insights you need on child custody considerations in military service cases. Child law attorneys, military lawyers, and family law practitioners who attend this seminar will better understand the role that the military service plays in family law cases; get helpful information regarding the benefits available to service members and their families; discover how service-related disabilities – such as post traumatic stress disorder – can affect parenting and custody issues; learn the methodology of a custody evaluation; and receive best practice tips for representing service members in the family law courts.

The program – which qualifies for 6.5 hours MCLE credit – is sponsored by the ISBA Family Law Section andtheISBA Standing Committee on Military Affairs.

Click here for more information and to register.

ISBA Member Update with President John E. Thies

Posted on August 20, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

President John E. Thies' first ISBA Member Update is an introduction and forecast for his presidential year.

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of August 16

Posted on August 16, 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 Radon Resistant Construction Act, Mechanics Lien Act, Trust modernization I, Trust modernization II, Order of protection and Child support and dissipation claims. More information on each bill is available below the video.

Radon Resistant Construction Act. Public Act 97-953 (McAsey, D-Lockport; Collins, D-Chicago) creates the Radon Resistant Construction Act. It requires all new residential construction include passive radon resistant construction. "New residential construction" is any original construction of a single-family home or a dwelling containing two or fewer apartments, condominiums, or townhouse. "Passive radon resistant construction" includes an installed pipe that relies solely on the convective flow of air upward for soil-gas depressurization and may consist of multiple pipes routed through conditioned space from below the foundation to the roof above. Effective June 1, 2013.