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Is a new public act retroactive or prospective?

Posted on August 9, 2012 by James R. Covington

OK, so the new public act is clear on when its effective date. Does it apply to your pending case? The Illinois Reference Bureau's Bill Drafting Manual has an excellent two-page summary of this issue here at pages 136 and 137.

Telephone scammers threaten consumers using names of Illinois law firms

Posted on August 9, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

Scammers claiming to be Illinois lawyers called people around the country this summer demanding immediate payment of bogus debts and threatening them with arrest. Find out more in the August Illinois Bar Journal.

ISBA raises issue of nonlawyer ownership of law firms before ABA House of Delegates

Posted on August 8, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

President Thies delivers his remarks in support of Resolution 10A before the ABA's House of Delegates.President John E. Thies presented ISBA’s position against changing ABA ethics guidelines to permit nonlawyer ownership of law firms and sharing of law firm fees with nonlawyers in debate before the ABA House of Delegates on Monday. The ISBA Board of Governors passed a resolution in support of retaining a previously-adopted ABA policy that disallows such arrangements. ISBA and the ABA Senior Lawyers Division were the lead sponsors of Resolution 10A in the House of Delegates.

Resolution 10A seeks to reaffirm existing ABA policy that dates from 2000 – the MacCrate Resolution. That followed from an effort by accounting firms to provide legal services to their clients.

These accounting firms were dismissive of our ethical rules and persuaded an ABA commission that we should abolish the Rule 5.4 prohibition against the sharing of legal fees with non-lawyers and non-lawyer ownership.

This was Multi-Disciplinary Practice, or “MDP”, and permitting it was described as a critical part of providing better service to clients – it was supposed to be “consumer” friendly.

In actuality, it was an attempt to pad the bottom line at the expense of client service and protection.

Read the full text of President Thies’ remarks here

Common drafting error

Posted on August 8, 2012 by James R. Covington

I discovered on Monday at the Illinois Legislative Reference Bureau that one of the most common drafting errors is to use “forego” when “forgo” should be used. A check with Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage confirms this.

According to Garner, “Forego means to go before. Forgo means to do without; to pass up voluntarily; waive; renounce.” (Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage, p. 371).

You learn something every day.

Best Practice: Should law firm owners and partners primary focus be as a business person or lawyer?

Posted on August 8, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am an attorney in Chicago. I am the sole owner of an estate planning practice consisting of 4 other attorneys, 4 paralegals, and 2 administrative support staff members. We have reached a size where I am having problems handling and balancing the demands of serving my clients and managing my firm. It seems I am working day and night and have no time for anything but work. I am frustrated and it is driving my crazy? I would appreciate any thoughts that you may have.

IBF to honor Schade at Gala 2012

Posted on August 7, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Rudy SchadeThe Illinois Bar Foundation will honor Rudolf G. Schade, Jr. of Cassiday Schade LLP at Gala 2012 on Oct. 19. The Gala will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. This year’s leadership includes John B. Simon of Jenner & Block and Todd A. Smith of Power, Rogers & Smith as Gala Chairs, as well as Perry J. Browder, of Simmons Firm and Peter J. Flowers of Foote, Meyers, Mielke & Flowers as Board Gala Chairs.

The night includes cocktails, live and silent auctions, a raffle, dinner & dancing and music by the Ken Arlen Orchestra.  To become a sponsor or purchase tickets, please call the IBF at 312.726.6072.

Our Thanks to the following Sponsors:


  • Jerome Mirza Foundation
  • The Simmons Firm

Live/Silent Auction Sponsor

  • Cassiday Schade, LLP

VIP Reception Sponsor

  • Russell K. Scott

Raffle Sponsor

  • Foote, Meyers, Mielke & Flowers

Wine Sponsor

  • ISBA Mutual Insurance Company

Champagne Sponsor

  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association

Martini Bar Sponsor

  • Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & Shevlin, Ltd.

Program Book Sponsor

  • Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.

Valet Sponsor

Illinois Lawyer Finder makes 659 referrals in July

Posted on August 6, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois State Bar Association’s Lawyer Finder Service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays. The Service makes referrals in a number of areas of law. For the month of July 2012 ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:

  • Administrative Law - 13
  • Animal Law - 3
  • Bankruptcy - 1
  • Business Law - 7                     
  • Civil Disputes - 54                  
  • Civil Rights - 17          
  • Collection - 34
  • Consumer Protection - 10
  • Contracts – 12
  • Criminal Law - 74
  • Education Law - 11
  • Elder law - 4
  • Employment Law - 88
  • Estate/Probate Law - 34
  • Family - 101
  • Government Benefits - 15
  • Health Law - 11
  • Immigration - 3
  • Insurance Disputes - 7
  • Intellectual Property - 4
  • Miscellaneous - 3
  • Municipal Law - 7
  • Personal Injury - 69
  • Real Estate - 55
  • Social Security - 16
  • Tax - 1
  • Workers Compensation - 5

These numbers do not include additional referrals made through the online Lawyer Finder service.

Want to be part of the ISBA Lawyer Finder Service?  Call (800) 252-8908 and ask for the Legal Department, or visit

Clients should call (800) 922-8757.

ABA Young Lawyers Division backs ISBA position on nonlawyer ownership of law firms

Posted on August 3, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA President John E. Thies debates before the ABA's YLD Assembly.Illinois State Bar Association President John E. Thies debated the merits of an ethics proposal that would allow nonlawyers to be owners of and share fees of law firms before the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division Assembly on Friday afternoon in Chicago. The ISBA Board of Governors passed a resolution in support of retaining a previously-adopted ABA policy that disallows such arrangements.

Thies debated former ABA President Tommy Wells on the issue. ISBA members Christopher Niro and ABA YLD Chair Michael G. Bergmann also spoke on behalf of the measure. The YLD Assembly voted 89-65 in support of ISBA's resolution. The issue is scheduled for consideration by the ABA House of Delegates on Monday, Aug. 6.

The resolution reaffirms the ABA policy – adopted in 2000 – that law firms shall not be owned by non-lawyers and legal fees shall not be shared with non-lawyers. Proposals that would change this policy have been circulated in connection with the work of the ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20.