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A Fresh Look at Supervisory Orders

Posted on July 23, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court interprets its supervisory authority broadly and holds that it is “unlimited in extent and hampered by no specific rules or means for its exercise.” Yet, historically, the court has used its supervisory powers only regarding issues brought to the court’s attention in petitions for leave to appeal (“PLAs”) where the court can order relief without full briefing, oral argument, or issuance of an opinion. 

But recently, the court has been willing to exercise its supervisory power outside of the traditional context of PLAs. Examples include removing a judge for alleged judicial bias and misconduct, reinstating a summary judgment order vacated by the trial court on an improper basis, and ordering the appellate court to vacate an injunction. 

ISBA Board Vacancies Filled at Board of Governors Meeting

Posted on July 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The ISBA Board of Governors met on Friday, July 20. At the meeting, the Board filled the Area IV (Circuits 10, 14, and 15) and Under 37 in Cook County seats on the Board of Governors. The results of the elections to fill these leadership positions are below.

Board of Governors

  • Area IV (Circuits 10, 14, & 15): Michael McCuskey, Lacon
  • Under 37 in Cook County: Daniel Saeedi, Chicago


U.S. Attorney's Office Seeks Assistant U.S. Attorneys

Posted on July 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The U.S. Attorney's Office Northern District of Illinois is accepting applications for assistant United States attorney openings in its Civil Division in Rockford.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least two years post-J.D. legal experience. U.S. citizenship is required.

Preferred qualifications include excellent academics, significant litigation experience, civil law experience, strong legal writing skills, and a demonstrated commitment to public service.

Amended Illinois Supreme Court Rule Requires Additional Phrase for All Civil Summons

Posted on July 19, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

A recently-amended Illinois Supreme Court Rule requires the following language to be added to all civil summons:

“E-filing is now mandatory for documents in civil cases with limited exemptions. To e-file, you must first create an account with an e-filing service provider. Visit to learn more and to select a service provider. If you need additional help or have trouble e-filing, visit or talk with your local circuit clerk's office.”

The language, "or talk with your local circuit clerk's office" was added to the Rule on July 19. The amended Rule takes effect immediately. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Structure and Elevating Associates to Partnership

Posted on July 19, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I started my firm as a solo practitioner nine years ago in New Orleans. My practice focuses on maritime defense litigation. Over the years I have added associates and currently I have six associates working for me. I am overwhelmed with work – from the legal work that I am doing in addition to business development and firm administration. My thought is that I should consider restructuring the firm by making some of my associates partners so I can offload and share some of the administrative responsibilities. I would like your thoughts. What are other firms in my situation doing?

Illinois Bar Foundation Distributes ‘Access to Justice' Grants to 33 Illinois Legal Aid Non-Profits

Posted on July 18, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) has announced the recipients of its “Access to Justice” grants, which will be distributed to nonprofit legal aid organizations statewide.

The 2018 Illinois Bar Foundation grant recipients are as follows:

Pinckneyville Police Officer Receives Law Enforcement Award from Illinois State Bar Association

Posted on July 18, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Pinckneyville Police Officer James Holder received a Law Enforcement Award from the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) on July 17 during a Pinckneyville Police Pension Board meeting. ISBA 2nd Vice President Dennis Orsey presented the award.

The Law Enforcement Award recognizes sworn law enforcement officers for conduct that promotes justice and to distinguish those individuals whose service to the public brings honor and respect to the entire criminal justice system. 

NIU Law Students to Represent Prisoners in Federal Court This Fall

Posted on July 17, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Northern Illinois University law students will soon have another opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience when they represent prisoners in federal court this fall.

The NIU College of Law and the P. Michael Mahoney (Rockford) Chapter of the Federal Bar Association recently announced their partnership and launch of the Prisoners’ Rights Program.

Is It Time to Define ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’?

Posted on July 17, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Illinois is one of only 10 states that do not define "reasonable doubt" for juries.

Illinois courts have a well-established precedent to refrain from defining for juries what "beyond a reasonable doubt" means. The principle also is baked into the Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions-Criminal, which informs trial courts to not provide a definition instruction, stating: "reasonable doubt is a term which needs no elaboration and we have so frequently discussed the futility of attempting to define it that we might expect the practice to be discontinued."