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McGimpsey appointed associate judge in DuPage County

Posted on December 6, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Alex F. McGimpsey, III as an associate judge of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. McGimpsey received his undergraduate degree in 1985 from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and his Juris Doctor in 1989 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. McGimpsey is currently affiliated with the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office in Wheaton.

The ISBA is looking for a freelance lawyer journalist

Posted on December 4, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

The ISBA is looking for a freelance writer or writers to produce the Illinois Bar Journal's monthly LawPulse legal news feature (five 800-word items) and a monthly 2,500-3,000 word lead article, which is usually the cover story. The strongest candidates will be true lawyer journalists -- with a JD and reporting experience -- who are excellent writers and have a history of meeting deadlines.

To get a sense of what we're looking for, read the cover story and LawPulse items in recent issues of the IBJ. As you'll see, you'll be using a journalist's interviewing skills and transparent style to produce practice-management and other practice-oriented articles. You do not need to be the lawyer "expert," but you must be able to interview subject-matter authorities and translate what they tell you into engaging "news you can use" for our lawyer audience.

What's in it for you? You get to be your own boss and work from home or wherever you like (you'll be an independent contractor). You'll have a high-profile role in the ISBA's flagship publication. We pay competitive freelance rates.

Interested? Send a resume and writing samples by Monday, December 19, to Mark Mathewson at mmathewson@isba.org.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court civil opinions

Posted on December 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Forest Preserve District v. First National Bank, In re Haley D., Crossroads Ford Truck Sales, Inc. v. Sterling Truck Corp., Nowak v. City of Country Club Hills and Reliable Fire Equipment Co. v. Arredondo.

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County v. First National Bank

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

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court criminal opinions

Posted on December 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the criminal cases People v. Hammond, People v. Gutman, People v. Villa, People v. Snyder and People v. Johnson. Click here to read about Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Forest Preserve District v. First National Bank, In re Haley D., Crossroads Ford Truck Sales, Inc. v. Sterling Truck Corp., Nowak v. City of Country Club Hills and Reliable Fire Equipment Co. v. Arredondo.

People v. Hammond

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

 Hammondinvolves consolidated cases dealing with the power and authority of probation officers.  Two particular issues were considered: (1) whether a probation officer has the authority to file a petition charging a violation of probation, and (2) whether a State’s Attorney may overrule a probation officer’s decision to offer intermediate sanctions for a technical violation of probation pursuant to 730 ILCS 5/5-6-4(i).

The Court concluded that a probation officer’s filing of a petition charging a violation of probation was proper and did not violation separation of powers principles.  The State still bears the burden of proving the violation, and the court must still impose an appropriate sanction for the violation, if proved. 

ISBA Statehouse review for the week of Dec. 1

Posted on December 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers: medical records of deceased family members (Public Act 97-623), mortgage foreclosure and abandoned residential property (Senate Bill 2534) and public administrator records (Senate 2536). Information on each bill is available below the video.

 

When civil union partners don't have a will...

Posted on November 30, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

...there is still a way, because the Illinois Probate Act applies to "unionized" couples, Joanna M. Lekkas explains in the latest ISBA Trusts and Estates newsletter.

"Some of the most important rights afforded spouses under the Illinois Probate Act include the right to receive a spousal award, primary preference in nomination as representative of the deceased spouse’s estate, and the right to either half or the entire estate of the deceased spouse, depending on if the deceased spouse has children," Lekkas writes.

Of course, Probate Act protection is no substitute for a professionally drafted will and other good estate planning, she continues. "[I]t is important to keep in mind that only six states recognize these unions. Therefore, estate planning for disability and death remain important tools for same-sex couples." Read her article and find out more.

Civil Union and Employment Discrimination programs to air on Illinois Law

Posted on November 30, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Appearing on “Understanding the New Illinois Civil Union Act” will be (from left) Jennifer Shaw, program moderator Nancy K. McKenna, Richard Wilson and Rachael N. Toft.

“Understanding the New Illinois Civil Union Act,” and “Protecting Against Employment Discrimination” will air on Chicago Access Network Television, Channel 21 in Chicago, on Tuesdays in December at 10 p.m. These half-hour programs are presented by Illinois Law, a cable production of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).

“Understanding the New Illinois Civil Union Act” will air on December 6 and 20 at 10 p.m. Appearing on the show are Jennifer Shaw, of Jennifer A. Shaw, PC, in Edwardsville; program moderator Nancy K. McKenna, a Chicago lawyer; Richard Wilson, of Law Offices of Richard A. Wilson, PC, in Chicago; and Rachael N. Toft, of Law Offices of Rachael Toft, in Chicago.  Wilson and Shaw are members of the ISBA Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee.

Best Practice: Reducing bar complaints and improving client service

Posted on November 30, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm has 14 attorneys. Just this year three of our more senior attorneys have had bar complaints filed against them. One has been disciplined by the bar. How can we improve this situation?

A. Hopefully you have the right attorneys on the bus and they actually care and see the importance and value of client service. If not - an educational program for the entire firm combined with a coaching program for the offenders, if needed, might be a starting point.

Here are a few other suggestions:

  1. Improve client selection. Learn to recognize problem clients and say no to some and do not represent them.
  2. Use engagement letters as a tool to manage client expectations. Under promise and over deliver.
  3. Ramp up your communications and communicate, communicate, communicate with clients as well as office team members. Communications problems with clients - both initially and later on in the engagement - is the root cause of most problems.
  4. Insure that you have effective office systems for managing client work production, conflicts of interest, calendar and docket control, and overall case management.

If all else fails you may have to roll up your sleeves that deal with a few problem partners.

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