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Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Issued Thursday, November 29

Posted on November 29, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down nine opinions on Thursday, Nov. 29. The court determined that amendments to Supreme Court Rule 604(d) do not apply retroactively in People v. Easton, confronted whether a defendant who is able to retain counsel to prepare and file his post-conviction petition is entitled to any guaranteed level of assistance from that counsel in People v. Johnson, and articulated the contours of “waiver by conduct” in regard to appointed counsel for post-conviction petitions in People v. Lesley. The supreme court also determined that two corporate defendants were both liable in tort and their relative culpability was equal in Sperl v. Henry, opined that “transactional test” for res judicata should also be applied to the separate doctrine of the single refiling rule to determine whether two or more lawsuits assert the same cause of action in First Midwest Bank v. Cobo, and held that an injured worker was barred from intervening in her employer’s subrogation action brought against third-party tortfeasors in A&R Janitorial v. Pepper Construction Co. The supreme court also weighed in on statutory changes to the Illinois Pension Code and their impacts upon affected employees in Carmichael v. Laborers & Retirement Board Employees’ Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago, discussed the court’s jurisdiction, supervisory authority, and the framework for a circuit court to address the constitutionality of an Illinois statute in Gonzalez v. Union Health Service, Inc., and addressed judicial review of executive power in Gregg v. Rauner.

CLE: Technology and Business Planning for a Law Firm (Live Webinar)

Posted on November 29, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Simply fixing or replacing technology that breaks will never improve your practice. Most lawyers often feel technologically adrift although they have a general idea of problems they need to fix and new initiatives they want to launch. This lack of direction can be remedied with a technology plan. Don’t miss this online program on Dec. 18 that shows how to build a technology plan that identifies problems, addresses inefficiencies, and proactively improves your practice. A business plan also provides direction and continuity for your overall business objectives. Find out why every law firm needs a business plan and how to build one yourself.

Best Practice Tips: Providing Meaningful Feedback to Associate Attorneys

Posted on November 28, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the owner of an elder law firm in Jackson, Mississippi. There are three associate attorneys who have been with me less than five years. All three were hired directly out of law school. While I try to mentor and train each of the associates as needed in “real time,” I also conduct annual performance reviews with each associate and provide them with a written performance evaluation. I am getting frustrated as it seems that the feedback that I provide does not stick and they continue to make the same errors. I welcome any thoughts that you may have.

Famous Abraham Lincoln Portrait Unveiled at Daley Center in Chicago

Posted on November 28, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

A high-quality reproduction of a famous Abraham Lincoln photograph was unveiled Tuesday at the Daley Center in honor of the state’s bicentennial.

ISBA President James F. McCluskey participated in the ceremony, which was presided over by Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans. The ceremony was part of a statewide initiative to place framed photographs of the 16th U.S. president in courthouses in each of Illinois' 102 counties.

CLE: Family Law Update 2019—A French Quarter Festival

Posted on November 26, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The ISBA’s Family Law Update in the French Quarter is back. The conference is open to ISBA members and limited to the first 150 registrants.

Join us in New Orleans April 4-5, 2019, for this highly popular biennial event featuring two days of premium family law presentations, a complimentary reception to network with friends and colleagues, 12.25 hours of MCLE credit, and many opportunity to enjoy the area’s food and fun. Family law attorneys, general practitioners, and lawyers working in the child law area who attend this conference will better understand: the rights of unmarried people living together in Illinois; how to secure your fees as a family law practitioner; the caselaw updates and changes you need to be aware of; how to analyze a forensic mental health report; how judgment and bias are used throughout the decision-making process; the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act; how family law issues are impacted when individuals file for bankruptcy; how the newly revised IRC affects the practice of family law; how maintenance is calculated and what impacts the bottom line; the necessary evidence in presenting a child support hearing; and the science behind relocation. The conference closes with an interactive segment that lets you show off how well you know the Illinois Rules of Evidence and the Code of Civil Procedure.

Out on a Limb

Posted on November 26, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

A growing number of attorneys and judges who have struggled with mental illness and substance abuse are speaking out about their battles. In doing so, they are challenging misconceptions while promoting services such as the Illinois Lawyers' Assistance Program (LAP). The 2016 American Bar Association Hazelden Betty Ford Study on lawyer impairment mapped out the extent of the problem. The survey of 12,825 attorneys showed that 20.6 percent screened positive for alcoholism, 28 percent for depression, 19 percent for anxiety, and 23 percent for stress—all at higher rates than other professions.

For its December cover story, the Illinois Bar Journal spoke with several attorneys and judges who have wrestled with drug abuse and mental illness, but also sought assistance and treatment. While recovery is not easy, all say they are glad for taking that first step: Asking for help.

Spotlight on Pro Bono: The 17th Judicial Circuit Court’s Domestic Violence Pro Bono Order of Protection Project

Posted on November 26, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

By Wendy Hinton Vaughn

November is the time of year when we take time to reflect and give thanks for all the things for which we are grateful.  I am grateful for the innovative programs of the 17th Judicial Circuit’s Domestic Violence Coordinated Courts (DVCC) and wish to shine a light on the great work done by the Domestic Violence Pro Bono Order of Protection Project.

The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women has recognized the 17th Judicial Circuit’s DVCC as one of 13 national mentor courts.  The DVCC has developed a number of projects and practices designed to enhance informed judicial decision-making, hold perpetrators of violence accountable, and increase safety for survivors of abuse.  

Best Practice Tips: Feedback from Law Firm Clients

Posted on November 21, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the owner of a four-attorney estate planning firm in Charleston, West Virginia. I spend the majority of my time managing and developing the business, and very little time servicing clients. This has been intentional as I enjoy the business aspects of the practice more than providing legal services. I conduct comprehensive written and face-to-face performance reviews with my associates annually and in real time as needed. While the performance reviews include a performance rating category for client satisfaction, I have no real way of determining client satisfaction. Do you have any thoughts on how to measure this?

Injured, Insured, but not Protected

Posted on November 19, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Health Care Services Lien Act can complicate situations that involve injured patients, their insurance policies, hospital bills, and settlements. In November’s Illinois Bar Journal, Belleville attorney Daniel C. Katzman, who practices in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death, and medical/nursing home malpractice, provides an analysis of common scenarios involving the Lien Act and strategies for attorneys to pursue their injured client’s best interests.

For example, the Lien Act does not require health-care providers to bill health-insurance companies. But providers may do so through a contract known as a provider agreement. The terms of provider agreements are negotiated by the parties and can vary on a case-to-case basis. In a provider agreement, a health-care provider agrees to accept full payment from a health-insurance company for any covered service rendered to the company's insured. While the provider may receive pennies on the dollar in reimbursement, provider agreements benefit both parties in the form of reduced rates in exchange for increased patient volume. When evaluating a health-care provider's obligations, an attorney should examine the provider agreement to determine whether a health-care provider is required to bill the health-insurance company.

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