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Shining Moonlight on Witness Testimony

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Flawed witness testimony is as old as the notion of justice itself. A witness may have unquestionable integrity, but his memories and perspectives may be incomplete or incorrect. In his August Illinois Bar Journal column, retired circuit court judge Ron Spears examines Abraham Lincoln’s famous almanac trial for the lessons it reveals about flawed witnesses. Spears also discusses how discoveries in neuroscience are adding to our understanding of human memory and eyewitness identification. 

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, August 9

Posted on August 10, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Thursday, August 9. The supreme court addressed the issue of whether the lower court erred when it terminated a father’s parental rights on the grounds that he was an unfit person under the Adoption Act.

In re N.G., a minor, 2018 IL 121939

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC 

In a 4-3 decision of the Illinois Supreme Court, the majority’s expansive view of the judiciary’s obligation to right a constitutional wrong clashes with the dissent’s adherence to judicial restraint. The supreme court ruled that a circuit court cannot terminate parental rights on the basis of a parent’s felony criminal conviction, where the conviction was based on a statute later deemed unconstitutional on its face.

CLE: All the Queen's Horses - The $53 Million Question: Who's Responsible for Finding Fraud?

Posted on August 10, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

On Feb. 14, 2013, Rita Crundwell, former comptroller for the city of Dixon, Ill., was sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison for stealing more than $53 million from the city. Crundwell’s crime went on record as the largest municipal fraud in U.S. history. Just as shocking as the amount stolen from this small Illinois town was the fact that Crundwell engaged in her scheme to pillage Dixon for 20 years before being discovered. Crundwell's fraud once again focused an unflattering spotlight on the accounting profession and the role of the audit. The relevance of the audit has been in question since the uncovering of massive corporate frauds dating back to Worldcom and Enron. Subsequent to Crundwell's conviction, the city of Dixon sued its auditors, accountants and bank, settling their claim against them for $40 million.

Best Practice Tips: Firm Administrator vs. Director of Administration or Chief Operating Officer

Posted on August 8, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Our firm is a 14-attorney firm in south Florida. I am the senior member of a three-member executive committee. Our firm is in the second generation of partners. The founders retired five years ago. Upon their retirements, we changed our governance from a managing partner to an executive committee model supplemented with an office administrator – some refer to the position as the office manager. Our executive committee model has worked relatively well. The administrator who we hired five years ago is still in place, but we are not satisfied with his performance. We believe that this is in part due to the fact that our expectations have changed. When we hired him, we thought that we needed an office administrator primarily to manage the office staff, billing, and the bookkeeping. So we hired an administrator who had an associate degree in accounting and had worked as an office manager in an eight-attorney firm for two years. He has done a good job managing the staff, billing, and the bookkeeping. However, we have now discovered that we want more – we want executive-level leadership. We want someone who is respected by all the attorneys and can:

Lawyer Referral Service Makes More than 800 Referrals in July

Posted on August 7, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

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 2018 there were more than 800 referrals given.

Here are the results for July 2018:

Illinois Supreme Court Adopts Rules for Debt Collection Civil Suits, Identity Theft Recourse

Posted on August 7, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court recently adopted new rules that establish a more stringent process for debt collection companies to file civil cases, allow the court to more easily dismiss cases filed by those companies, and establish a process for purported victims of identity theft to contest liability. 

Illinois Supreme Court Rules 280-280.5 go into effect Oct. 1.

Rules 280 and 280.1 define applicability and definitions of legal terms for civil action. Rule 280.2 establishes a uniform affidavit that courts will accept to identify basic information in civil complaints filed by debt collection companies.

Google Street View and Opinions

Posted on August 7, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Attorneys defending a village against a sidewalk slip-and-fall case are caught off guard when the plaintiff produces images from Google Map’s Street View allegedly showing the sidewalk had been in poor condition for years prior to the plaintiff’s fall. If the court accepts the images, the plaintiff has a much stronger case that the village had constructive notice and plenty of time to make the repairs before the plaintiff fell. But do the images actually prove anything at all?

CLE: Family Law Update 2018

Posted on August 7, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Join us Sept. 14 in Chicago for an in-depth look at a number of key changes to the family law arena, including the litigation updates that may impact your next client.

Family law practitioners, child law attorneys, and civil practice lawyers with all levels of practice experience who attend this seminar will better understand: how to apply the Illinois Rules of Evidence and the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure to your family law litigation case; the judicial perspective on proper pleadings; how to apply equitable remedies to a family law case; the impact of normalizing income as part of the valuation process when determining fair market value; how to calculate appropriate maintenance (and how the new maintenance statute may impact that calculation); and the importance of providing the necessary evidence in a child support hearing.

ISBA Presidents Golf Retreat: Lodging Deadline Approaching

Posted on August 7, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois State Bar Association is hosting a Presidents Golf Retreat Oct. 5-7 in Lake Geneva, Wis.

The lodging deadline is Sept. 5. A block of rooms has been held for attendees at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa at a rate of $169 per night. Reservations can be made by calling (855) 833-5345.

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