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Illinois Bar Journal

Standing Here or There?

Posted on October 22, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Appellate and trial courts are issuing inconsistent decisions concerning proper standing and jurisdiction following the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins. The uncertainty created by these decisions means judges and attorneys must juggle many variables when considering choice of venue in Illinois and other states. The difference is in how each court defines concrete injury and whether the threat of future harm is sufficiently concrete. An illustration of these inconsistencies is in cases brought by consumers affected by data breaches. In those cases, consumers’ personal information became exposed to parties not authorized to see or possess it. Claims based on data breaches typically include, if not solely rely on, allegations that consumers were injured because the mere exposure of their personal information created a threat of future harm. Read Mark Bernstein’s article, “Standing Here or There?,” in October’s Illinois Bar Journal for a detailed analysis of venue and jurisdiction implications when trying or defending cases involving concrete-injury and future-harm claims.

Debts, Secret Tax Liens, and Other Estate Traps

Posted on October 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

In October’s Illinois Bar Journal, Derek M. Johnson discusses the challenges a decedent’s estate may face if it owes federal income taxes, which may take priority over other claims and expenses, especially when the estate is insolvent. Understanding how and when to pay an estate’s taxes in relation to its other obligations is critical, Johnson advises. In his article, “Debts, Secret Tax Liens, and Other Estate Traps,” Johnson considers options and preventive measures when determining whether taxes are owed by decedents and their estates in probate.

False, Misleading, and Worth Your Attention

Posted on October 8, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

In August, the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates approved changes to its Model Rules of Professional Conduct concerning advertising. In October’s Illinois Bar Journal, ISBA General Counsel Charles Northrup, in light of the ABA’s decision, revisits the fundamental principle set out in Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct (IRPC) 7.1 — that lawyers may not make false or misleading communications about themselves, their practices, or their services. Given the ABA’s recent action, Northrup suggests revisiting this fundamental principle is worthwhile.

Safe, Secure, and on the Go

Posted on October 1, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

While attorneys and law firms need to be focused on, and aware of, cybersecurity, they often must turn to specialists to ensure their devices, storage, and communication tools are adequately locked down.

Read the Illinois Bar Journal’s October 2018 cover story to learn how tech-savvy Illinois attorneys are setting up their devices, servers, cloud storage services, email, and other client communication tools to ensure they’re cyber-secure and safe from hackers. Several technology experts also provide lots of recommendations and advice.

Guess Who’s Hosting a Business Dinner?

Posted on September 24, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Hosting a business dinner is a great way to make a good impression and build rapport with clients. Thinking through the details in advance will go a long way toward a good evening and a good impression of the host – you. In September’s Illinois Bar Journal, Karen Erger, vice president at Lockton Companies, breaks down do’s and don’ts of hosting a business dinner.

Recovering Medical Expenses from a Child’s Lawsuit

Posted on September 17, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

A boy was injured in November 2008 after joy riding on top of an apartment elevator in Chicago. His mother sued for negligence on his behalf and also sought to recover medical expenses resulting from the injury. In September’s Illinois Bar Journal, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Janet Adams Brosnahan examines the case, which made it all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, and explores the recovery of a minor’s injuries and the Illinois Health Care Services Lien Act. For example, does a health care services lien attach to a minor’s recovery in a personal injury action? Before the Illinois Supreme Court issued its opinion in the elevator case, the direction from the lower courts was anything but straightforward. 

All Over the Map

Posted on September 10, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Globalization, ease of travel, emerging markets, and greater mobility make it easier for people to work, live, marry, and establish homes in different parts of the world. When a marriage dissolves between spouses from different countries or when a couple resides in a foreign country, competing foreign jurisdictions can add complexity to an already messy situation, especially in child custody matters. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, a multilateral treaty currently ratified by 93 countries as of March 2016, provides an expeditious protocol for the return of a child unilaterally removed by a parent from one member country to another. 

Don’t Go There…Yet

Posted on September 4, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

There are few things litigators and judges dread more than a protracted discovery dispute. Given the angst discovery misconduct provokes, siccing the Illinois Supreme Court Rules on a culprit is understandable. But a measured response may be more prudent. Penalizing bad behavior with a default judgment is rarely necessary, even as a response to perjury or defiance of court orders. 

In September’s Illinois Bar Journal, appellate litigator Christopher Keleher examines discovery sanctions available for plaintiffs and defendants under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 219(c). There are good reasons the courts use default judgments against defendants and dismissals with prejudice against plaintiffs sparingly.

More Bang for Your Buck

Posted on August 27, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

You've just renewed your ISBA membership for the new bar year—or are about to. Either way, it’s time to consider all the benefits that come with ISBA membership, especially since the association has launched several new and improved benefits during the past few years and as recently as this summer.

For ISBA members, this means access to an ever-increasing number of resources that pay for themselves several times over. Among benefits that recently have been enhanced: robust online peer-discussion communities; checklists and best practices that will help you manage your firm; in-person, online, and on-demand continuing legal education; federal and state caselaw research guided by artificial intelligence; a fully automated document assembly system tailored to Illinois law; a robust fee-sharing lawyer referral directory; and a marketplace full of professional discounts.

What You Need to Know About Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

Posted on August 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Because most solos and small firms may not need a full-time bookkeeper, they often end up either trying to do the work themselves or having a spouse or partner come in “a few days a week” to do the work. With this approach, no one is consistently and directly responsible for ensuring that the finances are in order, regardless of how “simple” the firm thinks they are. 

The August Illinois Bar Journal Practice HQ column summarizes all the financial areas a proper bookkeeping routine covers and discusses the benefits of outsourcing this role. Whether outsourcing is a viable option, consider at least a quick audit of your own bookkeeping routine and the time you devote to it. A thorough, orderly bookkeeping process may help minimize expenses, increase your efficiency, and maximize your bottom line.