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New Jersey Regulators Say Lawyers Can’t Participate in Avvo Client-Linking Service

Posted on September 13, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

In June, three New Jersey Supreme Court committees jointly barred the state's lawyers from using Avvo's client-linking service. State regulators found that the "marketing fee" taken by Avvo from the payment consumers make to lawyers for flat-fee services via its referral system is improper fee-splitting with nonlawyers and an unethical lawyer-referral payment (Avvo argues that it does not violate ethical rules ( New Jersey regulators also found that LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer operate legal service plans that were not registered with the State of New Jersey. (Both entities have since registered.)

What does this opinion mean for Illinois attorneys? As a preliminary matter, not very much. New Jersey regulates its attorneys, just like Illinois regulates its own, says Tim Moran, the chair of the ISBA's Standing Committee on the Future of Legal Services and immediate past chair of the ISBA Unauthorized Practice of Law Task Force. The New Jersey rulings don't have any effect on Illinois attorneys. However, the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct also prohibit fee-sharing with nonlawyers. And ISBA General Counsel Charles Northrup notes that ethics opinions in South Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have also found the Avvo marketing fee to constitute improper fee-sharing and referral fees.

Find out more in the September Illinois Bar Journal.

Best Practice Tips: Institutionalizing Your Law Practice

Posted on September 13, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the sole owner of a six-attorney estate planning practice in Phoenix, Arizona. The five associates have been with me from five to fifteen years. I just turned 55 and would like to retire when I am 65, either by selling my practice to another firm or to one or more of my associates. I would like to receive some remuneration for the sweat equity that I have invested (goodwill). I have tried over the years to set up my practice in a way that it is not “just me.” I changed the name of my firm to a trade name that does not include my name, arranged the lawyers’ names on our letterhead and website alphabetically, and eliminated designations such as principal and associate. I believe that I have made it difficult for clients and prospective clients to know who the boss is. I hope that this will make my firm more salable and appealing in the future. I would appreciate your comments.

ISBA Hosts Guardian ad Litem, Child Representative, and Attorney for Minor Child Training

Posted on September 12, 2017 by Sara Anderson

ISBA hosted a two-day CLE program designed to help attorneys who represent children from September 7-8 at the Chicago Regional Office. Back by popular demand, the Guardian ad Litem, Child Representative, and Attorney for Minor Child Training covered the role, scope and limitations of representation; the conflicts that will limit the role of the appointment; child development issues, including mental health, milestones, attachment, and parental separation; and much more. The program wound down on Friday evening with a networking reception for attendees to network and mingle. 

Satisfy Your Professional Responsibility Requirements with Online CLE

Posted on September 11, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Beginning with the N-Z reporting period ending June 30, 2019, Illinois attorneys must complete at least one our of diversity and inclusion CLE and one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE during each two-year reporting period, or participate in a yearlong Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program (S. Ct. Rule 795(d)).

The rule changes reflect an effort to address the impact of the legal profession's diversity challenges on the justice system. Additionally, the new rules seek to encourage lawyers to explore ways to increase their health and well-being because statistics show that judges and lawyers suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues at a significantly higher rate than does the general population.

ISBA has several courses to help you satisfy the requirements under the new MCLE rule change, including:

Illinois Supreme Court Appoints Harris as Circuit Judge in the Fifth Subcircuit of Cook County

Posted on September 11, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Robert F. Harris has been appointed a Cook County Circuit Judge in the 5th Subcircuit by Justice Mary Jane Theis and the Illinois Supreme Court. 

Mr. Harris was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Edward Washington.
The appointment takes effect September 21, 2017, and will conclude on December 3, 2018, when the position will be filled by the 2018 General Election.

"I'm deeply honored to be chosen from a field of accomplished and talented people to be selected as a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County," Harris said. "I look forward to this new path as a servant to the public and I will work hard to become an exemplary member of the judiciary."

Special September Offer from Lenovo

Posted on September 11, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Be different. Be better. Find inspiration in the most unexpected places with a Lenovo PC. Best of all, ISBA members instantly save up to 42% off select technologies during the month of September on devices engineered and designed for maximum productivity. Don’t forget to protect your device, upgrade your service warranty!

Deals are only valid while supplies last! Shop now:

  • Up to 42% off Lenovo Mobile PCs
  •  Up to 30% off Lenovo Accessories
  • Up to 25% off Lenovo Service Warranty Upgrades
  • Up to 20% off Lenovo Think Laptops and PCs
  • Up to 20% off Lenovo Tablets

Call: 1-800-426-7235, ext. 3577 (M-F: 9am-9pm ET, Sat: 9am-6pm ET)
Be sure to check the website often – special offers change frequently.

Remember, these special monthly offers are tailored specifically for you and include: FREE shipping on all web orders, access to energy-efficient green technologies and award-winning service.

Illinois Supreme Court Appoints Beach as Circuit Judge in the Sixth Subcircuit of Cook County

Posted on September 8, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Charles S. Beach was appointed as a Cook County Circuit Judge in the 6th Subcircuit by Justice Mary Jane Theis and the Illinois Supreme Court.

Mr. Beach was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the Hon. Richard C. Cooke. The appointment takes effect Sept. 15, 2017 and will conclude on Dec. 3, 2018, when the position is filled by the November 2018 General Election.

CLE: The New Bankruptcy Rules and Advanced Topics in Consumer Bankruptcy

Posted on September 8, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Don’t miss this full-day seminar in Chicago or via the Internet on October 5, 2017 that explores the new changes to the bankruptcy rules, as well as the advanced issues you need to know when handling your next bankruptcy case. Attorneys with intermediate practice experience who attend this seminar will better understand: the new Chapter 13 Plan; how to present evidence in bankruptcy cases; dischargeability issues; Motions to Dismiss under Section 707(b)(3) and objections under Section 727; recent student loan case law and legislative updates; and much more.

Lawyer Referral Services Makes Over 1200 Referrals in August

Posted on September 7, 2017 by Sara Anderson

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 August 2017, there were a total of 1,232 calls.  ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the 36 areas of law.

Here are the results for August 2017:

ISBA Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program

Posted on September 7, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Jeff Salling, e-discovery counsel and director of business development at Complete Discovery Source, discusses how the ISBA Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program helped bridge the gap between law school and the practice of law.