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How Easy Is it for Clients to Do Business with You?

Posted on July 26, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

What's the experience like at your law firm for the people who matter most - your clients? Isn't it time you asked them?

Many firms and attorneys don't take the time and effort to map clients' journeys through the firm, with the goal of ensuring that they reach their destination as efficiently and effectively as possible.

"I've learned to ask a very simple question that drives this point home: 'How easy are you to do business with?'" says Josh Kubicki, Cincinnati-based chief strategy officer at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. "You may be one hell of a lawyer, but you may be a pain-in-the-you-know-what to do business with, from billing, to reaching you, to communicating, to you using words clients understand. If you're able to make that easier for your clients, you'll be able to capture value."

Kubicki discussed client mapping as part of his presentation at the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism's The Future Is Now: Legal Services 2.017 conference in Chicago in May (see

The process of journey mapping isn't that difficult but requires an ongoing, step-by-step commitment, Kubicki says. First, an attorney or firm needs to take a step back and think about all the different touchpoints - people, processes, and tools - they use in delivering service, he says. Find out how to remove pain points and improve service for your clients in the August Illinois Bar Journal.

Share Your IllinoisLawyerFinder Profile on Your Personal Page

Posted on July 26, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Once you have updated your IllinoisLawyerFinder profile by adding a photo or uploading an article, you can directly link to it from your website or blog using a badge. Doing so can help potential clients verify who you are and make it easier for them to book appointments online. This video will walk you through the process of sharing your profile.

Best Practice Tips: Impact of Firm Size on Succession Planning

Posted on July 26, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a solo practitioner in upstate New York. I am 66-years-old, looking to retire, and trying to figure out what to do with my practice. My practice is a general practice and there is just me and one secretary. I welcome your suggestions.

Manage a Practice with Practice HQ

Posted on July 25, 2017 by Sara Anderson

We recently launched our new member benefit, Practice HQ. Organized by the lifecycle of a law practice, this one-stop microsite houses together high-quality practice information in one place.

Once you have opened your firm and decided what steps you will take to build your book of business, you can focus your energy on your firm's day-to-day tasks. There are two main components to this: providing legal services to clients, and managing the business side of your firm. For members who are looking for resources on how to manage a firm, Practice HQ has everything you will need. This section of the website is broken down into nine sub-sections of managing your practice:

Practice Management

From free online CLE dedicated to helping you practice smarter without creating extra work for yourself to practice management software recommendations, the content in this sub-section will help you get your systems and processes in place.

Illinois State Bar Association Creates New Privacy and Information Security Section

Posted on July 25, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois State Bar Association is launching a new member group, the Privacy and Information Security Section. The new section was proposed by Ari Scharg, a partner at Edelson PC in Chicago, and approved by the ISBA Board of Governors.

The Privacy and Information Security Section was created in recognition that the field of privacy law is evolving at an exponential rate.

“It is rare, in this day and age, to find an area of the law that is in its infancy.  But with the rapid developments of new technologies and society’s evolving sensitivity to privacy issues, we find ourselves in the midst of exciting times” said Scharg, who will serve as the section’s chair. “Courts and legislators are grappling with complex issues ranging from how to define privacy harms to what types of information are subject to privacy concerns.  We are seeing case law nudge these issues along on a monthly, if not weekly, basis.”

The section will serve as a comprehensive resource for lawyers who practice in or are interested in the privacy and information security space to learn about information sharing practices. It will also provide a forum to discuss global developments and emerging technologies that will disrupt current business practices; learn best practices and debate issues; and review, monitor, and propose relevant legislation.

Section membership will be free for the 2017-2018 bar year. 

If you are interested in learning more about this section, joining for free, or nominating yourself for the section council, view the Privacy and Information Security Law page

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, July 20

Posted on July 20, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Kerry Bryson reviews People v. Holmes, handed down Thursday, July 20.

People v. Holmes

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Prior to the Illinois Supreme Court’s issuing its decision in Aguilar, David Holmes was arrested at a Chicago beach when officers observed a revolver sticking out of his waistband. After his arrest, the police learned that he did not have a FOID card. He was charged with two counts of AUUW for carrying an uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible firearm and two counts of AUUW for carrying a firearm without a valid FOID card.

Those first two counts were nolle prossed by the state after Aguilar was decided. Prosecution of the no-FOID counts continued.

Holmes filed a motion to suppress arguing that the police lacked probable cause to believe he was committing a crime because the AUUW statute upon which his arrest was based was later held unconstitutional and thus was void ab initio (or, as if it had never existed). Holmes further argued that the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule did not apply where the police were enforcing an unconstitutional statute. The trial court allowed the motion to suppress, noting that it was “unfortunate” because the officer’s actions were not improper at the time. The appellate court affirmed, concluding that the void ab initio doctrine precluded application of the good faith exception.

Tips for the Final Days Before the Bar Exam

Posted on July 20, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The July 2017 bar exam is fast approaching, and this season’s test-takers are no doubt feeling the anxiety and stress that comes with it. We asked our members and followers on Twitter to share with us their best tips for tackling the final days leading up to the bar exam. Below is some of our favorite advice:

Law Firm Hiring and the Tyranny of Elite Credentials

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Corporate America has taken steps to create a more diverse workforce at all levels. Companies like Microsoft have executives who focus on developing and fostering a diverse environment. Women and people of color are increasingly seen in managerial and executive-level roles.

And yet the legal profession has lagged behind. Professor William Henderson of Indiana University's Maurer School of Law has looked at how to improve diversity in the profession and the benefits of doing so.

Henderson published the results of his research in a 2016 paper entitled "Solving the Legal Profession's Diversity Problem" ( Henderson, who recently spoke at the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism's The Future Is Now: Legal Services 2.017 conference in Chicago, suggests that the profession's lack of diversity is a system failure rather than a lack of moral resolve.

Henderson's research indicates that law firms have put a disproportionate emphasis on academic credentials. He cites research and his own experience with internal law firm studies for the proposition that "attendance at an elite law school is seldom a marker of future success and often a slight negative predictor."

A better indicator for success than which law school attorneys attend is whether they had access to mentoring and feedback at the beginning of their career, he says. Find out more in the July Illinois Bar Journal.

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Owners as Businesspersons

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the owner of a six-attorney elder law firm in Dallas. I manage the firm and practice law. I am finding it more and more difficult to do both. I would like to shift my time totally to managing the practice. I would appreciate your thoughts.       

A. You are not alone. This is a common problem in law and other professional service firms. I have similar problems in my own firm — it is very difficult to serve two masters — serving your clients and managing your firm. Eventually you have to pick one — client service (doing legal work) or managing and running your business — as the area that receives your primary focus. This is not to say that you should not do both — but you select the primary area that you are going to focus on and get help with the other area.

A question that I typically ask my new law firm clients is, “What do you want to be: A business person or a lawyer?” The answer to the question often provides a hint to how you should structure your firm. If you want to be more of a business person, hire legal talent to help with serving clients and performing legal work and spend more time working on your firm rather than in it. If you want to be a lawyer and do legal work and serve clients, hire a legal administrator or business manager (this is more than an office manager) to manage and run your firm.