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The Checklist Manifesto for Lawyers

Posted on July 6, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

In his bestselling book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, physician and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande argues that checklists are essential to reducing errors and increasing efficiency. He points to the airline industry's reliance on flight-related checklists - and its remarkable safety record - as evidence of the power of checklists to make processes work, and argues that the medical profession should expand the use of checklists to save lives and improve outcomes.

"The natural extension to the legal field is that lawyers must use checklists as much as possible," writes Kerry Lavelle in the June issue of The Bottom Line, newsletter of the ISBA Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics. "For example, why not have a definitive checklist for a residential real estate closing? A commercial real estate closing? An asset purchase agreement? Stock purchase agreement? Commercial lease review?"

Nor is the value of checklists limited to transactional processes, Lavelle writes. "Imagine having a compelling and detailed checklist, or litigation handbook, specific to your firm's [litigation] 'process' encompassing the local rules where every new attorney and attorney thereafter would need to understand in the process for litigation," he writes. Find out more in the July Illinois Bar Journal.

CLE: 40 Hour Mediation/Arbitration Training

Posted on June 30, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Mediation is designed to resolve differences both in and out of the courts. It requires a very different mindset than courtroom litigation. This week-long Master Series program, which runs from October 16, 2017 – October 20, 2017 in Chicago, trains practitioners to resolve conflicts in a non-adversarial, non-confrontational manner, allowing peaceful resolutions between parties.

The program is taught by Richard Calkins and Fred Lane—two nationally recognized mediators, authors and educators. Until 20 years ago, both Mr. Calkins and Mr. Lane were well-known and highly regarded litigators. Since then, however, they have successfully mediated over 5,000 cases. They are co-authors of the “Lane & Calkins Mediation Practice Guide.” [The “Lane & Calkins Mediation Practice Guide” is included with the purchase of this program.] They are co-founders of the International Academy of Dispute Resolution, which was established in 2001. The academy offers courses in mediation methods and techniques, and also conducts national and international mediation competitions for students in undergraduate school and law school. For more information about the academy, visit

Click here for more information and to register.

United States Attorney Office for the Northern District of Illinois Accepting Applications for Assistant United States Attorney

Posted on June 30, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The United States Attorney Office for the Northern District of Illinois is accepting applications for assistant United States attorney (AUSA) openings in its Criminal Division in Chicago, Illinois. The applicant selected will represent the U.S. Government as an AUSA in a wide range of unique and complex cases. The application deadline is Friday, September 1, 2017.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least 2 years post-J.D. experience. United States citizenship is required. Preferred qualifications: Excellent academics, significant litigation experience, criminal law experience (for our Criminal Division), strong legal writing skills, and a demonstrated commitment to public service.

Pay is administratively determined based, in part, on the number years of professional attorney experience. The range of basic pay is $52,329 to $136,874, plus applicable locality pay.

Interested persons should send a cover letter referencing Vacancy Announcement: AUSA-NDIL-17-1 and detailed resume to:

Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan Stack
Office of the U.S. Attorney
219 S. Dearborn Street, 5th Floor
Chicago, Illinois
No telephone calls please.

More information is available on the Department of Justice website.

ISBA Board Seeks Candidates: Board of Governors, Area VIII - 3rd and 20th Circuits

Posted on June 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The ISBA Board of Governors will fill at its July 21, 2017 meeting a vacant Board of Governors position in Area VIII. This vacancy was created by the election of Dennis Orsey to the position of third vice president.

Any member who wishes to be considered as a candidate for this position should communicate via email to by Thursday, July 13, 2017. A brief biographical statement should be submitted with the communication. If there are questions, please contact the Executive Department at 800.252.8908 or

All candidates will be informed of the Board of Governors action following the July 21st meeting.

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, June 29

Posted on June 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Kerry Bryson reviews People v. Ringland, handed down Thursday, June 29. 

People v. Ringland

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

In these consolidated cases, the defendants were subjected to traffic stops on I-80 in LaSalle County, with each stop resulting in the discovery of a controlled substance. Those stops were initiated by a team of special investigators appointed by then LaSalle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne pursuant to Section 3-9005(b) of the Counties Code allowing State’s Attorneys to appoint special investigators. Towne named the team the State’s Attorney’s Felony Enforcement unit (or SAFE). The specific purpose of SAFE was to act as a drug interdiction team on I-80.

The defendants filed motions to suppress, challenging the investigators’ authority to conduct traffic stops, as well as the adequacy of the procedure by which they were appointed. The circuit court granted the motions on the basis that statutory procedural requirements for appointment of special investigators had not been met. The appellate court affirmed but on the basis that the investigators lacked authority under Section 3-9005 (b) to conduct the traffic stops in question. The Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court.

Section 3-9005(b) provides that the state’s attorney has the authority to appoint special investigators to: (1) serve subpoenas, (2) make return of process, and (3) conduct investigations which assist the state’s attorney in the performance of his or her duties. The supreme court agreed with the appellate court’s observation that this is an exclusive list.

ISBA-IBF to Host President's Reception Honoring Vincent Cornelius

Posted on June 28, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Join the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Board of Directors of the Illinois Bar Foundation for the President's Reception honoring Vincent F. Cornelius, ISBA president in 2016-2017.

Thursday, July 20, 2017
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
The Clubhouse Oak Brook

298 Oakbrook Center
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Proceeds of this event will benefit the IBF, whose mission is to ensure meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who have fallen upon hard times. Tickets can be purchased for $55. Sponsorship opportunities are also available here or by calling (312) 726-6072.

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Accounting/Finance Position

Posted on June 28, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Four of my partners and I just split off from a large law firm in Phoenix, Arizona, and started a litigation boutique firm with five associates. As we staff our nine-attorney firm, we are planning on hiring someone to handle our accounting and manage our finances. What type of position should we create and what level of experience should we be looking for?

Please Renew Your Membership by Friday

Posted on June 28, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Thank you for being an ISBA member. Bar association dues for 2017-2018 are due by Friday, June 30, 2017.

We hope you remember that ISBA offers a wide range of services designed to help you be productive and efficient. ISBA provides a services package valued at over $1,300. We recently added new services and will be adding more in the coming year.

Renew now to continue uninterrupted access to your current membership benefits and take advantage of the exciting new offerings coming soon.


  • IllinoisLawyerFinder, our new public-facing member directory
  • PracticeHQ, our new law practice management and technology web portal
  • ISBA Central, our soon-to-launch online discussion groups and communities


  • Free Online CLE ($349 Value)
  • Fastcase: Free Online Legal Research ($995 Value)
  • Daily case digests and legal news via E-Clips
  • IllinoisBarDocs
  • Liability insurance via ISBA Mutual

You can renew online, by invoice, or phone at (800) 252-8908.

We look forward to continuing to serve you!

Petitions Filed for Vacant Assembly Seats in Cook County

Posted on June 27, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The ISBA will soon fill two vacant Assembly seats in Cook County. One Cook County seat has a one-year term and the other has a two-year term. Both terms begin immediately – the two-year vacancy will be filled first. Assembly members must reside in their circuit or district.

In accordance with paragraph 3.8(a) of the ISBA's Policy and Procedures on Association Elections, ISBA is notifying members that Khara Coleman of Oak Park and Jill O’Brien of Chicago have filed nominating petitions to be elected to the two ISBA Assembly vacancies from Cook County.

Any eligible ISBA member in Cook County wishing to be considered for these vacancies must submit a nominating petition to ISBA Executive Department by email to, as described in the Policy and Procedures on Association Elections. This nominating petition must be submitted no later than July 13, 2017. You are asked to also forward the original Nominating Petition to the attention of ISBA Executive Department, 424 South Second Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701.

According to the Policy, if no other candidates file a nominating petition, Ms. Coleman and Ms. O’Brien will be declared elected. If other nominating petitions are filed, the Board of Governors shall fill the seat from the candidates nominated.

CLE: Getting Ready for E-Filing and PDFing – Live Webinar

Posted on June 26, 2017 by Sara Anderson

PDFs are everywhere and have become the worldwide standard with electronic court filing, exchanging documents and digital archiving. Join us online on July 25, 2017 for a look at the basics of e-filing and PDFing, such as preparing PDFs for e-filing, combining and reducing the size of PDFs, bookmarking, metadata removal, redaction, and making PDFs text-searchable. Also learn how this can help your office reduce the amount of paper in your office. Be ready for e-filing and learn how to master PDFs!

Click here for more information and to register.