Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
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A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership
Free CLE
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Grants Help Circuit Courts Serve Pro Se Litigants

Posted on April 26, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

As more and more litigants choose to represent themselves, Illinois courts continue their effort to adapt to this "new normal" (see the October 2017 IBJ cover story.) One such adaptation is a program launched by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice late last year that gives grants to 13 judicial circuits to help them better serve pro se litigants and manage their impact on the justice system.

A Solo Practitioners Guide to Companion Animal Cases

Posted on April 26, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Anna E. Morrison, attorney at AMR Law Group, discusses what solo practitioners need to know about companion animal cases.

CLE: Open Meetings Act - Ensuring Public Access to Information

Posted on April 26, 2018 by Sara Anderson

This lively program in Chicago on May 24, 2018 is comprised of scenarios, skits, and group discussions, allowing participants to gather information on how to recognize and resolve violations of the Open Meetings Act. The program demonstrates and discusses the requirements of the Open Meetings Act, as well as how to apply the Act to real world situations. Government attorneys, public officials, and private counsel who attend this seminar will better understand: how to prepare for a meeting; the importance of meeting locations; how to handle the virtual attendance of board members; the issues with meeting minutes and board member voting; public access issues, including virtual access; board member communication concerns, including texting between members; how to handle closed meetings; the limitations on public comments; and much more!

Last Day to Vote in ISBA Election Is Monday

Posted on April 25, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Voting is now underway in the 2018 ISBA election. Voting closes at 4:30 p.m. this upcoming Monday, April 30.

ISBA's election provider Election America e-mailed ballots to members with valid e-mail addresses and mailed paper ballots to members without valid e-mail addresses on Monday, March 26. The deadline to request paper ballots was last Friday, April 13.

Law Firm Management Committee vs. Full Partnership

Posted on April 25, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a partner in a 14-attorney firm in San Antonio, Texas. We have eight partners and six associates working in the firm. The firm was founded 20 years ago, so we are a first-generation firm. Two of the partners were the founders of the firm and the other six were made partners in later years. Currently our method of governing the firm is handled by the full partnership. While each partner has one vote, we try to manage by consensus. We do not have a managing partner or any committees. We have an office manager who primarily handles the accounting and  staff oversight. The partners meet weekly to discuss issues and make decisions. We are beginning to have issues with our management structure. Partners are not showing up for the weekly meetings and complaining about the amount of time it is taking away from servicing their clients. Should we consider a different approach? We would appreciate your thoughts.

Statement from President Hartigan Concerning Public Participation in the Lawmaking Process

Posted on April 25, 2018 by Sara Anderson

This week, an Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) member has been subjected to harassment and threatening messages as a direct result of his representing the views of the Association during a hearing of an Illinois House of Representatives legislative committee. The member testified to explain the Association’s opposition to House Bill 4113. In the days following his testimony, the member has been subjected to profane and threatening messages on his firm’s website and social media profiles. Additionally, based on profane and threatening phone calls received by his law firm, the police hav

Land of Lincoln Seeks Staff Attorney

Posted on April 24, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, a non-profit organization which provides free legal services to eligible individuals in central and southern Illinois, is looking to hire a staff attorney at its Northern Regional Office in Springfield.

Responsibilities for this position include representation of low-income persons in routine and complex civil litigation, including, but not limited to, family, landlord-tenant, and consumer cases. Participation in community legal education and outreach.  

To qualify, applicants must be admitted to the Illinois Bar and demonstrated commitment to the representation of low-income individuals. Prior legal services or clinical work experience strongly preferred.

CLE: Cross Border Litigation: Essential Considerations for U.S. Lawyers

Posted on April 23, 2018 by Sara Anderson

This program offers both the Canadian and American perspectives regarding some of the most pervasive issues that arise during legal disputes that cross the borders between the U.S. and Canada. Every U.S. attorney who deals with cross-border issues with Canada who attend this seminar in Chicago or via live webcast on May 23, 2018 will better understand: the practical issues such as where to commence litigation and why; how to oust Canadian jurisdiction where appropriate; how to obtain evidence in Canada for use in U.S. proceedings; the impact of key Supreme Court of Canada decisions over the past 20 years on the enforcement of U.S. judgments in Canada; substantive and procedural advantages and disadvantages of the use of Canadian proceedings; the key issues that arise in U.S./Canada cross-border litigation and arbitration; what is involved in enforcing judgments cross-border and what impact the SCC judgments have had on the trade relationship between U.S. and Canada; and the importance of timely and continuous communication between U.S. and Canadian lawyers wherever disputes cross borders.

Women Flying Solo

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

All attorneys who choose to become solo practitioners face the challenges of setting up and running a business. That includes putting together a business plan, separating trust accounts and other funding sources, and attracting and retaining clients.

Women who take the solo journey also face bias and stereotypes that can negatively affect their confidence and their bottom line - although occasionally, being female can be an advantage. That's according to a panel of women lawyers who have started their own firms and who participated earlier this year in an ISBA webinar titled, "On My Own: Starting Your Solo Practice as a Female Attorney."

Criminal defense attorney Sarah Toney of The Toney Law Firm in Chicago notes that some challenges female solos face are not necessarily related to being a woman. When an attorney starts a firm, she says, she or he should create a checklist of everything a solo practitioner needs to do, ranging from registering your entity with the Illinois Supreme Court to getting malpractice insurance.

"There's a lot of minutiae you don't think about," Toney says. "You can't just quit your job, hang a shingle, and start practicing. You need to get an EIN number."

NIU Law School Lowers Out-of-State Tuition to In-State Rate

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

As law school admissions decline and the job market for attorneys shrinks, some law schools have been forced to shut their doors. In June 2017, Whittier Law School in California announced it would shut down this spring (https://usat.ly/2t2aGCc). Closer to home, Valparaiso University's law school stopped admitting new students this year (http://bit.ly/2FHFr5i).

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