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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.

Add an Article to Your IllinoisLawyerFinder Profile

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Sara Anderson

IllinoisLawyerFinder, our free public-facing member directory, is an opportunity to connect with and attract potential clients. To make the most of your online presence, you can use your profile to tell your story and let the public know who you are and why you should handle their legal matters. After you have customized your bio, updated your work history, and uploaded a professional headshot, you can further enhance your profile by posting an article. Get started by watching this quick how-to video. 


Build A Practice with Practice HQ

Posted on July 18, 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.

As a lawyer at a small firm — or perhaps someone who recently opened your own practice — there is a lot to think about when it comes to growing your practice. Clients are what keep us in business, and in today's competitive legal market, it is important to have the tools to market your practice to find new business and cultivate long-term, meaningful relationships with clients, while also providing the valuable services that retain them. For members who are focused on finding leads and converting them into clients, Practice HQ offers many resources to help you build a practice

CLE: Title VII Now Covers Sexual Orientation – The Law That Made History (Live Webcast)

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Learn about the groundbreaking case that has changed the labor and employment landscape and what it means for your clients! In an en banc opinion, the 7th Circuit has now added sexual orientation as a protected class under Title VII, making this a ruling that may or may not create a sea of change in anti-discrimination laws and the law, in general, as it relates to sexual orientation. Join us via the Internet on September 13, 2017 to get the information you need to advise your clients on this timely topic, including: how the legal landscape of discrimination claims may be affected; who will be effected by this ruling; Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College and the history behind the ruling; and how the rest of the circuit courts across the country view this ruling.

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Labor & Employment Law Section and qualifies for 2.0 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.

Hon. Craig H. DeArmond Assigned as Appellate Court Justice in the Fourth Judicial District

Posted on July 17, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Hon. Craig H. DeArmond, Chief Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, has been assigned as an Appellate Court Justice in the Fourth Judicial District. The assignment  takes effect on September 1, 2017, and will continue until further order of the Court.

"I am pleased to announce the assignment of Judge Craig DeArmond to the Fourth District Appellate Court. Judge DeArmond has many years of experience that have amply prepared him for the work of the appellate court," Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman said. "His background includes eight years as Vermilion County State’s Attorney and several years in private practice representing criminal defendants and clients in civil matters. He was elected in 2015 to serve as Chief Judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Judge DeArmond has served on the Supreme Court Committee on Education for several years and is a frequent presenter at judicial education programs. He will make a fine addition to the appellate court."