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Petition Filed for Vacant Assembly Seat in the 18th Circuit

Posted on June 23, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The ISBA will soon fill one vacant Assembly seat in the 18th Circuit (DuPage County). This vacancy is for a two-year term and begins immediately. 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 Rick Veenstra of Wood Dale, Illinois, has filed a nominating petition to be elected to the one ISBA Assembly vacancy from the 18th Judicial Circuit.

Any eligible ISBA member in the 18th Judicial Circuit wishing to be considered for this vacancy must submit to ISBA Executive Department by e-mail to, a nominating petition as described in the Policy and Procedures on Association Elections. This nominating petition must be submitted within 14 days of the June 23 notification date. 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, Mr. Veenstra will be declared elected.  If other nominating petitions are filed, the Board of Governors shall fill the seat from the candidates nominated.

An e-mail containing this information and the nominating petition was sent to members earlier today, June 23, 2017.

There are three total vacant Assembly seats to be filled. The remaining vacancies are in Cook County. 

Law Firm Offers Second Opinions for Clients

Posted on June 23, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

When patients get a life-changing medical diagnosis, they often seek a second opinion. When clients have questions about the direction that their legal counsel takes, they may think they have nowhere to turn.

In fact, attorneys can provide clients with second opinions, although most do not advertise them as a service. Valorem Law Group in Chicago is one of the first law firms to feature second opinions as part of its practice. Valorem, also known for its alternative fee agreements (see the October 2014 IBJ cover story), has been providing legal second opinions to individuals and companies for the past two years.

Nicole Auerbach, one of Valorem's founding partners, says that clients can "save a lot of money and angst" by seeking second opinions. Clients seeking second opinions can ask a wide range of questions. Some want to know if a proposed settlement is acceptable. Others want to get a second opinion about the direction their counsel is taking in a specific matter. Some want a reality check on what they're being billed and what they're told it will cost to complete a representation. Auerbach says that "there is really no topic that doesn't lend itself well to a second opinion."

Find out more in the July Illinois Bar Journal.

Two Members Elected to ISBA Assembly Agenda and Program Committee

Posted on June 22, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Two Assembly members were elected at the ISBA Annual Meeting to vacant seats on the Assembly Agenda and Program Committee. The committee has primary responsibility for preparing agendas for Assembly meetings. The winners were Carl R. Draper of Springfield and Nicholas J. Feda of St. Charles. Both seats are for two-year terms.

ISBA President Russell W. Hartigan: From Bar to Bench and Back

Posted on June 22, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

He's been a litigator for 33 years, a Cook County Circuit Court judge for 6½ years, and currently works as a mediator and arbitrator - with a side gig as a high school football referee for 40 years - but perhaps the most consistent, year in and year out feature of Russell Hartigan's career has been his deep involvement in the Illinois State Bar Association.

So dogged has been his advocacy of bar membership that he has been kiddingly dubbed "the pied piper of the Illinois bar" by his older son, Michael, who stepped into his father's shoes with the Chicago-based firm of Hartigan & O'Connor when the elder Hartigan became a judge in the Fifth Municipal District in southwest suburban Bridgeview in 2010.

And now that pied piper has become the bar's president after being sworn in June 16 at the ISBA Annual Meeting. Hartigan plans to spend his year prioritizing issues like helping solos and small firms with succession planning, finding ways for the legal profession to help combat gun violence in his native Chicago, addressing law student debt, and - in keeping with his son's nickname for him - attracting young attorneys to ISBA membership.

Find out more more in the July Illinois Bar Journal.

2017 Annual Meeting Highlights

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The 141st Annual Meeting was held last week, June 15-17, at The Abbey Resort in Fontana, Wisconsin. Attendees celebrated the accomplishments of the past year, planned for the year ahead, expanded their professional networks, and earned CLE credit. During section meetings and at the Assembly meeting, various members of the ISBA community were recognized with awards. At the Friday dinner and program, the Hon. Russell Hartigan was installed as ISBA president for 2017-18. 

The photo galleries of highlights from the Annual Meeting are listed below:

Best Practice Tips: Characteristics of a Successful Liability Defense Law Firm

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I’m a second-generation attorney with about five years of experience at a small liability defense firm in Southern California. My father is the managing partner and we have three total attorneys. My father and his partner probably have five to seven years left practicing. We only do California workers’ compensation defense. I’m planning on taking over the practice but am concerned about trends in the industry that will affect profitability, such as more stringent billing guidelines/bill audits, cuts to travel time, etc. What are the characteristics of a successful liability defense firm that I should strive towards?

Associate Judge Vacancy Announced for the 18th Judicial Circuit

Posted on June 20, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Chief Judge Kathryn E. Creswell announced that the Court is accepting applications to fill a vacancy for the Office of Associate Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, DuPage County.  This vacancy is the result of the retirement of Associate Judge Bruce R. Kelsey effective July 7, 2017. Applications are now being accepted for this vacancy which will be filled by vote of the circuit judges of the 18th Judicial Circuit.

Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 39, any attorney, who is a U.S. citizen, is licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois, and is a resident of the 18th Judicial Circuit may apply by electronically filing a signed application with the Director of the Administrative Office of Illiinois Courts on the form prescribed and furnished by the Director.  The instructions for submitting an application electronically are available on the supreme court's website.

If unable to submit an application electronically, an applicant must submit two (2) signed originals of the prescribed application with the Director of the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts at the address listed below:

Michael J. Tardy, Director
Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts
3101 Old Jacksonville Rd.
Springfield, IL  62704-6488

Congratulations to the Annual Meeting Bingo Winners

Posted on June 20, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Congratulations to the winners of the Annual Meeting bingo contest:

  • $200 Amazon Gift Card - Roza Gossage
  • Affinity Tech $50 Gift Card - Rosemary Collins
  • $100 Gift Card - Nancy Easum
  • $100 Gift Card - Jeanie Pearlman
  • $100 Amazon Gift Card - John Voorn
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card - Bridget Schott
  • Gift basket with tickets & a day of golf - Jan Strzalka
  • Yoga mat & water bottle - Emma Dorantes
  • Gift basket with ISBA logo items and books - Lisa McLeod
  • Coffee-themed logo basket with Starbucks gift cards - Ron Menna
  • Custom website assessment ($99 value) - Freddi Greenberg
  • Google Home - Mark Wolf
  • OPI nail polish gift basket ($100 value) - Marylou Kent