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Best Practice Tips: Increasing Case Volume in a Personal Injury Law Firm

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a two-partner personal injury firm in Tampa, Florida. We do not have any associate attorneys. Our firm only handles personal injury work. We have been in practice for 35 years and have been very successful over the years. However, the last few years have been terrible. Adjusters are not settling cases and the days of three-times specials is over. Our case volume is down, the quality of cases that we have in our inventory is far below what we had in previous years, and our revenues are down substantially. Cash flow is awful. We have had to live off of our credit line for the past year. Our main source of business over the years has been referrals from past clients and other lawyers, yellow pages, and our very basic website. We would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions that you may have.

Rock Out for Justice on March 8

Posted on January 9, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Mark your calendars for Thursday, March 8, to join the Illinois Bar Foundation at the hottest show around. Lawyer-led bands will be rocking out for justice at Illinois Lawyers Rock, a fundraiser event that raises money to ensure access to justice to support juvenile justice initiatives through the Foundation's M. Denny Hassakis Fund. Doors at Lincoln Hall in Chicago open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6:00 p.m.

Visit the Illinois Bar Foundation website for tickets and sponsorship opportunities. 

ISBA Seeks Managing Editor

Posted on January 9, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) seeks a motivated professional to manage the production of the Illinois Bar Journal, the Association’s flagship publication. The Managing Editor will also oversee the production of ISBA section newsletters, the IBJ advertising program, and the Illinois Courts Bulletin. The Managing Editor position will preferably be based in the Springfield, Illinois headquarters of the ISBA, but candidates desiring to work in the ISBA’s Chicago Office are also invited to apply.

CLE: Business Divorce - Marital and Non-Marital Business Owner Separations

Posted on January 8, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Any lawyer or company advisor (with intermediate practice experience) who is involved in organizing entities, managing marital disputes where business interests are at issue, or negotiating/litigating non-marital separations and planned/unplanned changes of entity control won’t want to miss this half-day seminar in Chicago or via live webcast on January 18, 2018 that gives you the tools you need to handle business owner separation cases. Topics include: the standard clauses of mutual protection and planned or compelled owner exit; alternative dispute resolution options; recapitalization or internal case availability and valuation issues associated with same; the fragility of business enterprises; the difference between going concern valuation and distress sale asset disposition; asset concealment, cash demands, interpersonal disputes, and other issues likely to occur in marital and non-marital arguments among business owners; and the Illinois Rules of Professional Responsibility regarding client identification issues.

USAO Central District of Illinois Seeks Assistant U.S. Attorney

Posted on January 8, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The U.S. Attorneys Office Central District of Illinois seeks a criminal assistant U.S. attorney (AUSA) in Urbana to prosecute federal criminal cases in the district. Criminal AUSAs advise federal law enforcement agents on criminal investigations, present criminal cases to the grand jury, try criminal cases before the United States District Court, and may represent the United States in criminal appeals before the Circuit Court of Appeals.

Quick Takes for Your Practice: Evaluating Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

Posted on January 4, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Pamela L. Pierro, partner at Spyratos Davis, LLC, discusses how to evaluate damages in a personal injury claim.

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm 2018 Initiatives and Goals

Posted on January 4, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is an 18-attorney insurance defense firm located in Los Angeles. We have six partners and 12 associates. We represent insurance companies in personal injury and property claims. Over the last five years, our growth and profitability have been flat. We feel that we have enough work to reach our goals, but we don’t think our people are energized. We have a billing requirement of 2,000 billable hours but few of our attorneys are hitting them. The partners met a few weeks ago to set goals for 2018. The firm does not have a business or strategic plan. Do you have any thoughts on 2018 goals and how best we can implement?

Lawyer Referral Service Makes Over 575 Referrals in December

Posted on January 4, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois State Bar Association’s Lawyer Finder Service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays. The Service makes referrals in a number of areas of law. For the month of December 2017 there were over 575 referrals given.

Here are the results for December 2017:

Justice Never Sleeps - But What if the Judge Does?

Posted on January 3, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

Practicing law can be an exhausting profession. Long workdays make it difficult to maintain a good work-life balance. The daily stress of practicing can be tiring, too. Sometimes it's almost impossible to keep your eyes open in court.

When an attorney dozes off, it can be a problem. But what about the rare occasions when a judge falls asleep on the bench? The third district recently handled an appeal brought by convicted spree-killer Nicholas Sheley, centering on a judge who nodded off during the trial. People v. Sheley, 2017 IL App (3d) 140659.

The Sheley court held that a judge falling asleep during the proceedings does not constitute per se reversible error. The court reasoned that a judge falling asleep does not rise to the level of structural error - i.e., one that "renders a criminal trial fundamentally unfair or an unreliable means of determining guilt or innocence." Id. at ¶ 16.

Sheley was based on a criminal trial - the focus was on the defendant's rights first and the judge's conduct only as it relates to whether the defendant got a fair trial. But what should a lawyer or other observer do when a judge falls asleep on the bench? Find out in the January Illinois Bar Journal.

CLE: Starting Your Law Practice

Posted on January 2, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Many attorneys dream of opening their own practice, but don’t necessarily know where to begin. This full-day seminar gives you the guidance you need on where to start – from choosing a professional entity to practice under and finding the right type of location, to hiring good office staff and making sure your technology is secure. Any attorney attending this seminar in Chicago on January 25, 2018 who has been thinking about starting their own law practice will gain a better understanding of: the pros and cons of each professional entity option, including P.C., LLC, and partnerships; the unexpected charges to be aware of when signing a rental or lease agreement for your new office; terminating or firing an employee (and the problems that can arise); your ethical obligation to maintain competence with technology; what should be included in your engagement letters and fee agreements; the issues to be aware of when advising or soliciting clients; the basics of traffic law and criminal law; how to handle basic estate planning cases; what to expect in employment law litigation; and much more!

The program is presented by the ISBA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section. It qualifies for 6.25 hours MCLE credit, including 3.75 hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

For more information and to register, visit the ISBA CLE page.

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