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Illinois Lawyer Finder makes over 800 referrals in September

Posted on October 7, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

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 September 2014, ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:

Here are the results for September 2014:

  • 843 phone referrals made by Lawyer Finder staff
  • Most requested areas of law: Family (212), Personal Injury (141), Civil Disputes (75), Criminal Law (70), Real Estate (60), Civil Rights (44) and Employment Law (33).
  • 21,827 visits to (19,602 unique visitors)

Want to be part of the ISBA Lawyer Finder Service? Call (800) 252-8908 and ask for the Legal Department, or visit

Clients should call (800) 922-8757.

Peoria's Muir a shining example for McAndrews Award

Posted on October 7, 2014 by Douglas Knapp

By Michael T. O'Connor

Robert Muir of Peoria was the 2014 recipient of the John C. McAndrews Award.  He exemplifies what this award stands for, and at 80 years of age, Attorney Muir will celebrate 50 years of practice this coming November. 

After retirement from Caterpillar Inc. in 2004, where he was the head of the Intellectual Property Department, managing 50 people and a budget of more than $16 million, he took it upon himself to establish expertise in family law so as to provide pro bono assistance in a subject area of high need.  Since 2004, Attorney Muir has served 128 clients and has given 2,093 hours of his time.  Attorney Robert Muir began his long volunteer career with Prairie State Legal Services in October of 1999, the first time he volunteered at one of our divorce clinic.  It was the beginning of a long and rewarding partnership.  He was well aware that family law is the single biggest need for Prairie State’s clients, and that Prairie State’s scarce resources prevent us from assisting with all but the most egregious cases involving domestic violence. 

In 2013, Attorney Muir closed 11 cases for a total of 416 hours.  As a result, he obtained $22,764 in annualized child support, future pension payments, and college expenses for clients.  He has six cases pending and is in the process of taking on new cases. 

Illinois Bar Foundation to administer expansion of Illinois JusticeCorps

Posted on October 6, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF), the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, will administer the statewide expansion of Illinois JusticeCorps to recruit, train and supervise college, university and law students to serve as guides in courthouses.

Launched as a pilot project in Chicago in 2009, the program was expanded in 2012 with AmeriCorps funding from the Serve Illinois Commission, and additional funding and significant in-kind support from The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) and the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice. The program currently provides assistance at the Daley Center in Chicago and courthouses in Markham and Bloomington. The IBF will administer the expansion into seven additional courthouses around the state including those in Rockford, Waukegan, Kankakee, Champaign, Galesburg, Macomb and Edwardsville. The CBF will continue to partner with the IBF for the Cook County portion of the program.

“Volunteers are trained to provide navigational assistance to unrepresented litigants in overburdened courts, often helping them find existing legal self-help centers so they are able to obtain the help they need,” said David M. Anderson, IBF executive director. “Their work does not replace the work of courts, attorneys, clerks or help-desk staff but complements it by helping self-represented litigants find available resources quickly so people can be served more promptly.”

Volunteers make a 300-hour commitment and come from local schools and universities including DePaul University, Loyola University, Governors State University, Roosevelt University, Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, The John Marshall Law School and the University of Illinois at Champaign.

Celebrate Pro Bono Week by taking the Pro Bono Pledge

Posted on October 6, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois State Bar Association, along with the ISBA Delivery of Legal Services Committee, is proud to participate in this year’s National Celebrate Pro Bono Week from October 19 through October 25, 2014, and invites all ISBA members to get involved.  

One of the most fundamental American values is that we are all equal in the eyes of the law and the justice system, regardless of who we are, where we are from, or how much money we have. However, the justice system only works when people have access to the legal assistance they need.

National Celebrate Pro Bono Week aims to expand the delivery of pro bono legal services and increase access to justice. At a time when so many Illinois families are struggling, legal services can make a real difference in people’s lives.

ISBA members are urged to get into the pro bono spirit and sign the ISBA Pro Bono Partnership Pledge, encouraging attorneys to incorporate or increase pro bono services in their practice. If you are able, please donate the time to accept a new pro bono client; or consider making a financial contribution to an Illinois legal aid provider in your area.

Members are also encouraged to take advantage of a CLE program on Friday, October 24, in Joliet titled “Pro Bono Palooza: Family Law, Employment Law, and Ethics.” This program provides an opportunity for members to learn the basics of employment law and be introduced to more complex financial issues arising in divorces. Attendance is free to all attendees who commit to taking just one pro bono case.

Hotel registration open for 2014 Midyear Meeting

Posted on October 6, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The 2014 ISBA Midyear Meeting and Joint Meeting with the Illinois Judges Association will be held at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Chicago, Illinois from Dec. 11– 13. Take advantage of this opportunity to make your reservations for lodging early. Reservations at the Sheraton may either be made online at or by calling 800.325.3535. Please be sure to advise that you are attending the ISBA/IJA Meeting when making your reservation. Rates for 2014 are $149 for single or double occupancy, plus tax. Check-in after 3:00 p.m. and check-out before 12:00 p.m.

The deadline for making reservations for lodging is on or before November 17. Reservations received after this date will be subject to availability. The deposit will be forfeited for all no-shows, early departures and cancellations less than 72 hours prior to arrival.

Watch in the coming months for additional details, schedule of events and registration information on our website and Illinois Lawyer Now.

Quick take on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court legal malpractice opinion

Posted on October 2, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

A member of our panel of leading appellate attorneys reviews Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinion in the legal malpractice case Goldfine v. Barack, Ferrazzano, Kirschbaum & Perlman.

Goldfine v. Barack, Ferrazzano, Kirschbaum & Perlman

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC

In a legal malpractice action for the loss of a claim under the Illinois Security Law of 1953, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected a law firm’s arguments that it was being punished for securities violations rather than subject to compensatory damages for negligence. Stock purchases made in 1987-1990 giving rise to an action against Shearson Lehman, broker Michael Steinberg, and others provided the backdrop for the legal malpractice action. The plaintiffs, Morton and Adrienne Goldfine, retained the defendant law firm, Barack, Ferrazzano, Kirschbaum & Perlman, to sue the brokers after the  investment proved worthless as a result of the bankruptcy of the company whose stock plaintiffs purchased in 11 transactions. The plaintiffs had a claim for rescission under the Illinois Securities Law; however, claims against the broker defendants were dismissed based upon the law firm’s failure to serve the rescission notice required by the statute.

ISBA Task Force on Law School Curriculum hearings set for Champaign, East Peoria

Posted on October 2, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois State Bar Association's Task Force on the Impact of Law School Curriculum and Debt on the Future of the Profession will hold seven open hearings throughout the state. The Task Force was established by President Richard D. Felice and is chaired by Hon. Ann Jorgensen, Justice of the Second District Appellate Court. ISBA members are encouraged to attend these hearings to discuss the core skill sets that new lawyers should have and how law schools can graduate more “practice ready” lawyers.

Those who provide comments should focus on:

Ethics Question of the Week: What ethical obligations are involved in hiring a nonlawyer assistant?

Posted on October 2, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Q. What ethical obligations should I be aware of if I wish to employ a nonlawyer assistant?

A.  IRPC 5.3 requires that nonlawyer assistants be adequately supervised.  It states: “With respect to a nonlawyer employed or retained by or associated with a lawyer:…a lawyer having direct supervisory authority over the nonlawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the person’s conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer.” 

For more information, consult ISBA Advisory Opinion 13-08.

Kauzlarich appointed associate judge in 14th Circuit

Posted on October 2, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Norma Kauzlarich as an associate judge of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.

Ms. Kauzlarich received her undergraduate degree in 1986 from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and her Juris Doctor in 1994 from the University of Iowa. Ms. Kauzlarich is currently affiliated with the Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office in Rock Island.