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Cook County Chief Judge enters order on the taking of notes in court

Posted on June 2, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today entered General Administrative Order No. 2014-06 which permits persons present at court proceedings conducted in courtrooms of the Circuit Court of Cook County to take written notes while court is in session.

“I firmly believe that the integrity of our courts depends on increasing, not limiting, public access in the courtroom, whether that access is allowing the media to film proceedings or allowing people to simply write down what they see and hear,” said Chief Judge Evans. “Every time integrity is embraced, justice is enhanced.”

The use of laptop computers and other electronic devices in the courtrooms of the Circuit Court of Cook County is prohibited and may not be used to take notes unless otherwise expressly permitted by the judge presiding.

General Administrative Order No. 2014-06 is attached.

CLE: Lessons in Professional Responsibility: From the Illinois Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln

Posted on May 29, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Join us in Springfieldon June 12th to celebrate Lincoln the Lawyer and earn three hours of Professional responsibility MCLE credit, including 3.0 hours Professional Responsibility credit (subject to approval)! Learn about professional responsibility from one of Illinois’ greatest lawyers, Abraham Lincoln, as you listen to the words of Lincoln and his law partner, William Herndon, through recorded reenactments of their recollections of cases, letters, speeches, and stories. The presentations are based upon historic research provided by John Lupton, Administrative Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission. The historic settings of the re-enactments, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office and the Old State Capitol in Springfield, were provided courtesy of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. After each recollection, John Lupton discusses the historical context, while our distinguished panel of attorneys and judges examine how the professional responsibility issues are addressed in the 21st century practice of law. The program provides opportunities for you to engage in discussions on the issues in your practice setting.Parking is available under the Old State Capitol and in the parking garage at the corner of 6th and Madison Streets.

Click here for more information and to register.

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of May 29, 2014

Posted on May 29, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. In this episode he covers Condominium Property Act (House Bill 4783), UM/UIM arbitration (House Bill 5575), Sale of distressed condominium units (Senate Bill 2664), Workers' Compensation Act (Senate Bill 3287), Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI) Cleanup (Senate Bill 2656), Marriage rewrite (House Bill 1452) and Eavesdropping. More information on each bill is available below the video.

2 Minutes with the President: Paula H. Holderman interviews Marron Mahoney and Brian Monico

Posted on May 29, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA President Paula H. Holderman interviews Marron Mahoney and Brian Monico, co-chairs for the New Lawyer Task Force, about how the ISBA is helping law students and new lawyers and plans to further assist those entering the practice of law.

Annemarie Kill to receive Diversity Leadership Award

Posted on May 29, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Annemarie KillAnnemarie Kill of the Chicago firm Avery Camerlingo Kill, LLC has been named the winner of the 2014 ISBA Diversity Leadership Award. The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes long standing, continuing and exceptional commitment by an individual or an organization to the critical importance of diversity within the Illinois legal community, its judiciary and within the Illinois State Bar Association.

Ms. Kill has made significant contributions to the advancement of diversity within the Illinois legal community and within ISBA. She has served as a member and chair of both the ISBA Diversity Leadership Council and Standing Committee on Women and the Law.

From 2011 to 2012, she served as the Coordinator of the Diversity Fellows, which identifies diverse future leaders and provides them an opportunity to find their leadership niche within ISBA. In this position she led several efforts to improve the program and enhance the positive experience for the Diversity Fellows. She helped institute an initial orientation and reception for the Fellows and drafted a Fellows’ handbook. She also oversaw the revision of the Diversity Fellows’ mentorship program.

Ms. Kill has served on the ISBA Law and Leadership Institute (LLI) Committee. This committee is a statewide initiative to help minority students achieve academic success and aspire to careers in the law.

Condo unit owners can’t withhold payment

Posted on May 28, 2014 by Mark S. Mathewson

The owner of a condo unit may not withhold monthly assessments and other expenses in response to an alleged failure by her condominium association to maintain common elements and make repairs, a divided Illinois Supreme Court ruled recently.

In a four to three decision (PDF), the majority of the justices rejected a theory that condo unit owners should have the same rights as tenants in a leasehold agreement. The issue arose when a Lake County resident/owner of the Spanish Court Two Condominium Association, who had failed to pay her fees for six months, tried to defend herself against the association's attempt to take possession of her unit. She argued that a leaky roof just above her unit had caused extensive water damage, her faulty toilet was not repaired, and that general upkeep of the common areas of the building was not maintained, and thus she was entitled to withhold payment.

The majority of the justices in the 4-3 ruling said a landlord/tenant scenario is contractual and distinguishable from a community living situation. Condo boards and associations could face serious financial difficulties if they had no recourse to collect unpaid assessments, the court observed. Find out more in the June Illinois Bar Journal.

Ethics Question of the Week: Can I charge a contingent fee to lobby for a client?

Posted on May 28, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Q. Can I enter into a fee agreement with a client to lobby the legislature on a proposal where my fee is contingent upon the passage of the proposal?

A. RPC 1.5(d) expressly prohibits contingent fees in only two types of cases (certain domestic relations matters and criminal cases). However, by case law and statute, charging a contingent fee in a lobbying matter is prohibited. See In re Browning 23 Ill.2d 483 (1962) and 25 ILCS 170/8.

ISBA members can browse past ISBA Ethics Opinions, access our Ethics Hotline, and other resources on the ISBA Ethics Page.

Best Practice: Law firm mergers

Posted on May 28, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a solo in Bloomington, Illinois. I have just completed my third year in solo practice. I have one full time secretary, a paralegal, and I office share with a group of attorneys. My overhead is low and my margin is 61%. I have been approached by a two attorney (2 partners) firm regarding merging with their firm. One of the partners is relatively new (joined the firm 3 years ago) and the other is the firm founder and is planning on retiring in the next year. On average the other firm's revenue per attorney and partner earnings is on par or even less than mine. Their overhead is much higher. The two partners have been operating on a handshake with no succession/transition plan for the senior partner and no understanding of retirement financial arrangements (buy-out). While I have some concerns and fears about merging I believe that merger would provide me access to mentoring, additional resources and staff, and ability to improve my competencies and handle larger more complex cases. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Ethics Question of the Week: Do I have to inform tribunal if client gives false information?

Posted on May 22, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Q. My client gave false information in an administrative hearing. Do I have to inform the tribunal?

A. Comment [3] to Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 3.3 states that an advocate is responsible for pleadings and other documents prepared for litigation, but is usually not required to have personal knowledge of matters asserted therein, for litigation documents ordinarily present assertions by the client, or by someone on the client’s behalf, and not assertions by the lawyer. However, Rule 3.3(a)(3) states that a lawyer shall not knowingly “offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.”  If the lawyer learns the information was false, the lawyer “shall take reasonable measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal.”   For further information see ISBA Ethics Opinion 13.05.

ISBA members can browse past ISBA Ethics Opinions, access our Ethics Hotline, and other resources on the ISBA Ethics Page.