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CLE: Animal Valuation – Live Webcast!

Posted on August 28, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

An animal's value is a hotly debated topic among companion animal guardians and animal professionals. The worth of an animal has changed in recent years with the recognition of pets as family members, animal sentience, and heightened cruelty laws. Don't miss this live webcast on Wednesday, September 17th that explores the historical notions of market value verses the more modern actual value standards, as well as the direction of current trends. Attorneys with intermediate practice experience in civil, tort, or animal law who are interested in the damages available to a litigant for the loss of an animal in Illinois who attend this seminar will better understand:

  • How animal valuation can arise in the context of a civil case;
  • How the current worth of an animal depends on the animal’s status as companion, commercial, protected, etc;
  • The argument for status quo;
  • How societal change and criminal aspects have affected the argument for increased valuation;
  • The proposed solutions, including a price increase commensurate with risk; and
  • Much more!

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Animal Law Section and qualifies for 1.5 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of August 28, 2014

Posted on August 28, 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 Power of attorney for health care (Public Act 98-1113), Pregnancy and discrimination (Public Act 98-1050), Presumptively void transfers (Public Act 98-1093), Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (Public Act 98-1097), The Home Repair and Construction Task Force (Public Act 98-103), Condominium Property Act (Public Act 98-1068) and Bail bonds and electronic surveillance (Public Act 98-1012). More information on the bill is available below the video.

ISBA Task Force on Law School Curriculum to hold statewide hearings

Posted on August 28, 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:

Accepting credit-card payments? Mind your trust-account Ps and Qs

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Mark S. Mathewson

More clients prefer to pay fees by credit card these days, and more lawyers are accommodating them, a practice that is typically good for client and lawyer alike. But credit-card transactions raise a few special ethics issues, one of which - payment for retainer fees - is the subject of ISBA Ethics Opinion 14-01, issued earlier this year.

As the opinion notes, lawyers must take care that the agreement they sign with the credit card processing company doesn't conflict with various ethical obligations to clients, notably the duty under Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15 to "hold property of clients or third persons that is in a lawyer's possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer's own property" - i.e., to avoid commingling.

Commingling isn't an issue when the payment is for services already performed. That money belongs to the lawyer, not the client. But when the client pays a security retainer fee "to secure payment for future services and expenses," he or she is paying for services that haven't yet been rendered. Those payments are the property of the client until the work is done, and as such must be deposited in the lawyer's trust account, not the lawyer's business account. Find out more in the September Illinois Bar Journal.

Ethics Question of the Week: Can I refer clients in exchange for referrrals?

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Q.  Can I refer clients to another lawyer or nonlawyer in exchange for referrals from them?

A.  IRPC 7.2(b)(4) states that a “lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services except that a lawyer may (4) refer clients to another lawyer or nonlawyer professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under these Rules that provides for the other person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer if (i) the reciprocal referral agreement is not exclusive, and (ii) the client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement.”  Comment 8 to this rule goes on to state that such an arrangement must not interfere with the lawyer’s professional judgment.  For further discussion, see ISBA Advisory Opinion 12-03 as well as the full text to rule 7.2 

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

[Disclaimer. These questions are representative of calls received on the ISBA’s ethics hotline. The information provided below is meant as an educational tool to highlight potentially applicable Illinois RPC or other ethics resources that might help the lawyer answer the question posed. The information provided isn’t legal advice. Because every situation is different, often complex, and the law is constantly evolving, you shouldn’t rely upon this general information without conducting your own research.]

Historic Illinois Supreme Court Building reopens after 13-month restoration

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The main courtroom of the Illinois Supreme Court. - Photo by Mark SkubeThe Illinois Supreme Court Building officially re-opened to the public Wednesday after a 13-month restoration. View our photo gallery of the restoration at

The Court building has been closed since June 2013 when major work began on the historic building for the first time in nearly a century.

The building was constructed in 1906 and is eligible for inclusion on the National Historic Register. While the building was closed, the Supreme Court met during its regular terms in Chicago. It returns to begin its September 2014 term on Monday, Sept. 8.

The year-long project included restoration and preservation of the public spaces, courtrooms, library and support spaces. Offices, storage and work areas were updated for improved efficiencies in the digital and electronic age.

Major mechanical, heating, cooling, plumbing, and ventilation systems were replaced with installations to provide consistent humidification levels for the long-term maintenance of the historic ele-ments within the building. Technology enhancements included three new High Definition cameras permanently installed in the Supreme Court Courtroom and connected to a commercial grad production video switcher. The new video recording system will allow the Court's oral arguments and courtroom events to be recorded in a standard HD format and usable via download by the commer-cial media. As well as viewed by the public.

2 finalists named for DuPage associate judge vacancy

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Chief Circuit Judge John T. Elsner is pleased to announce that two finalists have been selected and certified to the Illinois Supreme Court. The finalists are seeking to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Judge Thomas C. Dudgeon. From these names, the Circuit Judges will select one appointee by secret ballot.

  • Robert W. Rohm, J.D.-Drake University Law School, 1990; admitted to practice of law in Illinois, 1990. Mr. Rohm is currently a partner with the law firm of Taylor Miller (1999-present). He is an active member with the DuPage County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.
  • Ann Celine O'Hallaren Walsh, J.D.-Chicago Kent College of Law, 1998; admitted to the practice of law in Illinois, 1999. Ms. O'Hallaren Walsh is currenty the Supervisor of the Sex Crimes/Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Unit fo the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office (1999-present). Ms. O'Hallaren Walsh is an active member of the DuPage County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, DuPage Association of Women Lawyers and Illinois Prosecutors Association.

Best Practice: Law firm staffing/growth models

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a 16 attorney insurance defense firm in Chicago Southwest Suburbs. We have 4 partners and the balance of our attorneys are associates - many of which have been with us for several years. We are on a growth spree and need to hire more associates to handle client assignments. Associate hiring, mentoring, and training has always been a challenge for us and our clients are restricting us in the way we use associates on their files. I would appreciate your thoughts.

ISBA Past President Tom Leahy 1951-2014

Posted on August 25, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Tom LeahyISBA Past President Tom Leahy, 62, of Chicago and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, died Saturday, August 23 after a short and valiant struggle with cancer. He served as ISBA President from 1993-1994 and as Chairman of ISBA Mutual Insurance Company from 1995-1996. Visitation will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28 at St. Clement Church, 642 W. Deming Pl., Chicago until celebration of Life Mass at noon. Private interment at Graceland Cemetery will take place at a later date

A graduate of Highland Park High School, University of Notre Dame and Loyola University School of Law, Chicago, Tom was a practicing trial lawyer specializing in plaintiffs' personal injury for over 35 years. During law school, Mr. Leahy worked for the personal injury defense firm of Clausen, Miller, Gorman, Caffrey & Witous and the plaintiff personal injury firm of Philip H. Corboy & Associates. Mr. Leahy became an associate attorney at the Corboy firm after graduation and remained there until he left to start his own firm in 1980, The Law Office of Tom Leahy. In 2002 he joined with Peter Hoste to form his Chicago law firm, Leahy & Hoste.