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Best Practice: Law firm partner compensation - Individual vs. firm-based

Posted on December 3, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a nine-attorney firm in Cincinnati. We have four equity partners and five associates. Partners are compensated on the basis of their ownership shares which are currently 25% each. In the past the system worked well - but now we are having problems. The two senior partners are working and contributing less and are taking out half of the compensation which is causing dissatisfaction and division within the firm. We have been discussing alternative approaches. Should we consider a system total focused on individual partner performance and production - an eat-what-you kill if you will?

A. I agree that personal production and performance should have a relationship and a tie to compensation. However, a move to a total eat-what-you-kill system might be a drastic first-step move. Eat-what-you-kill approaches can often destroy teamwork in firms that desire to be team-based firms. For firms that want to be lone ranger firms eat-what-you-kill is fine.

CLE: Running Your Office on a Budget (during Midyear/Joint Meeting)

Posted on December 2, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Join us in Chicago on December 12, 2014 as Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch – two internationally recognized Internet trainers and authors of seven American Bar Association Law Practice Division books – shows us how to practice on a budget! Attorneys with all levels of practice experience who attend this program will better understand: how to jumpstart your legal research by using free and low cost online resources and Fastcase; what the ISBA Fastcase plan includes and how to use it; how two new federal government websites can help you conduct your legal research while staying on budget; how to start running your office on a budget by using Google’s Cloud Gmail and Calendar Business apps, share your calendar, and make phone calls free of charge and how ethics affects the way you practice in the Cloud; and much more! This Master Series seminar qualifies for 3.0 hours MCLE credit, including 3.0 hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.

Illinois Lawyer Finder makes nearly 800 referrals in November

Posted on December 2, 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 November 2014, ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:

Here are the results for November 2014:

  • 783 phone referrals made by Lawyer Finder staff
  • Most requested areas of law: Family (139), Criminal Law (119), Civil Disputes (85), Real Estate (76), Personal Injury (72), Employment Law (53) and Civil Rights (42).
  • 18,278 visits to (16,419 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.

YLD Holiday Party to benefit Children's Assistance Fund

Posted on December 2, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Please join us at the ISBA/YLD Annual Holiday Party and show your support for the IBF/ YLD Children's Assistance Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable entity. Initially created to assist with the opening of children's waiting rooms in courthouses across the State of Illinois, the IBF/YLD Children's Assistance Fund has since grown, and now provides funding to organizations across the State of Illinois that provide legal assistance to children, maintain children's waiting rooms in courthouses, work to reduce recidivism of juveniles, and/or work to reduce the incidents of domestic violence in families with children.

WHEN: Friday, December 5, 2014, 6 p.m.-10 p.m.

WHERE: Duffy's Tavern and Grille, 420½ W. Diversey, Chicago, Illinois

WHAT: Open Bar, Warm Appetizers, and Live Band!

COST: $50 per person for tickets purchased at the door the evening of the event.

Veterans Advocacy as “thank you for your service”

Posted on December 2, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

By E. Alex Espinoza, Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps, Veterans Legal Corps - Legal Fellow, U.S. Army Reserve

Each Veteran’s Day, our nation pauses to thank our 19.6 million living veterans. As an Iraq War veteran, I can attest to the awkwardness of responding to “thank you for your service.” At best, veterans don’t know how to respond. A response of “you’re welcome” seems too self-serving. At worst, “thank you for your service” is considered only lip service; a required response similar to “gesundheit” or “bless you” after a sneeze.

Ready to Lead? Nominate Yourself for an ISBA Committee or Section Council

Posted on December 2, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

By Umberto S. Davi, ISBA President-Elect

Looking for a chance to lead? To grow? To make a difference in the Illinois State Bar Association and the legal profession? Then consider nominating yourself for one of our many section councils and committees for 2015-16.

As president-elect, it's my privilege to make appointments to section councils and committees for the coming fiscal year. These small but influential groups are the lifeblood of the ISBA. They produce newsletters and CLE programs, propose legislation, and help ISBA serve its members in countless ways.

Colon-Sayre appointed associate judge in Will County

Posted on December 1, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the Twelfth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Jessica Colon-Sayre as an associate judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit.

Ms. Colon-Sayre received her undergraduate degree in 1996 from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, and her Juris Doctor in 2001 from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Ms. Colon-Sayre is currently affiliated with the Will County State's Attorney's Office in Joliet.

Supreme Court Dinner among highlights of 2014 Joint Midyear Meeting

Posted on December 1, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Join judges and lawyers from across the state to conduct the business of the bench and bar and celebrate professional achievements. Highlights include an Opening Reception, a luncheon presentation by Attorney General of the United States Eric H. Holder, Jr., and an evening celebration honoring the Justices of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Additional programs and business meetings will be held throughout the conference. All this camaraderie takes place at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, steps away from the holiday pageantry Chicago offers during this time of year. Advance registration ends Dec. 5.

Find out more and register at

Rule 138 amended to remove ban on disclosing minors' names, birthdates

Posted on November 24, 2014 by Mark S. Mathewson

On Nov. 21, the Illinois Supreme Court amended its Rule 138 privacy provisions to remove a ban on publication of minors' names in civil cases. The ban, which would have taken effect January 1 if not for the amendment, was opposed by the ISBA and its Family Law Section Council. The ISBA testified against the ban at a public hearing of the Supreme Court Rules Committee in 2013.

Before Friday's amendments, Rule 138 was set to prohibit inclusion of "birth dates" and "names of individuals known to be minors" in court documents and exhibits. It would have allowed only minors' initials and birth years to appear.

Critics' principal objection to the ban was that it "conflict[ed] with other statutes that, for example, require a child's name and birth date to be included in unified orders of child support and joint parenting agreements," wrote Adam Lasker in the November 2013 Illinois Bar Journal. (Also see Janan Hanna's article in the February 2014 IBJ for more about the ban and critics' concerns.)

U.S. District Court for Southern Illinois seeks Pro Se Law Clerk

Posted on November 24, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois is seeking a full time temporary Pro Se Law Clerk. This temporary position is for one year and one day and may be extended but may not exceed four years, unless it becomes permanent. The Pro Se Law Clerk provides legal advice and assistance to the court in connection with prisoner petitions and complaints. The successful candidate for this position will report to the Chief Judge.

POSITION: Pro Se Law Clerk, Full Time Temporary*
SALARY RANGE: JSP 11 ($57,982) to JSP 14 ($126,949), depending on qualifications**
DATE POSTED: November 24, 2014
CLOSING DATE: December 15, 2014, at 4 p.m.
* Position may become permanent without further competition
** Position is promotion eligible without further competition