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Practice News

Over 1,200 New Illinois Lawyers to Be Admitted on Thursday

Posted on November 5, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

New attorneys will be admitted to practice in Illinois on Thursday, Nov. 8, with Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court justices presiding and administering the attorney's oath to 1,283 new attorneys at five separate locations across the state. 

All of the candidates set to be sworn in have passed the Illinois State Bar Examination and a required ethics examination and were certified by the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. They will bring the total number of licensed attorneys in Illinois to approximately 98,000.

The largest group, 1,051, will be admitted in the First Judicial District during two ceremonies at the Arie Crown Theater, located at 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, in Chicago. The ceremonies will be at 9:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Illinois Supreme Court Justices Mary Jane Theis and P. Scott Neville, Jr., will preside over the morning ceremony.

Noncompetes: Consideration, Peppered with Confusion

Posted on November 5, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Suppose your client walks into your office and explains that he has been sued by his former employer for violation of a noncompete clause in his employment contract. Your client signed the noncompete a week after starting his employment and then worked for the employer for 23 months. Is the noncompete supported by adequate consideration? The answer could depend on the judge and court hearing the case.

A postemployment restrictive covenant must be supported by adequate consideration—generally characterized as “employment for a substantial period of time.” But what is a “substantial period of time”? May other forms of consideration be substituted? Does it matter if an employee quits or is terminated with or without cause? Illinois appellate courts have been unable to clearly answer these questions.

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, November 1

Posted on November 1, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Thursday, Nov. 1. The supreme court upheld the dismissal of a man’s post-conviction petition in an armed robbery case.

People v. Dupree

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Torrence DuPree was charged with, and convicted of, two counts of armed robbery for an incident in 2010. Evidence at trial was that two men drove to an apartment complex to sell marijuana to a third. During the transaction, a hooded man approached the seller’s vehicle, displayed a weapon, and took money and a backpack. No physical evidence linked DuPree to the offense, but the prosepective marijuana purchaser identified him as the offender. Also, one of the vehicle’s occupants identified DuPree in a photo array, stating that he was 70 percent certain of the identification. That witness also described the offender as being at least 6 feet tall, but DuPree was only 5 feet, 8 inches tall. The vehicle’s driver did not testify at trial.

Best Practice Tips: What Law Firms Must Do to Remain Competitive in the Internet Age

Posted on October 31, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a 12-attorney family law firm in Kansas City, Mo. We have been in practice for about 30 years. During the last 10 years we have shifted more of our advertising from print directories and advertising to the internet. Today virtually all of our work comes from the internet. While to some extent this has been a blessing, it has also been a curse as we must continue to make investments in search engine optimization, update the website, and pay to be included in online directories. It is a vicious circle and we are losing business to new attorneys who are just starting out, creating first-class websites, and making online investments.  I would appreciate your thoughts.

When the ARDC Comes Knocking

Posted on October 29, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

You receive a 14-day letter from the ARDC. What do you do? Be calm. Accurately lay out the facts. Question anything you don't understand. Ask for an extension—if you need one. The good news? Most ARDC claims are dismissed upfront. Charges that lead to a hearing still need to be proved with “clear and convincing evidence,” says Jeff Corso of Cooney, Corso & Moynihan in Downers Grove and a member of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on the ARDC. In November 2018’s Illinois Bar Journal, writer Ed Finkel unpacks and demystifies the ARDC’s complaint process and provides tips from experts on how to properly interact with the agency if a 14-day letter lands in your mailbox. 

United States Trustee Program Seeks Assistant United States Trustee

Posted on October 26, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The United States Trustee Program is accepting applications for an Assistant United States Trustee position.

Internal candidates who wish to be considered must have at least five years post-J.D. professional legal experience in interpreting, applying, and advocating on behalf of clients the provisions of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and related laws, rules, and regulations that arise in bankruptcy cases.

Best Practice Tips: Developing a Client-Service Improvement Plan

Posted on October 24, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. We have a 24-attorney litigation firm in Pittsburgh. We represent insurance companies and business firms. We recently conducted a client satisfaction survey of our top-tier clients via telephone and face-to-face interviews. We have discovered that we have numerous issues regarding client satisfaction. Where do we go from here?

Standing Here or There?

Posted on October 22, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Appellate and trial courts are issuing inconsistent decisions concerning proper standing and jurisdiction following the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins. The uncertainty created by these decisions means judges and attorneys must juggle many variables when considering choice of venue in Illinois and other states. The difference is in how each court defines concrete injury and whether the threat of future harm is sufficiently concrete. An illustration of these inconsistencies is in cases brought by consumers affected by data breaches. In those cases, consumers’ personal information became exposed to parties not authorized to see or possess it. Claims based on data breaches typically include, if not solely rely on, allegations that consumers were injured because the mere exposure of their personal information created a threat of future harm. Read Mark Bernstein’s article, “Standing Here or There?,” in October’s Illinois Bar Journal for a detailed analysis of venue and jurisdiction implications when trying or defending cases involving concrete-injury and future-harm claims.

Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Issued Thursday, October 18

Posted on October 18, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down seven opinions on Thursday, October 18. The court affirmed that the warrantless use of a drug-detection dog at a man’s apartment door violated his Fourth Amendment rights in People v. Bonilla, reversed the appellate court’s judgment vacating a man’s sentences and remanding for resentencing for a murder conviction in People v. Harris, upheld a circuit court’s decision to seal two motions filed by a defendant facing murder charges in People v. Zimmerman, and affirmed a defendant’s conviction for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church in People v. Newton. The supreme court also reversed a circuit court’s decision to dismiss eminent domain complaints against landowners in Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois v. Hutchings, considered the meaning of the phrase “unable to satisfy any judgment” in Cassidy v. China Vitamins, LLC, and affirmed a circuit court’s order dismissing claims against an insurance company in American Family Mutual Insurance Company v. Krop.

Best Practice Tips: The Focused Law Firm

Posted on October 17, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am part of a three-member management committee. We have a 25-attorney firm located in the greater Washington D.C. area. We specialize in governmental law. We are feeling that our committee and the firm spend a lot of time in meetings discussing management problems and strategies to no avail. Not much changes or gets implemented. I welcome your comments.