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Practice News

Best Practice Tips: Lawyer Retention Incentives

Posted on September 12, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the administrator of a 16-lawyer firm in south Florida. There are six equity partners, two non-equity partners, and eight associates. The firm was formed nine years ago, and we have not lost any attorneys during this period of time. We believe that we have a positive culture and great lawyer retention. However, we would like to do more to ensure that lawyers stay with the firm and implement more incentives for them to do so. I would appreciate your thoughts.

All Over the Map

Posted on September 10, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Globalization, ease of travel, emerging markets, and greater mobility make it easier for people to work, live, marry, and establish homes in different parts of the world. When a marriage dissolves between spouses from different countries or when a couple resides in a foreign country, competing foreign jurisdictions can add complexity to an already messy situation, especially in child custody matters. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, a multilateral treaty currently ratified by 93 countries as of March 2016, provides an expeditious protocol for the return of a child unilaterally removed by a parent from one member country to another. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Valuation - Factors that Effect Firm Value

Posted on September 5, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the owner of a small estate planning firm in Kansas City, Mo. I have two associates and four staff members. I am considering acquiring a small solo practice in a nearby community. I have read some of your articles as well as your book on succession planning and valuation, and the multiple of gross revenue used to establish a goodwill value for a law firm. What are some of the factors that can impact whether the multiple is higher or lower – a firm’s potential value?

Don’t Go There…Yet

Posted on September 4, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

There are few things litigators and judges dread more than a protracted discovery dispute. Given the angst discovery misconduct provokes, siccing the Illinois Supreme Court Rules on a culprit is understandable. But a measured response may be more prudent. Penalizing bad behavior with a default judgment is rarely necessary, even as a response to perjury or defiance of court orders. 

In September’s Illinois Bar Journal, appellate litigator Christopher Keleher examines discovery sanctions available for plaintiffs and defendants under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 219(c). There are good reasons the courts use default judgments against defendants and dismissals with prejudice against plaintiffs sparingly.

Spotlight on Pro Bono: Turn ‘Bored’ into ‘Board’

Posted on September 4, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

If summer’s end has you feeling a little restless, consider expanding your personal and professional lives by joining a nonprofit board of directors. Illinois has over 35,000 registered charities, covering any cause you can think of – from providing job training for people with autism to promoting African dance as an agent for positive change. If you have a closely held belief or a passion for a particular purpose or mission, there is undoubtedly an Illinois nonprofit for you to support. Support comes in a multitude of ways, from financial contributions to volunteering to raising awareness. 

IDFPR Publishes Resource on Legal Responsibilities of Condominium Association Board Members

Posted on August 29, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Division of Real Estate (DRE) recently published the “Rights and Responsibilities of Association Board Members” to explain the legal responsibilities of condominium and common interest community property boards. 

The publication includes general information regarding governance documents, board structure, elections, general powers, meetings, surplus and deficit, special assessments, financial disclosures, insurance, records, and disclosure.  

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Effective Rate Improvement

Posted on August 29, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a partner with a 16-attorney firm in downstate Illinois and a member on our three-person management committee. My responsibility on the committee is overseeing the firm’s finances and supervising the firm administrator’s accounting and finance. In reviewing our financial reports, I have noted that our effective billing rates (realization rates) are not what they should be. We are reluctant to raise client rates. What other steps can we take to improve our effective rates?

Quick Takes for Your Practice: The Basics of Intellectual Property

Posted on August 29, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Attorney Kenneth Matuszewsky, an associate at Rabicoff Law, LLC, discusses the basics of intellectual property, including the use of patents and trademarks.

More Bang for Your Buck

Posted on August 27, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

You've just renewed your ISBA membership for the new bar year—or are about to. Either way, it’s time to consider all the benefits that come with ISBA membership, especially since the association has launched several new and improved benefits during the past few years and as recently as this summer.

For ISBA members, this means access to an ever-increasing number of resources that pay for themselves several times over. Among benefits that recently have been enhanced: robust online peer-discussion communities; checklists and best practices that will help you manage your firm; in-person, online, and on-demand continuing legal education; federal and state caselaw research guided by artificial intelligence; a fully automated document assembly system tailored to Illinois law; a robust fee-sharing lawyer referral directory; and a marketplace full of professional discounts.

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Retreat Follow-up and Implementation

Posted on August 22, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a partner in an 18-attorney firm in Milwaukee. Over the years our firm has held retreats, but the results have been disappointing – a lot of talk and little action. We have the same problem in our monthly partner meetings. We spend a lot of time in meetings – discussions and decisions made but little implementation. This week we are having a partner vote to decide on whether to have a retreat this year. Frankly, I will vote against it and I think it will be a waste of time. What are your thoughts concerning law firm retreats?

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