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Practice News

Amended Illinois Supreme Court Rule Requires Additional Phrase for All Civil Summons

Posted on July 19, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

A recently-amended Illinois Supreme Court Rule requires the following language to be added to all civil summons:

“E-filing is now mandatory for documents in civil cases with limited exemptions. To e-file, you must first create an account with an e-filing service provider. Visit https://efile.illinoiscourts.gov/service-providers.htm to learn more and to select a service provider. If you need additional help or have trouble e-filing, visit http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/FAQ/gethelp.asp or talk with your local circuit clerk's office.”

The language, "or talk with your local circuit clerk's office" was added to the Rule on July 19. The amended Rule takes effect immediately. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Structure and Elevating Associates to Partnership

Posted on July 19, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I started my firm as a solo practitioner nine years ago in New Orleans. My practice focuses on maritime defense litigation. Over the years I have added associates and currently I have six associates working for me. I am overwhelmed with work – from the legal work that I am doing in addition to business development and firm administration. My thought is that I should consider restructuring the firm by making some of my associates partners so I can offload and share some of the administrative responsibilities. I would like your thoughts. What are other firms in my situation doing?

Is It Time to Define ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’?

Posted on July 17, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Illinois is one of only 10 states that do not define "reasonable doubt" for juries.

Illinois courts have a well-established precedent to refrain from defining for juries what "beyond a reasonable doubt" means. The principle also is baked into the Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions-Criminal, which informs trial courts to not provide a definition instruction, stating: "reasonable doubt is a term which needs no elaboration and we have so frequently discussed the futility of attempting to define it that we might expect the practice to be discontinued." 

Administrative United States Penitentiary Seeks Senior CLC Attorney

Posted on July 16, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The legal practice at the Administrative United States Penitentiary, located in Thomson, Ill., is seeking a senior Consolidated Legal Center (CLC) attorney. 

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least one year post-J.D. legal experience. 

Prior experience in correctional law is desired though not required. 

U.S. Attorney's Office Seeks Assistant U.S. Attorney

Posted on July 16, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The U.S. Attorney's Office Central District of Illinois is accepting applications for an assistant United States attorney opening in its Criminal Division.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least one year post-J.D. legal experience. U.S. citizenship is required.

Admission to the Illinois bar is not required but is preferred. Criminal prosecution experience is preferred.

Quick Takes for Your Practice: Planning in Advance of Sudden Disability or Death

Posted on July 12, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Lisa M. Nyuli, partner at Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C., discusses how to plan in advance of a sudden disability or death. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Goodwill and Valuation

Posted on July 11, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the owner of a six-attorney litigation firm in the San Francisco Bay area. I am 60 years old and starting to consider gradually transferring my interest to associates in the firm. I have heard other attorneys mention that I should get some goodwill out of my practice. I would appreciate your thoughts.

A. Many law firm owners prefer to leave a legacy and keep the firm "within the family." They transition the firm to non-equity partners or associates in the firm at a discounted value, and buy-in as an incentive to stay on with the firm. 

Sued for the Policy That Wasn’t: Section 1983 after Glisson

Posted on July 9, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Leaders of an organization discuss a proposed policy at a meeting, but ultimately decide against it. Later, an incident occurs that may have been prevented had that policy been put in place and the organization is sued for dismissing the proposed policy. An article in July’s Illinois Bar Journal discusses the implications of Glisson v. Indiana Department of Corrections, which held that a municipality and private contractors may be liable for failing to adopt a policy that was considered, but not implemented. The Glisson case may have a profound impact on Section 1983 actions.

Ask A Lawyer: What is Collaborative Law Practice? Is it right for me?

Posted on July 6, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Chicago attorney Sandra Crawford discusses what collaborative law practice is, what kinds of cases the model is used to resolve, and what you should ask your lawyer if you're interested in using collaborative law practice to resolve your matter.

Best Practice Tips: Lawyer Performance and Setting Expectations

Posted on July 6, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the owner of a real estate practice in Rockford. I have two offices – one in Rockford and the other in Chicago. I started my practice 20 years ago and have had my associate for the past five years. He works in the Chicago office and I work in the Rockford office. Prior to this associate I had two other associates that did not work out. My present associate has 14 years’ experience and worked in three other law firms. I am not happy with his performance. The legal assistant that works with him has advised me that he often does not come into the office until 10 a.m. and often leaves in the middle of the day. Clients have complained that he does not return phone calls or emails. His production is low – his annual billable hours have never been above 1,200 hours. I am paying him a salary of $98,000. I have had numerous conversations with him about these issues to no avail. Frankly, I am sick of it – I don’t trust him and things need to change. What should be my next step?

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