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Practice News

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

Posted on April 6, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The U.S. Attorney's Office Northern District of Illinois is accepting applications for an assistant United States attorney opening in its Civil Division, primarily to handle bankruptcy and commercial lien cases and matters.

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

Preferred qualifications: Excellent academics, significant litigation experience, bankruptcy law experience, strong legal writing skills, and commitment to public service.

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, April 5

Posted on April 5, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion today in People v. Pepitone. At issue in this case was whether Section 11-9.4-1(b) of the Criminal Code of 2012, which prohibits sexual predators or child sex offenders to knowingly be present in any public park building or on real property comprising any public park, is facially violative of substantive due process. Jay Wiegman of the Office of the State Appellate Defender reviews the court's ruling.

People v. Pepitone

Section 11-9.4-1(b) of the Criminal Code of 2012 prohibits “sexual predators” and “child sex offenders” from being knowingly present in any public park building or on real property comprising any public park. 720 ILCS 5/11 9.4 1(b) (West 2016). In People v. Pepitone, 2018 IL 122034, the Illinois Supreme Court considered whether this statute was facially violative of substantive due process and determined that it was not. 

The defendant in Pepitone, who had been convicted in 1999 of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and sentenced to a six-year prison term, was arrested in 2013 while walking his dog in a public park in Bolingbrook. A jury found him guilty of being a child sex offender in a public park, and he was sentenced to 24 months’ conditional discharge, 100 hours of public service, and $400 in fines and costs. 

Quick Takes for Your Practice: Social Media Advertising

Posted on April 5, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Eric J. Anderson, partner with Info Law Group, LLP in Chicago, discusses how to keep social media advertising legal.

Associate Attorney Motivation

Posted on April 4, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is a 14-attorney firm in Chicago. There are nine partners and five associates in the firm. Our practice is limited to insurance defense. I am one of the founders and senior partners in the firm and have been practicing for 35 years. We are having problems getting our associates to produce at the levels that we need for the firm to be profitable. We have an annual 1,800 billable hour requirement and several of our associates are not even close. We have a bonus system that pays associates a bonus based upon billable hours exceeding 1,800 billable hours. What are we doing wrong?

The High Price of Free Email

Posted on April 4, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

Digital technology and internet connectivity allow attorneys and staff to work from almost anywhere. Storing data in cloud-based practice management programs is becoming more common, with the vaunted security of these systems being a major selling point.

But a surprising number of attorneys use free email accounts from vendors such as AOL, Yahoo, and Google in their law practices. While these accounts are attractive because they help small and solo firms reduce overhead — it can't get cheaper than free, right? — they come with serious security risks.

Law Firm Growth Planning

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a six-lawyer insurance defense litigation firm in Jackson, Mississippi. There are three partners and three associates in the firm. Our firm has been at its present size for many years, revenues have been flat, and profits have been shrinking. The partners have been discussing the pros and cons of growth and we would like to significantly grow the practice. A couple of our insurance company clients have asked us to open offices in other states and we are giving this consideration. Initially, we would open two other offices and we anticipate that this would require us to hire six additional attorneys. We appreciate any thoughts that you have.

ARDC Reports Positive Early Reaction to Lawyer Self-Assessment

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

The Illinois ARDC has implemented a new, first-in-the-nation self-assessment program for practicing attorneys that do not carry malpractice insurance.

Historically, Illinois has not required lawyers to carry malpractice insurance. While that's still the case, effective January 1, 2018, lawyers that do not carry malpractice insurance are required to take a free, four-hour online self-assessment course about law firm operations before they register for 2019.

USAO Seeks Assistant U.S. Attorney

Posted on March 23, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The United States Attorney Office for the Northern District is accepting applications for an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) opening in its Civil Division in Chicago. The applicant selected will represent the U.S. government as an AUSA in a wide range of defensive and affirmative civil litigation on behalf of the United States, its agencies, and its employees.

Qualifications: Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least 2 years post-J.D. experience. United States citizenship is required.

Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Issued Thursday, March 22

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down four unanimous opinions on Thursday, March 22. The court considered the manner, scope, and extent of voir dire in People v. Encalado, concluding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant’s proposed voir dire question. Relying on statutory construction principles and legislative intent, the court upheld a first degree murder conviction in People v. Manning. In People ex rel. Berlin v. Bakalis, the court directed the circuit court to vacate the defendant's one-year term of mandatory supervised release and impose the mandatory four-year term required under the Unified Code of Corrections. Lastly, the court affirmed the lower courts' ruling that State Farm's insured could recover underinsured motorist coverage in Thounsavath v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Co.


People v. Manning

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

Arthur Manning was charged with first degree murder arising out of the stabbing death of a “highly intoxicated and ultimately an unwelcome visitor at a residence occupied by defendant” and others. At trial, there was evidence of a fight between the decedent and several of the residents including Manning, who had been armed with a knife. The jury was instructed on self defense and second degree murder at Manning’s request.

5 Technologies That Can Transform Your Practice

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

Implementing the right technology can transform a law practice. And there's a good chance it isn't the shiny new tech object everyone is talking about.

"Often times with solo and smaller firms, and larger firms too, there is a feeling that a particular technology is required at your firm - where there's pressure or recommendations from consultants or colleagues that you should absolutely have a particular type of technology," says Jennifer Ramovs, director of practice management at Affinity Consulting. "And often we make decisions based on that pressure."

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