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Practice News

Fastcase tip of the week: Jump to the most relevant paragraph in a case

Posted on November 24, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Fastcase helps you search smarter by allowing you to jump to the most relevant paragraph in a case with one click.  When browsing a case, just press the M key.  Alternatively, you can click on the Jump to the most relevant paragraph link at the top of the screen.  You will automatically be directed to the paragraph of the case that is most relevant to your search terms.  Use this feature to move through your search results more efficiently and focus on the cases that are important to you. Note: This feature is currently only enabled when using Internet Explorer.  It is not enabled in other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Apple Safari at this time. Questions? Call us at 1-866-773-2782 (7AM-7PM Central Mon-Fri) or e-mail

Questioning in ICU didn't trigger Miranda

Posted on November 23, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
In People v. Vasquez, the second district held that police questioning of the defendant in a hospital's intensive care unit did not require Miranda warnings. As Sean Brady wrote in the latest ISBA Traffic Laws and Courts newsletter, the appellate court "reversed the trial court and ruled that the proper advisement and waiver of the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during questioning was unnecessary in Vasquez because the defendant was not in custody at the time of the interview and the misdemeanor DUI charge did not create a sixth amendment right to counsel." Read Sean's article.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Kilbride named Judge of the Year by ABOTA

Posted on November 23, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Justice Thomas Kilbride
Justice Thomas Kilbride
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride has been named Judge of the Year by the Illinois Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Justice Kilbride was honored and received the award on Friday, Nov. 20, at the University Club in Chicago. "Justice Kilbride was chosen not only because of his career on the Illinois Supreme Court, but also because of his 20 years in private practice," said Illinois ABOTA president Geoffrey L. Gifford. "His good public works, all the good things he's done in pro bono and other community service make him an unusually well-qualified candidate for this award." ABOTA is a 50-year-old national organization of civil trial lawyers comprised of an equal number of well-respected, highly talented plaintiff and defense attorneys. Its primary focus is to preserve the right of a trial by jury in civil cases, and the independence of the judiciary. The Illinois Chapter has about 90 members. Justice Kilbride, who grew up in Kankakee, received his B.A. degree magna cum laude from Saint Mary's in 1978; and his law degree from Antioch School of Law in Washington D.C. in 1981. While in law school, Justice Kilbride completed judicial internships for the administrative assistant to the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and for U.S. District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green.

Rules of Professional Conduct amended

Posted on November 23, 2009 by James R. Covington
Today the Supreme Court of Illinois amended Rule 1.15 and 3.9 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. Both changes are effective Jan. 1, 2010. Rule 1.15 is amended to change the definition of "safe harbor," which is a yield that if paid by the financial institution on IOLTA accounts is deemed as a comparable return in compliance with this Rule. It now provides that the yield may be calculated as 70% of the Federal Funds Target Rate on the first business day of the calendar month "or 1%, whichever is higher." (New text in quotation marks.) The second change deletes the recent incorporation of Rule 3.5 (ex parte prohibitions) into Rule 3.9, which regulates advocates in nonadjudicative proceedings. It clarifies that Rule 3.9 applies only when a lawyer represents a client in an official hearing or meeting of a governmental agency or legislative body to which the lawyer or the lawyer's client is presenting evidence or argument. It does not apply to representation of a client in otherwise permitted lobbying activities.

Student loan forgiveness for public interest lawyers

Posted on November 20, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
The latest ISBA Government Lawyers newsletter contains a well-written, helpful summary of various loan forgiveness programs available to public interest lawyers. And "public interest lawyer" is pretty broadly defined. It includes assistant AGs, PDs, state's attorneys -- not just legal-aid lawyers, in other words (though it does include them, of course). The article highlights the Public Interest Attorney Assistance Act, which takes effect January 1 and "allows for loan assistance of a maximum of $6,000 per year, up to a career maximum of $30,000 in qualified loan forgiveness," according to Colleen Morgan. But there are other programs, too. Read Colleen's article to find out whether you or someone you know qualifies for help.

FMLA -- "qualifying exigency leave" now available for military families

Posted on November 19, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act signed last month by President Obama is good for military families, as Mike Lied explains in the new ISBA Labor and Employment Law newsletter: "Under the NDAA, qualifying 'exigency leave' now allows an eligible employee to take leave for a qualifying exigency related to the deployment of a son/daughter or parent who is a member of a regular component of the armed forces. 'Called to active duty' is no longer limited to contingency operations, but now also applies to a situation in which a member of either the regular or reserve components is deployed to any foreign country." Jasmine Villaflor Hernandez provides more detail in her article in the same issue.

Illinois Supreme Court disbars 3 lawyers, suspends 11

Posted on November 19, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
The Illinois Supreme Court disbarred 3 lawyers, suspended 11 and censured 1 this week in its latest disciplinary filing. Most of the suspensions take effect on Dec. 8. More information on each case is available on the Web site of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.


  • Edward Earle Hearn, Chicago
Mr. Hearn, who was licensed in 1987, was disbarred. While serving as a pastor of a Chicago church, he misappropriated over $80,000 of church funds.
  • Kenneth Edward Mateas, Aurora
Mr. Mateas, who was licensed in 1982, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted in Kane County of reproducing child pornography. He was sentenced to a four-year prison term and must register for life as a sex offender.
  • John F. Pawloski, Belleville
Mr. Pawloski, who was licensed to practice in 1997, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated more than $25,000 from three estates where he had been appointed as temporary public guardian. He also failed to diligently represent three other clients.


  • James Gordon Banks, Schaumburg
Mr. Banks, who was licensed in 2000, was suspended for ninety days. He knowingly hired a disbarred attorney to work in his office as a paralegal.
  • Mark D. Bradley, Decatur
Mr. Bradley, who was licensed in 1980, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court.

Does the Illinois Open Meetings Act violate the First Amendment?

Posted on November 18, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
Maybe, report Peter Friedman and Stuart Weiss in the new ISBA Local Goverment Law newsletter. At least if a recent decision by the federal fifth circuit catches fire with other federal appellate courts. Interpreting the Texas Open Meetings Act in Avinash Rangra v. Frank D. Brown, the fifth circuit held that "the enforcement of one of the cornerstone provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act—that a majority of the quorum is the trigger for a meeting under the Act—is subject to a legal standard that may make it very difficult for this and similar provisions in other states to withstand constitutional scrutiny," Friedman and Weiss write. Read the article.

Best Practice tip of the week: Thinking about retirement? Turning 50? Some things to consider

Posted on November 18, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Asked and Answered By John W. Olmstead Q. I am sole owner of an 8 attorney firm. Two other attorneys are income partners - no equity - and the other five attorneys are associates. I am just turning 50 and am beginning to think about future retirement. What questions/issues should I be thinking about? A. Fifty seems to be the point at which attorneys being thinking about their retirement and their future. Some even consider and in fact make complete career changes at this point in their lives. Here are a few questions to begin thinking about: 1. Have you decided when you want to retire and leave your firm? Or do you want to work forever? 2. What amount of cash or annual cash flow do you need when you exit? 3. Do you presently have a retirement plan and how much income to you project that it will provide at different exit times? 4. To whom do you want to transfer your interest? Family members in law school, other attorneys in the firm, another firm, etc? 5. Based on future cash flow, do you know how much the firm is worth today? 6. Do you know how to best maximize the income stream generated by the firm - in the years ahead while you are still with the firm and after you leave the firm? 7. Have you been able to institutionalize the firm - or is it uniquely you? 8. Is the firm even marketable? 9. Do you have a succession/exit plan? 10. Do you have a plan for your business if the unexpected happens to you? 11. Have you taken steps to protect your family's wealth? John W.

ABA Executive Director resigns

Posted on November 17, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Henry F. White Jr., ABA Executive Director, has resigned after three years leading the Chicago-based association. ABA General Counsel R. Thomas Howell Jr. has been named interim executive director. "I wish Hank White well in his future endeavors, and thank him for his service to the ABA over the past three years," President Carolyn B. Lamm said in a statement. "I know that Tom Howell, who has served the association for many years both as a leading member and more recently as chief legal officer, will ensure that the association continues to serve its members and the public through a transition to new leadership."