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Practice News

Dirksen Courthouse to remain open during major 3-year renovation

Posted on August 12, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Even during a three-year, round-the-clock renovation soon to be under way, the Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, home of the nation's third largest federal district court, will remain open with normal hours for courts and government offices, the U.S. General Services Administration announced today. The phased construction, which begins in September, will be keyed to keeping the 30-story building open, along with its 57 courtrooms and 11 federal government offices. The renovation's major focus will be the replacement of the building's nearly 50-year-old heating and ventilation, fire alarm and lighting systems. Most work will be done at night and on weekends to limit disruptions. "The modernization of this architectural landmark designed by Mies van der Rohe exemplifies GSA's commitment to sustainable design," said GSA Acting Regional Administrator J. David Hood. "By making our public buildings higher-performing and more energy-efficient we maximize their value to the taxpayer. And with the benefits of new technology, we are renewing the future of this courthouse by building upon the creative energies that produced it and the stewardship that has preserved it." The building's largest tenant is the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois with 40 judges and more than 400 employees. The courthouse is also the seat of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Northern Illinois. Other tenants include the U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Trustees. Chief Judge James F. Holderman of the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois acknowledged that the project will cause some disruption and inconvenience. He said, however, "We of the United States District Court, as tenants, look forward to working cooperatively with GSA to keep the disruption to a minimum and the courts running smoothly as GSA completes these necessary renovations."

Share your success story: Practicing law in a challenging economy

Posted on August 11, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
We've heard all the negatives, but now we want to hear the success stories and share them with ISBA members. For the premiere print issue of Illinois Lawyer Now Quarterly in September, we would like to feature how ISBA members are adapting their practices in light of the challenging economic climate.
  • Have you succeeded in attracting new clients or growing your practice despite the downturn?
  • Have you been able to cut your overhead while still maintaining the same level of service?
  • Have you been successful in finding a new job despite the current economy?
If so, we want to hear how you did it! Please send your story (as long or as short as you feel necessary) to Alexa Giacomini, ISBA Director of Marketing & Membership at agiacomini@isba.org

Dress for courtroom success, not distress

Posted on August 10, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
"The Seventh Circuit Bar Association has seen its share of lively conversations at its meetings over the years, says Chicago lawyer and member Jeffrey E. Stone. But federal Judge Joan Lefkow, known for her softspoken grace, never expected that a discussion she launched at the meeting in Indianapolis on May 19 would incite a passionate debate that reverberated in the national news and blogosphere." So writes Helen Gunnarsson in her cover story in the August Illinois Bar Journal. She goes on to explore the topic of that discussion -- appropriate courtroom attire -- and to tell us what judges and ISBA members have to say about it. Learn what to keep and what to cull in your closet.

Trading lower debt for higher tax

Posted on August 5, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
When you help a debtor-client negotiate a new deal with a creditor, don't be surprised if the debt reduction generates a tax increase. "[I]n a non-bankruptcy, noninsolvency context, debtors and creditors are often surprised that a debt modification that does not appear to reduce principal or the effective interest rate may nevertheless result in adverse tax consequences," writes Steven W. Swibel in the latest issue of the ISBA's Commercial, Banking and Bankruptcy newsletter. Learn more about the tax traps.

Memory mastery

Posted on August 5, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
"Do you ever find yourself frantic and frustrated at the time and energy you're wasting searching for a paper or file, maybe just before you have to have it for a client meeting or a court hearing?" Helen Gunnarsson asks in the August Illinois Bar Journal. "Have you forgotten someone's name at an inopportune moment? Do you watch others speak calmly and confidently without notes, and wish that you could do so as well?" If so you'll want to read Helen's interview with memory expert Paul Mellor and -- more importantly, and please don't forget -- make plans to attend ISBA's Solo and Small Firm Conference in October, where Mellor is a plenary speaker.

Associate judge position open in DuPage County's 18th Judicial Circuit

Posted on August 4, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Chief Judge Stephen J. Culliton has announced that the Court is accepting applications to fill a vacancy for the Office of Associate Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, DuPage County. This vacancy is a result of the retirement of Associate Judge Mark W. Dwyer. Applications to fill this vacancy will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2009. Applicants must be a United States citizen, licensed to practice law in this state and a resident of DuPage County. Two original applications, submitted on the prescribed application form, must be filed with: Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Director Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts 3101 Old Jacksonville Road Springfield, IL 62704-6488 Applications can be obtained from the Chief Judge's Office, the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts or from the Supreme Court's website: www.state.il.us/court Applications may not be submitted electronically or via facsimile.

Correction for today's E-Clips

Posted on August 4, 2009 by James R. Covington
I had the wrong effective date for a new public act in today's E-Clips. PA 96-111 takes effect on Oct. 29, 2009. I had it down incorrectly as April 1, 2010. It does the following: Mortgage foreclosure. (1) Requires new owners of mortgaged real estate—a holder or purchaser, receiver, or mortgagee-in-possession—to give notice to known occupants of “dwelling units” of changes in ownership after a judicial sale. For mortgagees-in-possession it allows the occupant to retain possession of the rented property for whichever is shorter: (a) 120 days after the notice of the hearing on a properly served supplemental petition; or (b) the duration of the lease. If the duration of the lease is less than 30 days from the date of the order, the order must allow the occupant to stay for 30 days from the date of the order. (2) Requires a receiver to accept all rental payments from an occupant and any payments from a third party or any rental-assistance program. (3) Prohibits a receiver from increasing the rent without leave of court. The court must find by a preponderance of the evidence that the increase is necessary to operate and conserve the real estate. No hearing or notice is necessary for approval for an increase in a specific unit if the occupant agrees to the increase. Makes other changes.

Changes in judgeships

Posted on August 4, 2009 by James R. Covington
Public Act 96-108 took effect July 30, 2009. It amends judgeships in the following circuits: 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 19th, and 22nd. It also creates some new judgeships. Click here for more information.

Fourth District accepting applications for Appellate Court Clerk

Posted on August 3, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
The Fourth District of the Illinois Appellate Court is accepting applications for the vacancy of Appellate Court Clerk. Resumes (original and 7 copies) directed to the Presiding Judge must be received by the Clerk's Office no later than 5 p.m. on Aug. 14. The court has expressed a strong preference to fill this position by an attorney with appellate experience licensed to practice in the State of Illinois. Send resumes to: Clerk's Office 201 W. Monroe Street Springfield, IL 62701

FTC delays implementation of 'Red Flags Rule'

Posted on July 30, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
Whew. Lawyers scrambling to create identify-theft policies to comply with the August 1 implementation deadline for the FTC's "Red Flags Rule" can breathe a little easier. It's been pushed back to November 1. The ABA Journal and the Blog of Legal Times have more.

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