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Practice News

Quick Takes for Your Practice: New Divorce Issues Related to Pets

Posted on June 12, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Attorney Angela Peters discusses the treatment of pets in divorce cases.

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Succession Planning – Getting the Conversation Started

Posted on June 6, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Our firm is a 17-attorney business law firm in Chicago. Our clients consist of mid-size companies and a few Fortune 500 companies. There are eight partners and nine associates in the firm. Four of the eight partners are in their early 60s and the other four partners are in their 40s and 50s. The four senior partners are the founders of the firm. Consequently, we have not had to deal with succession of partners until now. While we realize that we need to be thinking about succession planning, we have not made much headway. The senior partners are reluctant to discuss their retirement plans and timelines. We would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Issued Friday, June 1

Posted on June 5, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Friday, June 1. The court determined that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction to review a circuit court clerk’s imposition of fines that were not ordered by the circuit court.

People v. Vara

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

Following his conviction of child pornography, defendant Ricardo Vara was sentenced to a three-year prison term and ordered to pay various fines by the court. Subsequently, the circuit clerk recorded those fines in an electronic accounts receivable record. The clerk also recorded other mandatory fines that had not been imposed by the judge. On appeal, Vara challenged the clerk’s imposition of those additional fines, arguing that while they were mandatory, they were void because the clerk lacked the authority to impose fines. The appellate court agreed and vacated the fines in question.

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

Posted on June 1, 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 three years post-J.D. legal experience. U.S. citizenship is required.

Preferred qualifications: At least five years post-J.D. legal or other relevant experience, strong advocacy skills, academic credentials, superior legal research and writing skills, quick analytical ability to accurately and precisely articulate critical case-related issues, criminal prosecutorial courtroom experience, good interpersonal skills, the ability to work in a supportive and professional team environment with client agencies, support staff, and other attorneys, and a demonstrated instances of sound legal and ethical judgment.

PILI Announces 2018 Class of Law Student Interns and Graduate Fellows

Posted on May 31, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) has announced the 2018 class of summer interns and fellows. This year, 49 summer law student interns and 76 graduate fellows will provide 42,400 hours of legal services at any of PILI’s 57 participating agencies. 

PILI’s Law Student Internship Program connects law students from across the country with public interest law agencies in Illinois and pays them for their work. Summer 2018 PILI interns come from 19 law schools and include rising 2Ls and 3Ls. They will each provide 400 hours of legal services at 28 legal service agencies, for a total of 19,600 hours served. See a full list of the 2018 law student interns. 

Depositions Under Illinois Law: The Federal Example

Posted on May 30, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Yes, you can depose a corporation. While Illinois courts have said little about obtaining deposition testimony from representatives of a corporation, several federal decisions are instructive. Corporations can designate a person to speak as the corporation — and not only regarding facts. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b) also extends testifying to subjective beliefs and opinions. 

Corporate designees may be held to a high standard when speaking on behalf of a corporation. Answers such as “I don’t know” may not only bind the corporation to the deponent’s ignorance but may also result in sanctions for failing to produce a witness with responsive knowledge. This places a burden on corporations to ensure individuals speaking on their behalf are adequately prepared. 

Quick Takes for Your Practice: Ethically and Profitably Referring Personal Injury Cases

Posted on May 30, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Attorney Daniel Breen discusses ethically and profitably referring personal injury cases, including best practices as well as potential risks and pitfalls.

Best Practice Tips: Outsourcing Appellate Work

Posted on May 30, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. We have a six-attorney insurance defense firm in Kansas City. For the last few years, our associate attorney costs have gotten out of control and in some cases, revenues generated by particular attorneys are not even close to where they should be considering their costs. We have one associate attorney who we pay a base salary who only does appellate brief work. He does not like litigation and does a poor job doing our “bread-and-butter” litigation work. We simply don’t have enough appeals to keep him busy. We are paying him a base salary of $100,000 a year. Last year his working attorney fees collected were $110,000. I welcome your thoughts.

Sleuthing the ‘Net

Posted on May 25, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Investigative avenues have opened up considerably in the past quarter-century thanks to the internet and, more recently, social media. 

Half of all divorce cases use evidence obtained from social media, according to a study conducted three years ago by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers. The internet and social media platforms contain a treasure trove of invaluable personal information that investigators and attorneys can use to disqualify jurors, confirm or question alibis, validate or disprove workers’ compensation claims, and generally smoke out the truth.

But getting a hold of this information depends not only on your knowledge of free and paid online resources, but also the creativity and thoroughness of your search strategies.  

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Two, Suspends 13 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on May 24, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on May 24, 2018. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.


  • Benjamin William Meyer, Wheaton

Mr. Meyer, who was licensed in 2011, was disbarred on consent. He pleaded guilty to three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child in Ogle County and was sentenced to serve ten years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for each count, 30 years in total, to be served consecutively, with 85 days credit based on his actual time in custody. The sentencing judge also ordered him to provide a DNA sample, submit to sexually transmitted disease and HIV testing, pay fees and costs and, once released, register as a sex offender for the duration of his natural life.