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Practice News

Quick Takes for Your Practice: The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Mechanics Liens

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

James M. Dash, founding member of the firm Carlson Dash LLC, discusses mechanics liens in Illinois. 

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation Seeks Three Attorneys

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals and groups in civil cases, is seeking three staff attorneys at the Northern Regional Office in Springfield.

The first position includes providing civil legal services ranging from advice to representation to individuals referred by the health care partner; developing and presenting training programs to faculty doctors, nurses, residents and other healthcare professionals; creating and presenting community legal education programs; supervising an intake specialist; and drafting quarterly reports.

Shining Moonlight on Witness Testimony

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Flawed witness testimony is as old as the notion of justice itself. A witness may have unquestionable integrity, but his memories and perspectives may be incomplete or incorrect. In his August Illinois Bar Journal column, retired circuit court judge Ron Spears examines Abraham Lincoln’s famous almanac trial for the lessons it reveals about flawed witnesses. Spears also discusses how discoveries in neuroscience are adding to our understanding of human memory and eyewitness identification. 

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, August 9

Posted on August 10, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Thursday, August 9. The supreme court addressed the issue of whether the lower court erred when it terminated a father’s parental rights on the grounds that he was an unfit person under the Adoption Act.

In re N.G., a minor, 2018 IL 121939

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC 

In a 4-3 decision of the Illinois Supreme Court, the majority’s expansive view of the judiciary’s obligation to right a constitutional wrong clashes with the dissent’s adherence to judicial restraint. The supreme court ruled that a circuit court cannot terminate parental rights on the basis of a parent’s felony criminal conviction, where the conviction was based on a statute later deemed unconstitutional on its face.

Best Practice Tips: Firm Administrator vs. Director of Administration or Chief Operating Officer

Posted on August 8, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Our firm is a 14-attorney firm in south Florida. I am the senior member of a three-member executive committee. Our firm is in the second generation of partners. The founders retired five years ago. Upon their retirements, we changed our governance from a managing partner to an executive committee model supplemented with an office administrator – some refer to the position as the office manager. Our executive committee model has worked relatively well. The administrator who we hired five years ago is still in place, but we are not satisfied with his performance. We believe that this is in part due to the fact that our expectations have changed. When we hired him, we thought that we needed an office administrator primarily to manage the office staff, billing, and the bookkeeping. So we hired an administrator who had an associate degree in accounting and had worked as an office manager in an eight-attorney firm for two years. He has done a good job managing the staff, billing, and the bookkeeping. However, we have now discovered that we want more – we want executive-level leadership. We want someone who is respected by all the attorneys and can:

Illinois Supreme Court Adopts Rules for Debt Collection Civil Suits, Identity Theft Recourse

Posted on August 7, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court recently adopted new rules that establish a more stringent process for debt collection companies to file civil cases, allow the court to more easily dismiss cases filed by those companies, and establish a process for purported victims of identity theft to contest liability. 

Illinois Supreme Court Rules 280-280.5 go into effect Oct. 1.

Rules 280 and 280.1 define applicability and definitions of legal terms for civil action. Rule 280.2 establishes a uniform affidavit that courts will accept to identify basic information in civil complaints filed by debt collection companies.

Google Street View and Opinions

Posted on August 7, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Attorneys defending a village against a sidewalk slip-and-fall case are caught off guard when the plaintiff produces images from Google Map’s Street View allegedly showing the sidewalk had been in poor condition for years prior to the plaintiff’s fall. If the court accepts the images, the plaintiff has a much stronger case that the village had constructive notice and plenty of time to make the repairs before the plaintiff fell. But do the images actually prove anything at all?

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, August 2

Posted on August 2, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Thursday, August 2. The court reversed a summary judgment in favor of the City of Danville in a case in which a plaintiff sued the municipality after tripping and falling on an uneven seam in a sidewalk.

Monson v. City of Danville

By Joanne R. Driscoll, Forde Law Offices LLP

On a subject frequently visited by the Illinois Supreme Court, tort immunity, the Court was called upon to refine the contours of sections 2-109 ad 2-201 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Act) (745 ILCS 10/2-109, 2-201 (West 2012)) and to determine whether section 3-102(a) of the Act (id. § 3-102(a)) supersedes those provisions. The majority opinion and the concurrence provide an interesting read on statutory interpretation.

Quick Takes for Your Practice: How Immigration Status can Impact the Legal Advice You Provide

Posted on August 1, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Marta Delgado, attorney and co-founder of the firm Delgado Rompf Bruen LLC, discusses how a client’s immigration status can impact the legal advice you provide and best practice tips for helping clients remain in the U.S. lawfully. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Merger or Of Counsel Arrangement with Larger Firms

Posted on August 1, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a solo practitioner in upstate New York and I hope to retire in three years and move to Florida. I have been talking with a larger firm with 20 attorneys in Albany that has an interest in me either merging my practice with their firm or joining as Of Counsel. My plan would be to work three more years, gradually phase back, and transition clients and referral sources.

I have had several meetings with the partners in the firm and they are now asking me for detailed due diligence information – tax returns, financial statements, etc. I have no problem providing these documents, but I was wondering if I should be asking them for information. What do you think?