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Practice News

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars 10, Suspends 16 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on September 20, 2018. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

Quick Takes on Illinois Supreme Court Opinions Issued Thursday, September 20

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down seven opinions on Thursday, September 20. The court unanimously upheld a state law that established rules for not-for-profit hospitals to avoid paying property taxes and ruled that law firms bringing qui tam actions against a corporation are entitled to attorney fees for outside counsel, but not fees for work done by the firm’s own attorneys. It also upheld the statutory summary suspension of a man’s driver’s license following his arrest for DUI drugs, dismissed a defendant’s appeal on procedural grounds, affirmed a modified appellate court judgment considering fee assessments, upheld an appellate court’s decision to not award a man additional days of credit against his prison sentence, and upheld a defendant’s conviction of drug-related homicide.

Oswald v. Hamer 

By Michael T. Reagan, The Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

Oswald v. Hamer, 2018 IL 122203, holds that Section 15-86(c) of the Property Tax Code, which provides for property tax exemptions for not-for-profit hospitals and their affiliates for specific property, is not unconstitutional on its face. More specifically described, Section 15-86(c) provides that such a hospital “satisfies the conditions for an exemption under this Section with respect to the subject property, and shall be issued a charitable exemption for that property, if the value of services or activities listed in subsection (e) for the hospital year equals or exceeds the relevant hospital entity’s estimated property tax liability....” Whether the word “shall” in the statute is to be regarded as mandatory or permissive was a key issue in the case.  

Illinois Supreme Court Seeking Applications for Five Judicial Positions in Cook County

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court is seeking applications for five judicial positions in Cook County.

The court is seeking applications for the following positions:

  • Two At Large judicial vacancies in the Cook County Judicial Circuit. One vacancy is created by the retirement of Judge Sebastian T. Patti. The other vacancy, effective Dec. 3, is created as a result of Judge Carole Bellows deciding not to seek retention.
  • One judicial vacancy in the 14th Judicial Subcircuit of Cook County. The vacancy is created as a result of the retirement of Judge Robert Bertucci.
  • One judicial vacancy in the 2nd Judicial Subcircuit of Cook County. The vacancy is created as a result of the retirement of Judge Alexander White.
  • One judicial vacancy in the 6th Judicial Subcircuit of Cook County. The vacancy, effective Dec. 3, is created as a result of Judge Mary Nega deciding not to seek retention.

7th Circuit Court of Appeals Updates Pattern Criminal Jury Instructions

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ Committee on Federal Criminal Jury Instruction has updated the pattern criminal jury instructions

The revised instructions are the product of more than three years of work by the judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and academics who served on the committee under the leadership of Judge Bill Bauer. The Judicial Conference authorized the publication of the revisions. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Shareholder Admission Criteria

Posted on September 19, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Our firm is a small firm of two shareholders and two associates based in Bakersfield, Calif. The firm was formed 15 years ago by the two existing shareholders. We have never added additional shareholders, but we believe that we owe it to our associates to have some guidelines as to what we are looking for in future shareholders. We’re considering a partner track program/document. Do you have any suggestions?

A. I believe you should have at least a general set of guidelines laid out in writing. For example:

Associates who have been in practice for seven years and employed by your firm for two or more years and who have consistently performed as outlined below should be eligible for equity shareholder-level review based on equity shareholder-level openings, competencies attained, performance, and behavior.

Recovering Medical Expenses from a Child’s Lawsuit

Posted on September 17, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

A boy was injured in November 2008 after joy riding on top of an apartment elevator in Chicago. His mother sued for negligence on his behalf and also sought to recover medical expenses resulting from the injury. In September’s Illinois Bar Journal, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Janet Adams Brosnahan examines the case, which made it all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, and explores the recovery of a minor’s injuries and the Illinois Health Care Services Lien Act. For example, does a health care services lien attach to a minor’s recovery in a personal injury action? Before the Illinois Supreme Court issued its opinion in the elevator case, the direction from the lower courts was anything but straightforward. 

Best Practice Tips: Lawyer Retention Incentives

Posted on September 12, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the administrator of a 16-lawyer firm in south Florida. There are six equity partners, two non-equity partners, and eight associates. The firm was formed nine years ago, and we have not lost any attorneys during this period of time. We believe that we have a positive culture and great lawyer retention. However, we would like to do more to ensure that lawyers stay with the firm and implement more incentives for them to do so. I would appreciate your thoughts.

All Over the Map

Posted on September 10, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Globalization, ease of travel, emerging markets, and greater mobility make it easier for people to work, live, marry, and establish homes in different parts of the world. When a marriage dissolves between spouses from different countries or when a couple resides in a foreign country, competing foreign jurisdictions can add complexity to an already messy situation, especially in child custody matters. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, a multilateral treaty currently ratified by 93 countries as of March 2016, provides an expeditious protocol for the return of a child unilaterally removed by a parent from one member country to another. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Valuation - Factors that Effect Firm Value

Posted on September 5, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the owner of a small estate planning firm in Kansas City, Mo. I have two associates and four staff members. I am considering acquiring a small solo practice in a nearby community. I have read some of your articles as well as your book on succession planning and valuation, and the multiple of gross revenue used to establish a goodwill value for a law firm. What are some of the factors that can impact whether the multiple is higher or lower – a firm’s potential value?

Don’t Go There…Yet

Posted on September 4, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

There are few things litigators and judges dread more than a protracted discovery dispute. Given the angst discovery misconduct provokes, siccing the Illinois Supreme Court Rules on a culprit is understandable. But a measured response may be more prudent. Penalizing bad behavior with a default judgment is rarely necessary, even as a response to perjury or defiance of court orders. 

In September’s Illinois Bar Journal, appellate litigator Christopher Keleher examines discovery sanctions available for plaintiffs and defendants under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 219(c). There are good reasons the courts use default judgments against defendants and dismissals with prejudice against plaintiffs sparingly.