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Practice News

Of Counsel Arrangement as a Law Firm Exit Strategy

Posted on May 9, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the owner of a solo real estate practice in Merced, California. I have two staff members that work for me. I am the only attorney in the firm. I am sixty years old. While I am concerned about the long-term exit from the practice, I am also concerned about office coverage in case something would happen to me in the short term. I appreciate any recommendations that you may have.

Over 400 New Illinois Lawyers to Be Admitted on Thursday

Posted on May 8, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

New attorneys will be admitted to practice in Illinois on Thursday, May 10, with Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court justices presiding and administering the attorney's oath to 401 new attorneys at five separate locations across the state. 

All of the candidates set to be sworn in have passed the Illinois State Bar Examination and a required ethics examination and were certified by the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. They will bring the total number of licensed attorneys in Illinois to approximately 96,500.

The largest group, 275, will be admitted in the First Judicial District during three ceremonies at the James R. Thompson Center Assembly Hall, located at 100 W. Randolph St., in Chicago. The ceremonies will be at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 2:30 p.m. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke will preside over the 9 a.m. ceremony, Illinois Appellate Justice Cynthia Y. Cobbs will preside over the 11:30 a.m. ceremony, and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis will preside over the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.  

US Attorney's Office Seeks Attorney for its Civil Division

Posted on May 4, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The United States Attorney's Office (USAO), Central District of Illinois is seeking an experienced attorney to serve in the Civil Division. The USAO is responsible for representing the federal government in litigation involving the United States in the Central District of Illinois, which includes criminal prosecutions for violations of federal law, civil lawsuits by and against the federal government, and actions to collect judgments and restitution on behalf of victims and taxpayers. The Civil Division handles a variety of cases including affirmative litigation to recover public funds which have been wrongfully obtained by fraud, civil rights enforcement, defensive matters involving government agencies and employees, asset forfeiture, and collections.

This position is located in Springfield, Illinois.

Law Firm Overhead and Profit Margins

Posted on May 2, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am an attorney in New Orleans who has been in practice for ten years. I practiced with a small firm for eight years as an associate and then opened my own firm two years ago. I primarily work from home supplemented with a virtual pay-as-you-go office. I do not have any staff employees. I have been approached by a 14-attorney firm that would like me to join their firm as a partner. Their offer includes a salary that I feel is low and a bonus based upon a percentage after covering my salary, other direct costs, and indirect firm overhead. The overhead allocations seem extremely high to me. In my practice, I am bringing in around $100,000 in gross fees and my overhead averages $10,000-$15,000 per year. My profit margin is around 90 percent. I feel like I am better off building up my practice rather than accepting their offer. What are typical overhead and profit margins for law firms?

Land of Lincoln Seeks Staff Attorneys

Posted on May 1, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, a non-profit organization which provides free legal services to eligible individuals in central and southern Illinois, is looking to hire two staff attorneys at its Central Regional Office in East St. Louis.

Foreclosure Staff Attorney

Responsibilities for this opening include representation of clients in foreclosure. Responsible for giving presentations to members of our client population about their rights.   

Grants Help Circuit Courts Serve Pro Se Litigants

Posted on April 26, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

As more and more litigants choose to represent themselves, Illinois courts continue their effort to adapt to this "new normal" (see the October 2017 IBJ cover story.) One such adaptation is a program launched by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice late last year that gives grants to 13 judicial circuits to help them better serve pro se litigants and manage their impact on the justice system.

A Solo Practitioners Guide to Companion Animal Cases

Posted on April 26, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Anna E. Morrison, attorney at AMR Law Group, discusses what solo practitioners need to know about companion animal cases.

Law Firm Management Committee vs. Full Partnership

Posted on April 25, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a partner in a 14-attorney firm in San Antonio, Texas. We have eight partners and six associates working in the firm. The firm was founded 20 years ago, so we are a first-generation firm. Two of the partners were the founders of the firm and the other six were made partners in later years. Currently our method of governing the firm is handled by the full partnership. While each partner has one vote, we try to manage by consensus. We do not have a managing partner or any committees. We have an office manager who primarily handles the accounting and  staff oversight. The partners meet weekly to discuss issues and make decisions. We are beginning to have issues with our management structure. Partners are not showing up for the weekly meetings and complaining about the amount of time it is taking away from servicing their clients. Should we consider a different approach? We would appreciate your thoughts.

Land of Lincoln Seeks Staff Attorney

Posted on April 24, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, a non-profit organization which provides free legal services to eligible individuals in central and southern Illinois, is looking to hire a staff attorney at its Northern Regional Office in Springfield.

Responsibilities for this position include representation of low-income persons in routine and complex civil litigation, including, but not limited to, family, landlord-tenant, and consumer cases. Participation in community legal education and outreach.  

To qualify, applicants must be admitted to the Illinois Bar and demonstrated commitment to the representation of low-income individuals. Prior legal services or clinical work experience strongly preferred.

Women Flying Solo

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

All attorneys who choose to become solo practitioners face the challenges of setting up and running a business. That includes putting together a business plan, separating trust accounts and other funding sources, and attracting and retaining clients.

Women who take the solo journey also face bias and stereotypes that can negatively affect their confidence and their bottom line - although occasionally, being female can be an advantage. That's according to a panel of women lawyers who have started their own firms and who participated earlier this year in an ISBA webinar titled, "On My Own: Starting Your Solo Practice as a Female Attorney."

Criminal defense attorney Sarah Toney of The Toney Law Firm in Chicago notes that some challenges female solos face are not necessarily related to being a woman. When an attorney starts a firm, she says, she or he should create a checklist of everything a solo practitioner needs to do, ranging from registering your entity with the Illinois Supreme Court to getting malpractice insurance.

"There's a lot of minutiae you don't think about," Toney says. "You can't just quit your job, hang a shingle, and start practicing. You need to get an EIN number."

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