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Practice News

Illinois State Bar Association Assembly Approves Proposed Rule on Succession Planning

Posted on June 18, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois State Bar Association Assembly approved a proposed rule on succession planning for lawyers during the 2018 Annual Meeting. 

It would require all Illinois licensed private practice lawyers to name a designated representative on their ARDC registration documents or certify that they have made a similar designation in a succession plan or other valid document. The designated representative would have the authority to take limited fiduciary action in the event that the designating attorney dies, becomes disabled, disappears, or abandons the practice.

Spiros Law Files Suit against Peoples Gas on Behalf of 17 Mahomet-area Residents who had their Drinking Water Contaminated by a Gas Leak

Posted on June 14, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Spiros Law, P.C., filed a lawsuit June 13 in Champaign County Circuit Court against The Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company (Peoples Gas) on behalf of families affected by a gas leak from Manlove Field, an underground natural gas storage facility operated by Peoples Gas in rural Mahomet. 
The lawsuit is brought on behalf of 17 people who reside in six homes serviced by five private water wells. The complaint outlines 52 counts against Peoples Gas and one of its top employees, Thomas Davis, that include negligence, private nuisance, trespass, breach of contract, consumer fraud, and battery. The plaintiffs are seeking an award of damages for health exposures, property damage, financial loss for decreased property value, loss of use and enjoyment of their property, loss of quality of life, emotional distress, and punitive damages. The complaint also requests a court-ordered injunction prohibiting Peoples Gas from injecting any more natural gas into the ground below the Mahomet Aquifer.

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Strategic Planning – Culture as an Essential Ingredient

Posted on June 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Our firm is a 12-attorney firm – eight partners and four associates – in Phoenix. It was founded by the current partners 20 years ago. We are an eat-what-you-kill firm – partners receive their fees, overhead is allocated, and their compensation is their individual profit. While we have an administrator who handles the day-to-day management of our operations, we have done a poor job of long-term management and planning. One of our partners has suggested that we develop a strategic plan. However, I believe this would be difficult for us given that we never meet, have different ideas about our future, have never been able to agree on any major decisions, are unwilling to be accountable to each other, and have a general attitude of mistrust. I do not believe we even have a firm culture. In essence we are eight separate practices operating under the guise of a partnership. Your comments are most welcomed.

Mevorah Law Offices LLC Providing Divorce and Personal Injury Lawyer Services at New Naperville Office

Posted on June 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Mevorah Law Offices LLC has announced the opening of a new office in Naperville. The office is located at 1730 Park St., Suite 202, south of Diehl Road.

Clients are invited to schedule a consultation at the Naperville office by calling (630) 420-1000. Mevorah Law Offices LLC offers free case evaluations and Saturday and evening appointment hours.

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.