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Practice News

Billing: An Opportunity for Positive Client Communication

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Paul A. Osborn, attorney with Ward, Murray, Pace & Johnson, discusses how billing can be an opportunity for positive communication with your client. 

Subjective Law Firm Partner Compensation Systems

Posted on April 18, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a 12-attorney commercial litigation law firm in Palm Beach, Florida. There are five partners in the firm. We are contemplating merging with another firm in the area of similar size. We have done our due diligence and have come across a possible non-starter—our compensation system. Our compensation system is an objective, formula-based system. The other firm has operated under a subjective system and they are pushing for the firm to operate similarly. We would appreciate your thoughts on this method of compensation.

Limited Scope Representation in Transactions - Put it in Writing

Posted on April 11, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

Limited scope representation has been ethically permissible in Illinois since at least 2010 and probably even before then. Initially conceived to make it easier to serve clients of modest means, it might be more important today as a way to accommodate changing consumer preferences about legal services.

Spotlight on Pro Bono: Another Alternative For Free Legal Services In Southern Illinois

Posted on April 11, 2018 by Sara Anderson

By Beverly A. Allen 

The Neighborhood Law Office, is just that — a law office that serves the legal needs of its neighbors. The Neighborhood Law Office (NLO) provides free legal services to low income residents in St. Clair County and its surrounding counties. Implemented in 1996, Kathleen O’Keefe, a former staff attorney at Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc., was its first director. NLO falls under the auspices of Catholic Urban Programs (CUP). CUP was founded in 1973 as a department of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville and has provided charity services throughout Southern Illinois for over 40 years. The mission of CUP and NLO is to advance the dignity of the human person through compassionate responses to human needs, advocacy for justice, and to empower individuals and families to reach their full potential by ensuring access to justice for their clients. 

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

Posted on April 6, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The U.S. Attorney's Office Northern District of Illinois is accepting applications for an assistant United States attorney opening in its Civil Division, primarily to handle bankruptcy and commercial lien cases and matters.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least two years post-J.D. experience in bankruptcy practice. U.S. citizenship is required.

Preferred qualifications: Excellent academics, significant litigation experience, bankruptcy law experience, strong legal writing skills, and commitment to public service.

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, April 5

Posted on April 5, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion today in People v. Pepitone. At issue in this case was whether Section 11-9.4-1(b) of the Criminal Code of 2012, which prohibits sexual predators or child sex offenders to knowingly be present in any public park building or on real property comprising any public park, is facially violative of substantive due process. Jay Wiegman of the Office of the State Appellate Defender reviews the court's ruling.

People v. Pepitone

Section 11-9.4-1(b) of the Criminal Code of 2012 prohibits “sexual predators” and “child sex offenders” from being knowingly present in any public park building or on real property comprising any public park. 720 ILCS 5/11 9.4 1(b) (West 2016). In People v. Pepitone, 2018 IL 122034, the Illinois Supreme Court considered whether this statute was facially violative of substantive due process and determined that it was not. 

The defendant in Pepitone, who had been convicted in 1999 of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and sentenced to a six-year prison term, was arrested in 2013 while walking his dog in a public park in Bolingbrook. A jury found him guilty of being a child sex offender in a public park, and he was sentenced to 24 months’ conditional discharge, 100 hours of public service, and $400 in fines and costs. 

Quick Takes for Your Practice: Social Media Advertising

Posted on April 5, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Eric J. Anderson, partner with Info Law Group, LLP in Chicago, discusses how to keep social media advertising legal.

Associate Attorney Motivation

Posted on April 4, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is a 14-attorney firm in Chicago. There are nine partners and five associates in the firm. Our practice is limited to insurance defense. I am one of the founders and senior partners in the firm and have been practicing for 35 years. We are having problems getting our associates to produce at the levels that we need for the firm to be profitable. We have an annual 1,800 billable hour requirement and several of our associates are not even close. We have a bonus system that pays associates a bonus based upon billable hours exceeding 1,800 billable hours. What are we doing wrong?

The High Price of Free Email

Posted on April 4, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson

Digital technology and internet connectivity allow attorneys and staff to work from almost anywhere. Storing data in cloud-based practice management programs is becoming more common, with the vaunted security of these systems being a major selling point.

But a surprising number of attorneys use free email accounts from vendors such as AOL, Yahoo, and Google in their law practices. While these accounts are attractive because they help small and solo firms reduce overhead — it can't get cheaper than free, right? — they come with serious security risks.

Law Firm Growth Planning

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a six-lawyer insurance defense litigation firm in Jackson, Mississippi. There are three partners and three associates in the firm. Our firm has been at its present size for many years, revenues have been flat, and profits have been shrinking. The partners have been discussing the pros and cons of growth and we would like to significantly grow the practice. A couple of our insurance company clients have asked us to open offices in other states and we are giving this consideration. Initially, we would open two other offices and we anticipate that this would require us to hire six additional attorneys. We appreciate any thoughts that you have.