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Practice News

Spotlight on Pro Bono: Turn ‘Bored’ into ‘Board’

Posted on September 4, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

If summer’s end has you feeling a little restless, consider expanding your personal and professional lives by joining a nonprofit board of directors. Illinois has over 35,000 registered charities, covering any cause you can think of – from providing job training for people with autism to promoting African dance as an agent for positive change. If you have a closely held belief or a passion for a particular purpose or mission, there is undoubtedly an Illinois nonprofit for you to support. Support comes in a multitude of ways, from financial contributions to volunteering to raising awareness. 

IDFPR Publishes Resource on Legal Responsibilities of Condominium Association Board Members

Posted on August 29, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Division of Real Estate (DRE) recently published the “Rights and Responsibilities of Association Board Members” to explain the legal responsibilities of condominium and common interest community property boards. 

The publication includes general information regarding governance documents, board structure, elections, general powers, meetings, surplus and deficit, special assessments, financial disclosures, insurance, records, and disclosure.  

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Effective Rate Improvement

Posted on August 29, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a partner with a 16-attorney firm in downstate Illinois and a member on our three-person management committee. My responsibility on the committee is overseeing the firm’s finances and supervising the firm administrator’s accounting and finance. In reviewing our financial reports, I have noted that our effective billing rates (realization rates) are not what they should be. We are reluctant to raise client rates. What other steps can we take to improve our effective rates?

Quick Takes for Your Practice: The Basics of Intellectual Property

Posted on August 29, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Attorney Kenneth Matuszewsky, an associate at Rabicoff Law, LLC, discusses the basics of intellectual property, including the use of patents and trademarks.

More Bang for Your Buck

Posted on August 27, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

You've just renewed your ISBA membership for the new bar year—or are about to. Either way, it’s time to consider all the benefits that come with ISBA membership, especially since the association has launched several new and improved benefits during the past few years and as recently as this summer.

For ISBA members, this means access to an ever-increasing number of resources that pay for themselves several times over. Among benefits that recently have been enhanced: robust online peer-discussion communities; checklists and best practices that will help you manage your firm; in-person, online, and on-demand continuing legal education; federal and state caselaw research guided by artificial intelligence; a fully automated document assembly system tailored to Illinois law; a robust fee-sharing lawyer referral directory; and a marketplace full of professional discounts.

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Retreat Follow-up and Implementation

Posted on August 22, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a partner in an 18-attorney firm in Milwaukee. Over the years our firm has held retreats, but the results have been disappointing – a lot of talk and little action. We have the same problem in our monthly partner meetings. We spend a lot of time in meetings – discussions and decisions made but little implementation. This week we are having a partner vote to decide on whether to have a retreat this year. Frankly, I will vote against it and I think it will be a waste of time. What are your thoughts concerning law firm retreats?

What You Need to Know About Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

Posted on August 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Because most solos and small firms may not need a full-time bookkeeper, they often end up either trying to do the work themselves or having a spouse or partner come in “a few days a week” to do the work. With this approach, no one is consistently and directly responsible for ensuring that the finances are in order, regardless of how “simple” the firm thinks they are. 

The August Illinois Bar Journal Practice HQ column summarizes all the financial areas a proper bookkeeping routine covers and discusses the benefits of outsourcing this role. Whether outsourcing is a viable option, consider at least a quick audit of your own bookkeeping routine and the time you devote to it. A thorough, orderly bookkeeping process may help minimize expenses, increase your efficiency, and maximize your bottom line.

Best Practice Tips: Six Worries That Keep Law Firm Managing Partners Awake at Night

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a new managing partner in a 35-attorney firm in Tucson, Ariz. I replaced the previous managing partner who retired. He was the firm founder and had been in the position since the firm’s inception. I have had this position for six months and I am finding the job overwhelming – trying to serve my clients and managing the firm at the same time is very difficult. What are the major challenges that managing partners are having?

A. I understand and appreciate your situation. Managing partners advise me that the following challenges are what keeps them awake at night:

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.