Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
ISBA Mutual Lawyers Malpractice Insurance
view counter
A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership
Free CLE
view counter
Fastcase
view counter

Best Practice Tips: Personal Injury Law Firm Strategic Planning

Posted on October 4, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a four-attorney plaintiff-side personal injury firm in Illinois. Three of us are partners and we have one associate attorney. We handle run of the mill slip and fall, vehicle, and premises accidents; products liability cases; and workers’ compensation cases. We have a very aggressive advertising and marketing program. We are having issues with reduced case flow and dwindling and diminishing profits and earnings. For the past year the partners have been living off our credit line. We believe that we need to be thinking about doing something different and are not sure as to what that should be. However, we have agreed to start doing some long-term planning. We would appreciate your thoughts.

New Law Protects Real Estate Purchasers Who Buy on Contract

Posted on October 4, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

Most home purchases, unless they are cash deals, involve a mortgage loan. Since the real estate market crashed in 2008, a lesser-used path towards home ownership has been on the rise - owner financing. Also known as an installment contract, owner financing allows a buyer to live in a home while paying the seller the purchase price over time.

However, the practice is ripe for abuse because the purchaser doesn't actually own the home until the balance is paid in full. That means the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law - and its protections for homeowners - doesn't apply in the event of a default. A simple eviction action is all it takes to divest the would-be purchaser of what may be a significant financial investment. On August 25, 2017, Governor Rauner approved Public Act 100-0416, also known as the Installment Sales Contract Act, which is designed to provide protection for purchasers.

According to a March 2017 report by The Chicago Reader (http://bit.ly/2ulgc2X), installment sales contracts are seeing a resurgence in Cook County, particularly in poorer communities that were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. According to the Reader, Illinois law doesn't require that these contracts be recorded or otherwise registered with the state, which makes it difficult to know just how many exist.

Lawyers Needed to Assist with Hurricane Relief Efforts

Posted on October 3, 2017 by Sara Anderson

With the recent devastation that has occurred from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is hiring temporary employees to assist with disaster relief efforts through December 31, 2017. SBA has 30-, 60-, and 90-day assignments available, and has lawyer, paralegal, and legal assistant positions to fill. If you are interested in helping hurricane victims, visit the SBA website for the full list of job openings and qualifications.

CLE: Working Effectively with Interpreters – Live Webcast

Posted on October 3, 2017 by Sara Anderson

This program is available at no cost for the first 26 registrants who agree to take a pro bono case in the next year. Thank you to our sponsors for making this opportunity possible! 

     ♦  Illinois Bar Foundation
     ♦  Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI)
     ♦  Law Crawford P.C.

Learn how to identify internal barriers (within yourself and your law firm) that hinder communication with non-English speaking clients and how to overcome these barriers with this short online seminar on October 11, 2017. Attorneys with all levels of practice experience who work with a diverse client base who attend this seminar will better understand: what the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts is doing to help non-English speaking people gain better access to interpreters; the statewide Interpreter Registry; the pitfalls to avoid when working with interpreters; how and why you should take advantage of the pro bono opportunities in your community; and the resources available to attorneys willing to volunteer.

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. It qualifies for 1.50 hours MCLE credit, including 1.50 hours Professionalism, Civility or Legal Ethics Professional Responsibility MCLE (subject to approval).

Celebrate Pro Bono on October 22-28

Posted on October 3, 2017 by Sara Anderson

By Michael G. Bergmann

Coordinated by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, Pro Bono Week is intended to inspire greater pro bono participation by lawyers throughout the nation. This initiative provides an opportunity for legal organizations across the country to collaboratively commemorate the vitally important contributions of America’s lawyers, and to recruit and train the many additional volunteers required to meet the growing demand. The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service undertook this initiative to provide a format for showcasing the incredible difference that pro bono lawyers make to our nation, to our system of justice, to our communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve.

The ISBA commemorates this national celebration each year by encouraging its members to do pro bono and by recognizing those who meet the call. Two years ago, the ISBA launched its Pro Bono Partner initiative, through which members commit to: (1) seek out the local pro bono legal services being supplied to individuals or charitable, religious, or civic organizations in their community; (2) attend or support a recognition ceremony for those who participate in pro bono services in their community; (3) consider attending training provided to lawyers who provide pro bono services; and (4) commit to joining the efforts to increase access to the legal system.

The ISBA Delivery of Legal Services Committee organized two webinars in October geared towards those interested in helping low-income individuals with their legal needs. Tune in to “Working Effectively with Interpreters” on Wednesday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m., which is free for the first 26 registrants who agree to take a pro bono case in the next year. “Working with Low Income Clients” will be held on Wednesday, October 25 at noon, and is available at no cost for the first 30 registrants who agree to take a pro bono case in the next year.

Campaign Season for ISBA Election Underway

Posted on October 2, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Campaign season for the 2018 Illinois State Bar Association election begins today, October 2, for open leadership seats of third vice president and one seat each for the following Board of Governors seats: Cook County, Area 1 (Circuit 18), Area 3 (Circuits 12, 13, 16, 21 and 23), Area 4 (Circuits 10, 14 and 15), Area 6 (Circuits 7, 8 and 9), and Area 8 (Circuits 3 and 20). There are also 22 open seats for Cook County Assembly.

Voting begins in late March and concludes April 30, 2018. Those elected to the Board of Governors and Assembly take office at the opening of the Annual Meeting on June 14, 2018, and the third vice president takes office at the close of the Annual Meeting on June 16, 2018.

The 2018 ISBA Notice of Election is now available. For more information, including policies, procedures, and candidate packets, visit the ISBA Elections page

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin To Be Honored at Illinois Bar Foundation Annual Gala on October 20

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will receive the 2017 Distinguished Award for Excellence from the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) at the organization’s 19th annual black-tie Gala, presented by Simmons Hanly Conroy, on Friday evening, October 20, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place, Chicago. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30, followed by dinner, dancing, and remarks by Senator Durbin. The mission of the IBF, the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, is to ensure meaningful access to the civil justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who can no longer support themselves due to incapacity.

Senator Dick Durbin is the 47th U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois and also serves as the Assistant Democratic Leader, the second highest position among the Senate Democrats. He is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and the Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee.

IBF Names 2017 Recipients of Post Graduate Legal Fellowship Program

Posted on September 28, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) awarded its 2017 Post Graduate Legal Fellowship Program grants to law school clinics at DePaul University College of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and Northern Illinois University College of Law.

Each law school selected a 2017 graduate for the one-year fellowship, designed to increase access to civil legal aid, help new attorneys develop practical legal skills and build a network, and encourage the participants to use their skills to serve those in need throughout their career through public interest jobs or pro bono work. The 2017 participants are Mallory Morgan, a graduate of DePaul University College of Law; Caitlin A. Kelly, Loyola University Chicago School of Law; and Ryan Lowe, Northern Illinois University (NIU) College of Law. The IBF and law school share the cost of the fellowships, which have been awarded annually since 2014.

Email Service: It’s the Law

Posted on September 27, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

It may come as a surprise to more than a few lawyers, but as of July 1, 2017, faxing documents is no longer a proper method for serving them. What's more, attorneys must include an email address at which they can be served with documents on their appearances and pleadings.

Why? Because the Illinois Supreme Court revised Illinois Supreme Court Rule 11 to mandate email service of documents filed with the court. It also eliminates facsimile service entirely. The changes were announced June 22.

The effective date of the rule amendments coincides with the day the supreme and appellate court were required to switch to the new e-filing system (circuit courts make the switch on January 1). The supreme court has made its intention clear - modernizing Illinois' court system is a priority.

According to new Rule 11(c), documents must be served via email unless certain exceptions apply. Documents may be attached to the email, or the serving party can include a link in the body of the email that will allow the recipient to download documents from a reliable service provider. If an email is rejected or otherwise returned as undelivered, the emailing party is responsible for ensuring that the document is actually delivered.

Best Practice Tips: Becoming a Rainmaker as an Associate

Posted on September 27, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am an associate attorney in a 10-attorney firm in Atlanta. The firm represents mid-size to small businesses. There are six partners and four associates in the firm. I joined the firm after graduating from law school two years ago. All of my work is given to me by the partners and since joining the firm, I have not brought in any clients. When I joined the firm, I was told not to worry about bringing in clients – the firm has plenty of work. I am paid a salary and a bonus if my billable hours are at a certain level. There appears to be no desire by the partners for me to spend time developing clients. I have talked with my peers in other law firms who tell me that this is short-sighted, and that developing clients is a major factor in their firms for associates to be considered for partnership. I would appreciate your thoughts on what I should be doing and what direction I should take.

Pages