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Illinois Supreme Court Adopts Uniform Bar Exam

Posted on June 8, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Illinois became the 30th state to adopt the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) June 8 when the Illinois Supreme Court approved it to be the main component for bar admission. 

The UBE is a nationwide test that allows test takers to transfer scores between states, which improves mobility of Illinois attorneys. It will be given for the first time in Illinois in July 2019. 

The Illinois Board of Admission to the Bar held public hearings in Springfield, Carbondale, and Chicago in 2016 to provide information on the UBE and to seek comments regarding its potential adoption. The comments received were overwhelmingly supportive of the change. That same year, the Illinois State Bar Association Board and Assembly issued recommendations that the supreme court should adopt the UBE. 

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.

CLE: The $53 Million Fraud: Who’s Responsible for Catching Fraud?

Posted on June 6, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Fraud can happen to anyone, but who is responsible for catching it? On Feb. 14, 2013, Rita Crundwell, former comptroller for Dixon, Ill., was sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison for stealing more than $53 million from the city during a 20-year period. Subsequent to her conviction, the city successfully sued its auditors, settling their claim against them for $40 million. 

Join us in Fontana, Wis., on June 15 during ISBA’s Annual Meeting for an examination of the case and a discussion regarding what role attorneys and auditors should play in uncovering fraud. The program concludes with a lively discussion among our speakers: Devon Bruce, the lead attorney for the city of Dixon in the lawsuit against its auditors; Kelly Richmond Pope, documentary director, accountant, and white collar crime expert; and Brick Van Der Snick, an ISBA member whose secretary managed to steal more than $150,000 from his law firm.

ISBA Awards to be Presented at 142nd Annual Meeting

Posted on June 5, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois State Bar Association will present several awards recognizing individuals for their commitment and service to the profession and their communities at the organization’s 142nd Annual Meeting at The Abbey Resort in Fontana, Wis. Award recipients are:

  • ISBA Board of Governors Award: Barry Hines, John Phipps, Evan Schanerberger, and Janette Strzalka.
  • Medal of Merit Award: Russell Scott.

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.

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Hosts “Sound of Summer” Showcase at House of Blues Chicago

Posted on June 4, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Entertainment and Media Law Practice will host its fourth annual client music showcase on June 21 at the House of Blues Chicago. 

Sound of Summer will feature performances by four client artists, including: 

  • Trapo: This singer and rapper developed a distinct songwriting voice to go with a sonic palette that's instantly and identifiably his. Trapo performs with a mix of rawness and ache, often lending a growl to his delivery that can sound tender, desperate, or angry.
  • Carly and Martina: This pop duo began their music career at 13. The now 16-year-old twins from Chicago carry strong vocals, bold harmonies and sweet versatility to their sound. 
  • Todd Kessler: The rising folk-rock star is the consummate storyteller, with a remarkable ability to take listeners on a winding, wonderful, and introspective journey through the depths of the human experience. 
  • Hiber: Chicago's own Hiber is an emerging pop-rock band, nodding to influences in electronic music, indie rock, and R&B. The group's name plays off the inevitable hibernation of Windy City-dwellers every winter. 

CLE: The Ethics of Technology

Posted on June 1, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Join us in Fontana, Wis., on June 15 during ISBA’s Annual Meeting as we examine information security, the ethics of technology, and how to communicate with clients about their private data. The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct now recognize that part of the lawyer’s duty to maintain competence includes keeping abreast of the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology. This program explores this ethics requirement and provides an overview of what you need to do in order to comply. All attorneys – regardless of practice experience or practice area – who attend this program will better understand: the necessary processes and procedures to avoid a data breach; computer security, cloud technology, and other major risks associated with the use of technology in the practice of law; the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and ISBA’s Professional Conduct Advisory Opinions regarding electronic information and security; and how to interpret the standard of “reasonability” under these rules and opinions.

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. 

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