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ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of March 29

Posted on March 29, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Senate Bill 3101 (Property tax collection), Senate Bill 2569 (Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act), House Bill 4028 (Adoption) and House Bill 4081 (Eavesdropping) and Senate Bill 3204 (Power of Attorney Act for Property). More information on each bill is available below the video.

Practitioners and title industry unite to iron out new TODI law

Posted on March 29, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

On January 1, a statute went into effect giving Illinois estate planners a new tool for helping clients transfer assets at the time of death without going through probate court.

The statute remains a work in progress, according to one estate-planning attorney who helped draft the bill, but practitioners are working together with members of the title industry to iron out the wrinkles so the law will become easier to use for attorneys, clients, and the title companies that help facilitate transfers of real property. Find out more in the April Illinois Bar Journal.

Voting underway in ISBA election for Cook County Board, Assembly seats

Posted on March 29, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

VR Election Services, ISBA’s election provider, has e-mailed e-ballots to members with valid email addresses and mailed paper ballots to members without email addresses. If you haven’t received your e-ballot, please check your email spam under the suffix If your e-ballot is not in your spam folder, or if you received an electronic ballot and want to vote by paper ballot, please contact VRES at (800) 218-4026 or by email at The last day to request a paper ballot is Monday, April 16, 2012.

Online voting ends at 4:30 p.m. CT on Monday, April 30th. Paper ballots must be received at VR Election Services in Texas by 4:30 p.m. CT on Monday, April 30, 2012 in order to be counted.

The Tellers of the Election will complete the Canvass of the Election no later than May 4, 2012.

All members with their dues paid by March 1st are eligible to vote if there is a contested election in their area. The two contested elections are Cook County Board of Governors, and Cook County Assembly.

Supreme Court approves cameras for courts in 5 more Illinois counties

Posted on March 28, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride of the Illinois Supreme Court and Chief Judge Val Gunnarsson of the 15th Judicial Circuit in northwestern Illinois announced on Wednesday that news cameras will be allowed in trial courts in five additional Illinois counties under a pilot program approved by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

The counties that make up the 15th circuit are Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle and Stephenson. They join Madison County in the Third Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County in the 21st Judicial Circuit and Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Whiteside counties in the 14th Judicial Circuit where extended media coverage was approved earlier by the Supreme Court.

“Chief Judge Gunnarsson’s application and approval by the Supreme Court to allow cameras in the trial courtrooms in the 15th Circuit bring more geographical diversity to the pilot project for electronic coverage approved earlier this year,” said Chief Justice Kilbride. “The 15th Circuit is a more rural area, and will provide a host of smaller newspaper and radio stations with the opportunity to provide their readers and listeners with picture and audio coverage.

“As the pilot project goes forward, I am confident that Chief Judge Gunnarsson and all the judges in the 15th Circuit will carefully balance the goals of greater openness and access to the courts while ensuring the constitutional guarantees of a fair trial and a fair proceeding.”

Approval of the 15th Circuit extends the pilot project to the Second Judicial District.

Hanson appointed circuit judge in 15th

Posted on March 28, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court announced Monday that the Hon. Robert T. Hanson has been appointed as Circuit Judge for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, at Large. The position was previously held by the Hon. Stephen C. Pemberton, who is retiring from judicial office on July 3, 2012.

Best Practice: Capital accounts for new law firm partners

Posted on March 28, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm was started 20 years ago by four partners. We now have the original four partners as well as six associate attorneys. Originally, each of the four partners contributed $25,000 to their capital accounts. We are considering extending partnership to a couple of the associates. We have talked with other law firms and some require buy-ins (capital contributions) and others do not. What are your thoughts?

A. My first question is whether you are planning on creating a non-equity partnership tier. If so, then the associates would initially be brought into that tier first.

ISBA High School Mock Trial Invitational set for this weekend in Springfield

Posted on March 27, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Teams from 45 high schools statewide will participate in the 30th annual Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) High School Mock Trial Invitational Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31 at the University of Illinois at Springfield, Public Affairs Center – Lower Level, One University Plaza, in Springfield.

The eight top-scoring teams will compete in the final round on Saturday, March 31, for the state championship. The winner will represent Illinois at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 3-6, 2012. [The trials will begin Friday, March 30, at 11:15 a.m. and will continue through Saturday afternoon. The final round will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 31].

“The mock trial program is a rare opportunity for Illinois high school students to compete in a high-level academic endeavor,” says Lauren E. DeJong of Park Ridge, chair of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Law Related Education for the Public, which conducts the program.

“Students must analyze complex information, apply logic and deductive reasoning, communicate effectively, and use other critical thinking skills in the trial scenario,” she continued. “The ISBA offers this opportunity for the students to come together, after months of hard work and preparation, to challenge each other and stimulate discussion.”

Book now to join ISBA President-elect John E. Thies on his President's Trip to China

Posted on March 26, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

John and Terry Thies

Book by April 27 and save $500 per couple!

Dear ISBA members,
We invite you to join us on our Fall 2012 ISBA President’s Trip – a magnificent tour of China!

Take a moment away from your busy day, close your eyes and picture yourself in a land steeped in thousands of years of history. Picture a place where the echoes of distant empires can still be heard above the urban roar of modern technology, where natural landscapes stand in stark and beautiful contrast to contemporary cityscapes. You are in a land rich in tradition and ripe with possibility.