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Want to run for ISBA office? Petitions are now being accepted

Posted on January 3, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

Interested in running for an elected ISBA leadership position? Petitions are being accepted through the end of January.

Visit the 2012 ISBA Elections page to download the Notice of ISBA Elections (it includes a list of available positions) and candidate packets and to access the online elections form to submit your biography and photo. Read all election material carefully for exact deadlines and procedures.

Beginning this year, all biographies and photos must be submitted via the online form. You must be logged into the ISBA website to access this page.

The dangers of litigating in the media

Posted on December 22, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

Clients often seek an advantage in litigation by publicly discussing an ongoing case. In the January Illinois Bar Journal, Richard L. Miller explains the perils of doing so.

Read the Illinois Bar Journal on your iPad

Posted on December 22, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

Just in time for the IBJ's 100th birthday, the ISBA is making it available for download as a PDF to allow members to read the latest issue on their iPads. And because it's in PDF, you can also view it on other tablets, phones, or your computer and even print all or part of the issue.

ISBA members, find out more and download the PDF. And don't forget that the IBJ full text back through November 1998 is fully searchable and free to all members.

8 bands to perform at Lawyers Rock Legends

Posted on December 21, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Eight bands have been selected to perform at the Illinois Bar Foundation’s 2nd Annual Lawyers Rock Legends at Buddy Guy’s Legends on Feb. 16, 2012. The voting was conducted on the IBF’s Facebook page at

The bands (in alphabetical order) that will be playing live at Buddy Guy's Legends on
Feb. 16 are:

  • 5-thirty
  • CAC Attack
  • Clark Stereo
  • Hans & The Hormones
  • Jack Salamander
  • Joe Bisceglia
  • One More Time
  • The Vazquez Blues Band

More information on the event is available at

Best Practice: Conducting meaningful heart to heart discussions with firm attorneys and staff

Posted on December 21, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the sole owner of a 12 attorney firm in downtown Chicago. With staff we have a total of 23 people in the firm. Managing people is my toughest challenge. I am having problems with people not following firm policy and doing what they should not be doing. It is driving me crazy. What should I do? I am interested in your thoughts?

A. Tell them to stop. Seriously. As owner of your firm you can't beat around the bush and be sheepish concerning your expectations concerning desired performance and behavior in the office. Confront the performance or behavioral problem immediately. Manage such problems in real time. Don't wait for the annual performance review and don't treat serious problem as a "self-improvement" effort. Tell them how you feel about the performance or behavioral issue, the consequences for failure to resolve the issue, your timeline for resolving the issue, and the follow-up schedule that you will be using to follow-up and monitor the issue. If they must resolve the performance or behavioral issue in order to keep their job tell them so. They may need this level of confrontation to give them the strength to be able to deal with their issues.

Being a wimp does not help you or them. Tell them like it is and conduct a heart-to-heart discussion. You will be glad you did.

P.S. It gets easier with practice!

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Supreme Court assigns Palmer, appoints Neville to 1st District Appellate Court

Posted on December 19, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced the assignment of Cook County Circuit Court Judge Stuart E. Palmer to the Illinois Appellate Court for the First Judicial District.

In a related move, the Supreme Court also announced that Judge P. Scott Neville Jr., a Circuit Court judge who now sits by assignment on the Appellate Court, will be appointed to the vacancy created by the recent death of Appellate Justice Robert Cahill.

Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis recommended that Judge Palmer be assigned to the Appellate Court, and implemented a judicial screening committee which favorably reviewed the qualifications of Judge Palmer.

Judge Palmer sat in the felony trial courts of Cook County for almost 12 years, and now sits in the Chancery Division of Cook County Circuit Court.

Judge Palmer was screened in 2009 by bar associations for a potential appointment to the Appellate Court and received high marks, including a "well qualified" rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers and highly qualified ratings from several other bar groups, including the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.

When he ran for retention as a Circuit Court judge in 2006, he received the highest ratings from all evaluating bar associations, including a "Highly Qualified" rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers.

ISBA Past President Herb Franks' speech to the 1961 Class of Distinguished Counsellors

Posted on December 16, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Herb Franks50 Year Anniversary Speech

By Herbert H. Franks, ISBA Past President and Class of 1961

Today we remember Pearl Harbor and the day of infamy. This is a day of infamy also for Gov. Blagojevich. He got 14 years.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "the life of the law is not logic, it is experience." Holmes must have had our class of senior lawyers in mind when he made this quote, because if there is one thing the people in this class have, it is experience.

I wonder how many people in this room expected to reach this day. I sure know I didn't.

After being raised on a farm and slopping the hogs and milking the cows twice a day, almost everything you do in later life is easy.

How different is the world today! When we were in law school, there might have been one or two women in our class. Now, women are the majority of law students.

When we came out to try and make our mark and living, the electric typewriter was just gaining acceptance. A few years later came fax machines, and then in dizzying speed came computers, cell phones, iPads, laptops and the list goes on. How we had to change and learn to use these things, things that our grandchildren can do automatically.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on December 15, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil case Township of Jubilee v. State of Illinois and criminal case People v. Young.

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of Dec. 15

Posted on December 15, 2011 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 397, which changes the State tax credit of the Illinois Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Act; No. 97-20, which creates a new statute to allow first-offender probation for certain felonies and No. 97-28, which creates two exemptions from prosecution for eavesdropping. More information on each bill is available below the video.

Correction to video: The proposed eavesdropping legislation came from the Intellectiual Property Section Council - not the Criminal Justice Section Council.

After you've won, your work's just begun

Posted on December 14, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

Okay, that's an overstatement. But you still have plenty to do after obtaining a p.i. settlement or judgment, as Angelica W. Wawrzynek explains in the latest ISBA YLD newsletter. Depending on your case, you might have Medicare liens, hospital liens, attorney liens, rights of reimbursement, and hospital bills to consider. Read her article and find out more.