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Don't miss the all new “Hanging Out Your Shingle” sessions at Solo & Small Firm 2011

Posted on August 8, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

You asked for more programming on how to start and run a law office and we’re giving it to you! Attend all 11 “Hanging Out Your Shingle” programs or mix and match them with the other programs available to choose from at the ISBA's Solo and Small Firm Conference Oct. 27-29 at the Springfield Hilton. You choose the topics that best fit your needs. “Hanging Out Your Shingle” sessions include:

  • The Secure Firm: Best Practices, Policies and Strategies
  • It’s Your Law License – How to Protect It in Your Office
  • New Office Technology Shopping List: What Do I Really Need to Get Started?
  • How to Get Orders of Protection to Stick
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery: Oh No, My Hard Drive Crashed and It Can’t Get Up
  • How to Create a Website in 60 Minutes – Ethical and Practical Tips
  • The Biggest Mistakes Lawyers Make and How to Avoid Them
  • DUI and Traffic Fundamentals for the New Solo
  • Social Media: Ethical Issues
  • Fighting City Hall: Administrative Actions at the Local Level
  • Using Technology to Avoid Malpractice

For more information about the 11 “Hanging Out Your Shingle” sessions and the other 26 sessions held throughout the Conference – including program descriptions and speaker listings -- visit our Conference Schedule.

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Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on August 4, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the family law case O'Brien v. O'Brien and criminal case People v. White.


O’Brien v. O’Brien

By Alyssa M. Reiter, Williams Montgomery & John Ltd.

This family law case actually involves the much broader issue of the proper standard to be used in deciding whether to substitute a judge “for cause.” 

Lisa O’Brien filed domestic battery charges against her estranged husband, John O’Brien. Judge Joseph Waldeck presided over an evidentiary hearing in that matter and made certain evidentiary rulings. Judge Waldeck subsequently presided over the couple’s marital dissolution proceedings. About one year after the dissolution case was pending, John sought a substitution of judge pursuant to Illinois Code of Civil Procedure section 2-1001(a)(3), which provides for substitution “for cause.” Another judge considered the matter and denied substitution. From the final judgment, John appealed and the case reached the Illinois Supreme Court on a certificate of importance.

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of August 4

Posted on August 4, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington discusses bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers new laws that make a number of changes to the Home Repair and Remodeling Act (PA 97-235) and PA 97-236, which covers lessees and criminal activity.

Illinois Supreme Court makes electronic record accessible in DuPage, Ogle appellate cases

Posted on August 3, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride and the Illinois Supreme Court announced Wednesday another step forward in doing court business through electronic means.

The Court approved a pilot project in the Second Judicial District Appellate Court that will allow attorneys, parties and appellate justices to electronically view, access and work from the official record of cases on appeal from DuPage and Ogle counties. However, the paper record will continue to be the official record on appeal pursuant to Supreme Court rule and will be available to parties who would rather use a paper record.

“It sounds like a small step but this should prove to be a big benefit for both attorneys and justices working on appeals,” said Chief Justice Kilbride. “With an electronic record accessible to those involved in appeals, attorneys and justices can view the record and work contemporaneously on a case.

“It is another step forward in developing and implementing e-business applications in the court system with an eye toward making it friendly, efficient and cost-effective.”

The Second District pilot project follows in the wake of an initiative announced in June by the Chief Justice and the Court to move Illinois courts forward in the electronic age with the formation of a special Supreme Court committee to propose new ways of doing court business to achieve efficiency and economy in the court system.

Best Practice: Key Documents Needed to Launch a Law Firm Merger/Acquisition/Sale Initiative

Posted on August 3, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is a 5 attorney firm in Detroit with three partners and two associates. The three partners are 79, 72, and 67 respectively. All three are considering succession and exit options. While internal succession is an option the firm has had a few merger chats with larger firms - on isolated unplanned occasions. We are having problems getting focused and generating interest from other firms. Is there a suggested process and or documents that we should prepare to generate interest and properly package our firm?

A. I suggest that you start by preparing an offer package that can be provided to other firms that you may approach directly or indirectly. A good offer package consists of the following:

  1. A firm profile (without identity for some presentations)
  2. Nondisclosure Agreement
  3. Detained Offering Memorandum (Confidential Descriptive Memorandum)

The Offering Memorandum

Tells the firm's story

Provides relevant facts other firms want to know including:

The 2011 rewrite of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act

Posted on August 1, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

Make no mistake, this is not the workers' comp act you knew two months ago. Rich Hannigan's article in the August Illinois Bar Journal highlights key changes to the law, many of which take effect next month.

Illinois Lawyer Finder makes over 700 referrals in July

Posted on August 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois State Bar Association’s Lawyer Finder Service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays. The Service makes referrals in a number of areas of law. For the month of July 2011 ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:

Gramlich recalled in 7th Circuit

Posted on August 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that retired Associate Judge Charles J. Gramlich has been recalled to duty in the 7th Judicial Circuit. This appointment was required by the recent death of Judge Lois Bell. This recall is effective Aug. 1, 2011, and terminates on Dec. 3, 2012.