Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
ISBA Mutual Lawyers Malpractice Insurance
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A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership
Free CLE
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ISBA provides Lincoln photo to Beecher City High School

Posted on March 1, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois State Bar Association helped provide a special photograph of Abraham Lincoln to Beecher City High School. The photograph, made by Alexander Hesler in 1860, was reproduced from glass plates and made available through the Illinois State Historical Society.

The ISBA and Beecher City Merchants Association purchased the photo for the school. At the school assembly presentation of the photo, photographer PJ Ryan talked about the photographic significance of the image; area Lincoln buff and businessman Jerry White told the students about Lincoln, the poet and leader, and attorney William Austin of Effingham, representing the Illinois Bar Association, talked about Lincoln, the self-educated lawyer. Posing with the photo are (from left) Jerry White, student council officers Mitch Kline, Mitchell Zacha and Breeanna Strauch, William Austin and PJ Ryan.

Looking for Career or Practice Assistance?

Posted on March 1, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Then you need to visit the ISBA's Career Center and Practice Resource Center

The ISBA CAREER CENTER focuses on legal jobs only…With over 200 jobs currently listed!
➜ Post an anonymous resume.
➜ Sign up for an advanced Job Alert system.
➜ Receive career coaching.
➜ Pose questions to career experts.
➜ Access resources ranging from interview tips to sample resumes.

The ISBA PRACTICE RESOURCE CENTER is a repository of content, ethics opinions,
tools on practice management issues, and discounts on practice-oriented technology.
➜ Free online legal research via Fastcase.
➜ Listing on IllinoisLawyerFinder, lawyer referral service.
➜ Information on hanging out a shingle or selling/closing a practice.
➜ Peer-to-peer assistance through our e-discussion groups.
➜ Advice on how to market to and attract new clients.
➜ Discounts including cloud backup, practice management software, credit card processing for lawyers and website design and hosting.

Co-parties lack standing to appeal substitution-of-judge rulings

Posted on March 1, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

The Illinois Supreme Court held in Powell v Dean Foods that a defendant does not have standing on appeal to challenge the ruling on a co-defendant's motion for substitution of judge. Find out more in the March Illinois Bar Journal.

Best Practice: Law firm marketing: Obtaining more business from existing clients

Posted on February 29, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is based in Little Rock. We currently have 12 attorneys. We were larger several years ago. We have lost 8 attorneys in the last five years as well as several business clients. Profitability has suffered? What marketing initiatives should we be exploring to improve profitability and increase the size of the pie?

A. On average it costs five times as much (dollars/time investment) to get new clients than it does to get more business from existing clients. It just makes good business sense to leverage existing relationships.

I suggest that your first priority is to circle your wagons around your existing clients and insure that the quality of your services and the quality of your relationship with the client is beyond reproach. Then look for unmet needs and additional work from existing clients. Once this has been accomplished begin targeting new business clients and cultivating relationships one by one.

Many of our clients that represent business clients have found the following (listed in order of value to the firm) to be a few of the more successful marketing tools at the firm and individual attorney level:

Firm Level:

  • Firm website
  • Solicit and respond to client feedback (Client Surveys)
  • Newsletters and solid marketing collateral materials
  • Up to date marketing database of clients, past clients, referral and media sources

Individual Attorney Level

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of Feb. 24

Posted on February 24, 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 3349 (prosecutor consent for first offenders), House Bill 5544 (attorney's fees in Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act), House Bill 4994 (BAIID device), Senate Bill 2953 (provisions concerning the effect of recording deeds, mortgages, and other instruments) and Senate Bill 2952 (attorney malpractice). More information on each bill is available below the video.

ISBA seeks "Ask A Lawyer Day" volunteers

Posted on February 24, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois State Bar Association is seeking “Ask A Lawyer Day” volunteers for two shifts on Saturday, April 28, at the Illinois Bar Center in Springfield, 424 S. Second Street. The first shift runs from 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and the second shift runs from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Please consider volunteering to help the public with their legal questions and, at the same time, enhance the image of the profession.

Each year, to recognize and celebrate Law Day, the Illinois State Bar Association sponsors “Ask A Lawyer Day,” a day during which volunteers respond to telephone calls from the public and answer general legal questions free of charge. This is a state-wide public relations effort that receives considerable attention from the public and the media.

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete and return the form provided below to Tracy Potter.  You can send it any of the following ways:

First no texting, now no talking?

Posted on February 24, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

Will Illinois join the states that prohibit drivers from talking on cell phones and using other hand-held devices? Maybe. A bill has been introduced in the General Assembly that would prohibit all hand-held telephone use while driving a vehicle in Illinois, Adam Lasker writes in the March IBJ.

ISBA members now get a 10% lifetime discount on Clio Practice Management System

Posted on February 22, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Clio is a 100% web-based practice management system that is specifically designed for solo practitioners and small firms. From intake to invoicing, Clio has your practice management needs covered and features an intuitive, easy-to-learn user interface. As a cloud-based application, Clio also allows you to access your practice data from anywhere, at any time, and with any device (Mac, PC, Tablet, and Smartphone).

Regularly $49/month for attorneys and $25/month for non-attorney support staff, ISBA members receive a 10% lifetime discount on their Clio subscription, bringing the monthly cost to $44.10 for attorneys and $22.50 for non-attorney support staff. In addition to the discount, you’ll  receive: a free 30-day trial; free data migrations; unlimited access to Clio’s live customer support; and unlimited access to live and recorded training, ranging from beginners’ sessions to advanced overviews on to simplify your practice with Clio. Interested in taking your practice to the cloud? Try Clio for free  at and see how it can simplify your practice!

Law firm strategic plans: Are they practical for small law firms?

Posted on February 22, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a 12 attorney firm in Chicago. We have been considering whether we should develop a strategic plan for the firm. We have problems even having partner meetings on a consistent basis and those often yield questionable results. What are firms doing? Does a strategic plan make sense for a firm like ours?

A. According to recent surveys, 70+% of the responding law firms (ranging in size from the largest to 45 attorney firms) have formal written strategic plans. Smaller firms have a much lower experience. In our experiences with smaller law firms we are finding that fewer than 15% have formal written strategic plans. I consider success to be achievement of measurable results as evidenced by achievement of the goals and objectives outlined in the plan and actual implementation of action items. Lawyers and law firms seem to do better at planning than they do at implementation. Larger firms usually are more successful in implementation due to availability of management resources, leadership and functional governance. Smaller firms tend to have problems with implementation. In fact, we frequently recommend that a firm address other management issues prior to engaging in strategic planning. If a firm is having problems implementing day-to-day operational decisions the firm will not be effective in implementing strategic planning initiatives.

You might want to get your operational house in order first and resolve day-to-day operational management issues first and then move on to the future.

Election Day is here - don't forget your ISBA judicial ratings

Posted on February 21, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

All candidates for Illinois judicial offices in the March 20 primary election have been rated by Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) evaluation committees, or in a poll conducted by ISBA. Results are available at

In Cook County, an ISBA Judicial Evaluations committee used the results of a questionnaire and interviews to rate candidates for all judicial offices. Candidates for the Appellate Court outside Cook County were also evaluated using this process.

In counties outside Cook, an advisory poll is conducted by mail and sent to all ISBA members in the circuit or district from which a candidate seeks election. Licensed lawyers who are not members of ISBA may request a ballot.

“Through these polls and evaluations, voters are provided the opportunity and responsibility of selecting qualified individuals to serve as judges to assure effective administration of our system of justice,” said John G. Locallo, of Chicago, president of the Illinois State Bar Association. “I encourage voters to consider these poll results when deciding how to vote on March 20.”