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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.

Quick takes on Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on March 22, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Simpkins v. CSX Transportation and Wisnasky-Bettorf v. Pierce and criminal cases People v. Chapman and People v. Cathey.

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of March 22

Posted on March 22, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers House Bill 3944 (Eavesdropping), Senate Bill 3763 (Victim impact statement), House Bill 5214 (SCRAM devices and DUIs), House Bill 5262 (Video interrogations) and House Bill 5434 (Post-judgement procedures). More information on each bill is available below the video.


Best Practice: Law Firm Staff Investment - A Sound Marketing Strategy

Posted on March 22, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our Chicago firm of 14 attorneys has been discussing various marketing investments that we should be considering. We have a very proactive marketing program but want to insure that we are exploring all avenues. What are your thoughts?

A.  Invest in your people – your staff your intellectual capital.

I am amazed at the minimal investment that law firms make in their staff. Law firms are in the knowledge business and their product is their intellectual knowledge. While law firms do invest in their attorneys, such is not the case with the staff. Although staff members are often on the front lines in dealing with clients, very few law firms are providing them with skill training in areas such as communication, marketing, client service, conflict management, effective writing and speaking, time management, computer applications, client complaint management, etc. By the way, attorneys need training in these areas as well. Why do law firms hire the cheapest talent they can find to fill the receptionist position when it is the receptionist who often has the initial contact with a new client. I find it amazing that firms spend huge amounts of money on advertising and marketing and they fail to invest in the other tools needed for effective new client intake. Small firms should consider assigning their receptionist the role of marketing coordinator with responsibility for assisting in the management of client relationships and the firm’s marketing program.

Case cites in ISBA newsletters go straight to the full text in Fastcase

Posted on March 21, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

Now whenever a case in the Fastcase database is cited in a newsletter article on our website, the citation appears as a link that will send you directly to the case. Don't believe it? Check this out.

Results from Tuesday's judicial primaries for all circuits outside of Cook

Posted on March 21, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Here are the results for Tuesday's judicial primaries for all circuits outside of Cook. Click the link below for the list of results from around the state with ISBA ratings for each candidate.

Winners in bold

  • Click here for the results from Tuesday's Supreme and Appellate primaries
  • Click here for the results from Tuesday's Cook County Circuit primaries

(R) Republican
(D) Democrat

Candidates must receive 65% on the question of Meets Requirements of Office in order to be Recommended.

1st Circuit - Williamson County - Eckiss

Theis wins Supreme Court seat; Delort, Reyes, Neville take 1st District Appellate seats

Posted on March 20, 2012 by Chris Bonjean


  • HQ - Highly Qualified
  • Q - Qualified
  • NQ - Not Qualified   

Winners in bold

Judicial candidates are rated by the Illinois State Bar Association based on detailed information supplied by candidates, a background check by trained lawyers/investigators, and interviews of each candidate.  Ratings reflect the Illinois State Bar Association’s opinion of whether candidates have the necessary qualifications for judicial service and are not a reflection of the candidates’ abilities as lawyers.

Candidates who do not participate in the process are found “not qualified”. 

Supreme Court  – 1st District – Fitzgerald

Mary Jane TheisHQ
Aurelia PucinskiNQ
Joy V. CunninghamQ
Thomas W. FlanniganNQ
James G. Riley (R)Q