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Best Practice: Expanding law practice into insurance defense

Posted on July 13, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC Q. I am an 11-year attorney practicing at a small firm on the west coast. We currently focus on business litigation, employment litigation, corporate formation, bankruptcy, wills and trusts, and personal injury. We are trying to expand our practice into the area of insurance defense. To that end, I have been sending out correspondence to insurance companies offering my services in defense of general liability, property/casualty, and employment practices claims.  My goal would be to develop a regular stream of business from these types of cases, and to cross-market our other services to clients that come through insurance defense referrals. I am not sure if I am going about this the right way, and would like to seek your counsel. A. In all honesty, I have more firms asking how to diversify out of insurance defense into more self-insured and direct representation work. If you want to pursue this market you will need to become part of the club and do more than just dabble in this area. You will have to get on the "approved lists" of the various insurance companies. Once you are on these lists you have to entice claims manager to use you as opposed to other law firms that are on their approved lists. In other words, establish relationships with numerous claims manager throughout the company. This is harder than it used to be due to policies that many companies now have prohibiting various forms of networking such as dinners, gifts, ball games, etc. Now days it seems that educational venues is one of the few formats that is not frowned upon. You may also find that some companies reluctant to work with a firm your size.

ISBA Lawyer Finder makes over 750 referrals in June

Posted on July 12, 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 June 2011 ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers.

Quick take on Monday's Illinois Supreme Court opinion Wirtz v. Quinn

Posted on July 11, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
By Michael T. Reagan, The Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan In Wirtz v. Quinn, Justice Burke wrote for a unanimous court in reversing the appellate court’s Opinion which had declared the 2009 Capital Projects Acts unconstitutional. This Opinion will serve as a modern Baedeker for the law of legislative drafting. This action, brought by Rockwell Wirtz and Wirtz Beverage Illinois, LLC, on behalf of taxpayers generally, was initiated by a complaint seeking to enjoin the disbursement of public funds pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/11-303. The statute requires that the action be commenced by filing a petition for leave to file, and requires that the circuit court find reasonable ground for filing before the complaint may be filed. The circuit court concluded that reasonable ground did not exist, and denied the petition. The appellate court found that PA 96-34 "An Act Concerning Revenue" violated Article IV, § 8(d) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, the single subject clause. The remaining three acts, consisting of an Appropriation Bill, a Trailer Bill and a Budget Implementation Bill, each expressly provided that it was passed contingent upon PA 96-34 becoming law. Because the appellate court found that PA 96-34 was void in its entirety, the remaining three bills were found to fall as well because of that contingency. The appellate court did not then have occasion to take up any of the other constitutional challenges to the bills. The supreme court granted the Petition for Leave to Appeal filed by the numerous governmental defendants and handled the case in a compressed timeframe. The supreme court reversed the appellate court’s holding that PA 96-34 violated the single subject clause. Then, in the interest of judicial economy, and perhaps in recognition of the practical fiscal importance of this dispute, the court addressed all of the other constitutional challenges pled in the taxpayers’ complaint, rather than remanding the case to the appellate court.

Illinois Supreme Court reverses Appellate decision in Wirtz case

Posted on July 11, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
The Illinois Supreme Court today unanimously reversed the Appellate decision in Wirtz v. Quinn. Read the case summary. Return to IllinoisLawyerNow.com later today for a Quick Take from leading appellate attorney Michael Reagan.

ISBA members get up to 25% off tickets to Cirque du Soleil's OVO

Posted on July 11, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
Illinois State Bar Association members are being offered up to a 25% discount on tickets to Cirque du Soleil's OVO. OVO is an acrobatic immersion into the teeming and energetic world of insects. This performance is at the Grand Chapiteau at the United Center parking lot, 1901 W. Madison. The show runs through Aug. 14. View discounts and purchase tickets. Questions regarding this offer can be answered by calling customer service at (800) 331-6483.

ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of July 8

Posted on July 8, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
ISBA's Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reports from Springfield on seven new public acts that Gov. Quinn has signed. New laws affect worker's compensation, transfers on death, court's witness, students, juvenile justice, FOIA and insurance law.

Legal services funding

Posted on July 8, 2011 by James R. Covington
A proposed House budget released yesterday would cut funding for legal services by 26 percent. This would roll back funding to the 1999 level. If you care about legal services and the good work they do, now is the time to call your Member of Congress and validate the importance of funding of legal services. More details about this proposal may be found here. Don't write; call. First-class mail takes too long because it is trucked somewhere and tested for chemicals. Their phone numbers may be found here.

Dell offers ISBA members $75 off coupon

Posted on July 7, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
As a benefit to ISBA members, Dell has a special offer on computer products in July. A $75 off coupon is attached. As a reminder, the member purchase program allows your members to:
  • Save up to 30% on personal purchases.
  • 10% off Dell Mobility purchases
  • Dell financing available to qualified customers.
Always reach a live person Monday–Sunday, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. at (877) 587-3355.

The wedding is off -- who's on the hook for expenses?

Posted on July 6, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson
It's a question that will come up more and more often. "In 2009, the average cost of a wedding was in excess of $30,000," writes Kelley Manzano in the latest ISBA Family Law newsletter. The average. When it comes to planning expenses alone, we're not talking chump change. Kelley reminds us that plaintiffs in two pending Cook County Circuit Court cases are seeking damages in the tens of thousands for costs associated with broken engagements. She looks at the case law, the Breach of Promise Act, and some interesting theories of recovery in her fascinating article.

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