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Family Defense Center to host 3rd Annual Benefit

Posted on September 12, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The Family Defense Center will be hosting its Third Annual Benefit Event on September 25, 2011 form 4-7:30 at Hotel Allegro. 

The event is a cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres and dessert and both a silent and a live auction. Ticket for professionals is $125, with reduced rate tickets available for not-for-profit organizations. Registration is available by emailing or by calling (312) 251-9800 x10.

Online registration open for YLD Day at the Races

Posted on September 12, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The Illinois State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division will host a Day at the Races on Saturday, Sept. 24. Admission is only $6 and includes admission to the park, a daily racing guide and a fabulous day of thoroughbred racing.

  • Saturday, Sept. 24, noon-5 p.m.
  • Arlington Park Racecourse, Arlington Heights (The ISBA group will be at picnic tables located by the Rail)
  • Deadline to register is Monday, Sept. 19

Register at

Advanced Legal Research on Fastcase -- free webinar

Posted on September 12, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Looking to improve your Fastcase online legal research skills? Join us for the FREE webinar - Advanced Legal Research on Fastcase - on Wednesday, Sept. 21 from noon to 1:00 p.m. (Central) and learn how. (Please note: This course is free but only available to ISBA Members.) To register visit

Fastcase is ISBA's absolutely-free online legal research tool, brought to you by ISBA Mutual Insurance Company. To learn more, visit

Judicial vacancy announced in Jefferson County

Posted on September 9, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier announced Thursday that an application process has begun for a resident Circuit Court vacancy in Jefferson County, Second Judicial Circuit.

The resident Circuit vacancy is being created by the announced resignation of Circuit Judge Terry H. Gamber, effective December 31, 2011.

Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court holds the authority to fill interim judicial vacancies. Justice Karmeier uses a committee to evaluate and interview applicants before making a recommendation to the Court for vacancies in the Fifth Judicial District.

Applicants must submit a cover letter with the Requested Information of an Applicant Form to:

  • Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier
  • Supreme Court of Illinois
  • P.O. Box 266
  • Nashville, IL 62263

The form may be obtained from the office of Chief Judge Kyle Vantrease of the Second Judicial Circuit in Benton; or from Jefferson County Circuit Clerk John Scott; or from Resident Circuit Judge Terry H. Gamber at the Jefferson County Courthouse; or from the Jefferson County Bar Association; or from Justice Karmeier.

Applicants' cover letter and completed form must be received in Justice Karmeier's office no later than Friday, September 30, 2011. The person appointed to fill the vacancy will serve until the position is filled through the November 2012 General Election. The appointment will terminate December 3, 2012. To be eligible for appointment, a person must be a resident of Jefferson County at the time of the appointment.

ISBA Statehouse Review for the Week of Sept. 8

Posted on September 8, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers: The proposed rules affecting Medicaid eligibility proposed by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to implement the federal Deficit Reduction Act; Public Act 97-578 requiring more and retroactive registration by sex offenders; Senate Bill 1040 that implements the federal Adam Walsh act for registration of sex offenders and Advance Directives' forms in English and Spanish on the Department of Public Health webpage.

Jackson County has openings for public defender, 2 contract attorneys

Posted on September 8, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Jackson County Public Defender

Public Defender: This position will be responsible for operations of the Public Defender's Office. The position will be a part-time position (80% time) with benefits including retirement and health insurance. Salary for the position will be $80,000.00 per year. Applicants must be licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois and reside in Jackson County or a county immediately adjacent to Jackson County. Criminal and juvenile practice will be prohibited outside of the contract. The Public Defender is responsible for the staffing and administration of the Office pursuant to 55 ILCS 5/3-4008. In addition to the Public Defender, the office will have two full time attorneys. The office will be responsible for representing persons charged with felonies and traffic violations.

Illinois' grandparent visitation statute: still unconstitutional after all these years?

Posted on September 8, 2011 by Mark S. Mathewson

In the landmark 2002 decision Wickham v. Byrne, the state supreme court struck down Illinois' grandparent visitation statute, holding that the right of a fit parent to make decisions about his or her children can't be compromised unless a child's health, safety, or welfare is at risk. Effective January 1, 2005, the General Assembly amended the statute in response to Wickham.

But in the latest ISBA Family Law newsletter, Morris Lane Harvey questions whether the statute really cured the infirmities identified in Wickham. And he goes further, arguing that Wickham "raises...a serious question as to whether any grandparent visitation statute can ever pass substantive due process muster in the face of what appears to be the constitutionally conclusive presumption that a fit parent has a fundamental right to control, inter alia, access by others to his child." Read his provocative argument.

Share your memories of Sept. 11, 2011

Posted on September 8, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

The 10th anniversary of 9-11 is a reminder of how fragile and precious life can be.  It brought out the best in us as a nation, as we entered a new era marked by national pride and self-sacrifice.

Members of Congress sang “God Bless America” on the steps of the Capitol while young people signed up for the military, knowing they would probably be sent to a war zone. ISBA lawyers with a military background stepped forward to form the Committee on Military Affairs and trained other members so they could provide needed legal services, often pro bono, to members of the military and their families. 

How ISBA lawyers choose to commemorate 9-11 is, of course, a personal matter. Some will remember the day by supporting a cause, volunteering or performing an act of kindness.  Others will commemorate the tragedy through discussions and actions year-round. Still others will carry the memory privately in their hearts and prayers.

What are your thoughts and reflections as we remember this major turning point in all our lives? I invite you to post comments below. 


John G. Locallo, ISBA President

Best Practice: Increasing law firm profitability: Using metrics and measurements to focus performance

Posted on September 7, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm does mostly flat fee work. I am the sole owner of the firm and am considering hiring my first associate. Each of us work as a team and do a lot of cross-over work on all client/matters. I have two paralegals. We don't keep timesheets on our flat fee cases. Do you have any suggestions as to how to proceed with the hiring of this associate?

A.  It sounds like your firm is reluctantly approaching the next step in its growth. Adding your first associate will change the dynamics of your firm and will require you begin to implement more formal approaches to performance management for all members of your team - the new associate, your staff, and yourself. I would start by thinking through the exact tasks and roles that you would like the associate and other staff members to perform. In other words define the associate position. Do to expect the associate to bring in business? Are you willing to train a new associate without experience or are you looking for someone with experience. Can you structure work so there is less crossover of team members on files? If not, how are you going to measure their performance and production? (Time, their production fee dollars, file or case counts, etc.) Are you going to incorporate a variable pay or incentive bonus component into the compensation plan for the associate as well as the other staff members? (More firms are doing this) Define the position first and then decide on the "whom".