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Beyond the billable hour

Posted on January 26, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

More clients -- and lawyers for that matter -- are looking for value-based alternatives to the billable hour. The good news? They can be a win-win for attorney and client. Read all about it in the February Illinois Bar Journal.

Illinois Supreme Court announces pilot project to allow cameras in courtrooms

Posted on January 24, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride announced on Tuesday that the Supreme Court has approved a policy for a pilot project to allow news cameras and electronic news recording in Illinois trial courtrooms for the first time. Read the order for extended media coverage.

The policy is effective immediately and invites the Circuit Courts in the state to apply for approval from the Supreme Court to take part in the experimental program. Once a Circuit is approved by the Supreme Court, media may request to electronically cover eligible cases in that Circuit.

"This is another step to bring more transparency and more accountability to the Illinois court system," said Chief Justice Kilbride. "The provisions of this new policy keep discretion in the chief circuit judge and the trial judge to assure that a fair and impartial trial is not compromised, yet affords a closer look at the workings of our court system to the public through the eyes of the electronic news media and news photographers.

"I am thankful to all of my fellow justices on the Court for giving a willing ear, thoughtful consideration and unanimous approval to this experiment. It is new to Illinois, but has been standard practice in many other states. I am confident that through the diligence of our chief circuit judges and our trial judges, along with the professionalism of the news media, that it may become a standard practice in our state too."

Guardianship of Children programs now available for online viewing

Posted on January 23, 2012 by Chris Bonjean
“Guardianship of Children,” two half-hour programs presented by Illinois Law, will air on Chicago Access Network Television, Channel 21 in Chicago. Part 1 will air on Tuesdays, January 31 and February 14 at 10 p.m., and Part 2 will air on Tuesdays, February 7 and 21 at 10 p.m. Both programs are available for viewing below.

Quick takes on Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions

Posted on January 20, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Sandholm v. Kuecker and Powell v. Dean Foods Company and criminal cases People v. Adams, People v. Gutierrez, People v. Washington and People v. Rinehart.


Sandholm v. Kuecker

By Michael T. Reagan, The Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

Illinois Statehouse Review for the week of Jan. 19

Posted on January 19, 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 2534 (mortgage foreclosure); House Bill 3979 (association bylaws), House Bill 3981 (expert witness) and House Bill 3850 (local government). More information on each bill is available below the video.


Get your tickets for Lawyers Rock Legends!

Posted on January 19, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Eight bands have been selected to perform at the Illinois Bar Foundation’s 2nd Annual Lawyers Rock Legends at Buddy Guy’s Legends on Feb. 16, 2012. Click here to order tickets

The bands (in alphabetical order) that will be playing live at Buddy Guy's Legends on
Feb. 16 are:

  • 5-thirty
  • CAC Attack
  • Clark Stereo
  • Hans & The Hormones
  • Jack Salamander
  • Joe Bisceglia
  • One More Time
  • The Vazquez Blues Band

More information on the event is available at

Retroactive payment of college expenses: kids can go where parents can't

Posted on January 19, 2012 by Mark S. Mathewson

In In re Marriage of Petersen, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that divorced Mom could not force Dad to pay for kids’ college expenses that predate the filing of her petition for contribution. But Peterson did not stop a son from recovering college expenses retroactively from his parents, according to a recent Illinois Appellate Court opinion. Read Mike Kalcheim's analysis in the latest ISBA Family Law newsletter.

LAP to host 3rd Annual Bartylak Dinner on March 23

Posted on January 19, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Lester Munson will be the keynote speaker at the Third Annual Joseph Bartylak Dinner at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield on Friday, March 23, 2012.

Munson is an ESPN sportswriter, a popular Chicago media personality, and a long-time LAP volunteer.

The Lawyers’ Assistance Program (LAP) will present the Joseph R. Bartylak Award to J. Nelson Wood of Mt. Vernon and Chicago for his exemplary work as a volunteer for the organization.

The reception is at 6:00 PM and the dinner at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $75. For information contact Judge James Radcliffe, LAP’s associate director, at (618) 444-9706 or

Best Practice: Starting a Law Practice - Challenges and Tips – Phase II

Posted on January 18, 2012 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Last week I responded to a question concerning starting a new law practice and I outlined the first phase of start-up. Eventually, you must address and face Phase II.

If you are successful in Phase I you will eventually need help whether it be administrative, paralegal, or another attorney. Now you must manage others as well as yourself. More office space will be required – especially if you are currently in a home or virtual office. A new set of skill sets (people skills) is now required.

Some Lawyers Never Develop the Skills Needed or Desire to Go to This Level and Firm Growth is Restricted as a Result

I refer to this phase as Sole Owner Phase. I have client law firms in this phase than consist of an attorney owner, a handful of employed associates, paralegals, and staff. These firms may have 3 to 4 people or ten or more. I have sole owner law firms with over 100 employed attorneys and staff.

Phase II – Taking the Practice to the Next Level – New Challenges – New Skills Required

1. Additional People

a. Know what to look for
b. Know how to compensate attorneys and staff
c. Decide whether you are looking for long term vs. short term hires and relationships

2. Develop Skill Sets in the Following Areas – Managing Others – Finding, Managing, Motivating, Training and Retaining Talent

a. Hiring and Firing
b. HR Function
c. Devote time to managing others
d. Delegation of work
e. Supervision of work

3. Use the Following HR Tools and Processes