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Belt and suspenders

Posted on July 6, 2011 by James R. Covington
Do you use three words when one would do in legal drafting? Do you draft ordered, adjudged, and decreed instead of just ordered? When you order black coffee, do you order it  black, utterly black, without cream, without sugar? (This is Garry Trudeau's cartoon parody of author David Halberstam's writing style.) You may consider deleting what Professor Joseph Kimble refers to as doublets and triplets. Do the extra words add anything? If not, use the most accurate term and delete the rest.

Best Practice: Effectiveness of business cards for lawyers

Posted on July 6, 2011 by Chris Bonjean

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

Q. I rarely use my business card anymore. Is there any value for a lawyer to have one?

Lyons appointed as circuit judge in 10th Circuit

Posted on July 5, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
Kevin W. Lyons
The Illinois Supreme Court announced Tuesday that Kevin W. Lyons, longtime state’s attorney for Peoria County, has been appointed a Circuit Court judge to fill a judicial vacancy in the 10th Judicial Circuit. Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride recommended Mr. Lyons to the Supreme Court after an extensive application and evaluation process. The Peoria resident Circuit Court vacancy was created by the 2010 retirement of Judge Richard Grawey and is temporarily being filled by Judge Glenn Collier who left retirement to fill the position.

Young Lawyers to host golf outing on Aug. 3

Posted on July 5, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
The Illinois State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will host a golf outing on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont. This event will benefit the IBF/YLD Children’s Assistance Fund. The $150 ticket includes golf, cart, concession stand ticket, cocktails, dinner and CLE program. Tickets to attend just the evening dinner are $50 each. Many sponsorship opportunities are available, contact Janet Sosin at for more information. Golf Outing Schedule:
  • 11:00 a.m. - Noon: Ethics CLE Program presented by Mary Andreoni, ARDC. Approval pending for one hour PMCLE credit. Cost of program is included in the golfer fee.
  • 1:00 p.m.: Shotgun Start
  • 6:00 p.m.: Cocktails, Dinner
IBF/ YLD Children’s Assistance Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable entity

Join John Locallo on his President's trip to South America

Posted on July 2, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
ISBA President John G. Locallo is excited to personally invite you, a guest, your family and friends to join him in South America for the Annual ISBA President’s trip May 5-12, 2012. Guests will spend a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The trip will be extra special as President Locallo has intentionally left plenty of time for you to explore the two cities on your own or with his sister and brother-in-law -- who lived there. He has also arranged a local expert to be on hand in both cities to help you thoroughly enjoy your time. The hotels are centrally located to maximize walking and President Locallo has a special event planned in each city to show off the local culture and cuisine. There will also be a full-time escort from Carrousel Meetings & Incentives to help with anything you need while in South America. For more information and to register please visit the ISBA Argentina/Brazil President’s Trip website at If you have any questions, please call (800-800-6508) or email either Lucy Hicks or Vanessa Addison at Carrousel Meetings & Incentives.

Illinois Supreme Court amends lawyer trust account guidelines

Posted on July 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
The Supreme Court of Illinois has announced amendments to existing lawyer trust account guidelines. The new amendments to Rule 1.15 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct help clarify the obligations that all lawyers have to manage and protect client funds. Click here to view a copy of the recent rule changes. A lawyer has always been required to hold the money or property of clients or third persons that come into a lawyer’s possession separate from the lawyer’s own property. This is because a lawyer is a professional fiduciary who must safeguard client funds. Beginning September 1, 2011, new trust account rules provide for three essential changes from current practice. The changes serve to benefit both the public and the profession. First, lawyers will have to continue to segregate client funds, but the rule clarifies that they will have only two banking options as to where they hold client money. Beginning September 1st, client funds can only be deposited into either:
  • An IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Account) account. An IOLTA account is a pooled interest or dividend-bearing client trust account established with an eligible financial institution used for the deposit of nominal or short term client funds. The interest on an IOLTA account is paid to the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois (LTF). LTF is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization that uses the interest generated by IOLTA accounts to make charitable contributions to not-for-profit agencies that provide legal aid to the poor; or
  • A separate, interest-bearing non-IOLTA client trust account established to hold the funds of a specific client or third person with that specific client designated as the income beneficiary.

Illinois Law programs review health care reform (July 2011)

Posted on July 1, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
Health Care Reform And You Health Care Reform - Consumer Challenges

Quick take on today's Illinois Supreme Court opinion In re Jonathan C.B.

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Chris Bonjean


In re Jonathan C.B.

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender In  August  2006,  the  minor was charged with attempt robbery and criminal sexual  assault  by  use  of force. In the Supreme Court, the minor argued that he was not proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt, that he was denied due process when he was shackled during his trial without an individualized determination of necessity under People v. Boose, 66 Ill. 2d 261 (1977), and  that  Section  5-101(3) of the Juvenile Court Act was unconstitutional because  juveniles charged with sexual offenses have a constitutional right to a jury trial. In  a  69-page opinion, the Court unanimously rejected the reasonable doubt claim  in  light  of the standard of review requiring the court to take the evidence  in  the  light  most  favorable  to  the  prosecution and to give deference to the findings of the trier of fact, here, the trial judge. The  Court  split  4-3 on the shackling claim, with the majority concluding that it was forfeited and that the record did not support the minor’s claim of  error.

A lawyer's view on the 2nd Blagojevich trial

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
By Robert A. Loeb The Blago nightmare is almost over. The federal jury returned a verdict of guilty on 17 of 20 counts against the former governor. Regardless of one’s personal opinion of his criminal culpability, and for that matter, regardless of the jury’s verdict -- he’s been a national embarrassment. Let’s not rehash the coverage in the news media here. We’ve already been inundated with that, and it was three whole news cycles ago. And even though he invoked Elvis once again as he waited for the verdict (“my hands are shaking and my knees are weak”), I’ll try hard to refrain from further cheap Elvis references at his expense. Even though other song titles from Elvis include “That’s what you get for lovin’me,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Please release me.” Rather, let’s take a look at the case and the verdict from a lawyer’s perspective. The media is asking, “how was the second trial different from the first, and did that difference help produce a different result?”  I’m not so sure they were very different. Sure, the difference between a hung jury and a conviction is great, but is the difference between an 11-1 vote and and a 12-0 vote so significant when evaluating trial tactics?  It has been reported that the government streamlined the case against Blagojevich, eliminating some counts and some evidence in an attempt to make the case clearer to the jury. Both juries seem to have been thorough and meticulous, but it still took this jury two weeks to deliberate, and an indictment with 20 remaining counts is not exactly simplified. I’m suggesting that the government did not really need to alter its case after the first trial. From the defense point of view, the fact that different lawyers represented Blagojevich in the second trial may have lessened the entertainment value, but the cross-examinations of witnesses parroted the successful moments from the first trial.