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2018 Legislative Update

Posted on August 22, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The state legislature earlier this year sent a number of measures to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. The ISBA has provided an update on the status of bills that are of interest to members. 

Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Retreat Follow-up and Implementation

Posted on August 22, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a partner in an 18-attorney firm in Milwaukee. Over the years our firm has held retreats, but the results have been disappointing – a lot of talk and little action. We have the same problem in our monthly partner meetings. We spend a lot of time in meetings – discussions and decisions made but little implementation. This week we are having a partner vote to decide on whether to have a retreat this year. Frankly, I will vote against it and I think it will be a waste of time. What are your thoughts concerning law firm retreats?

CLE: Bail Reform in Illinois - Why It Is Time

Posted on August 21, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Discover how the Cook County Circuit Court Order (and other changes on the horizon) may affect your next client. 

Although the Bail Reform Act was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner, the question remains whether the Act is adequate enough to address the multiple problems facing the criminal court’s bail-setting process. A bail hearing is one of the first contacts with the criminal court for a defendant charged with a crime – and it is imperative that attorneys working in this arena be familiar with the new rules, orders, and procedures, as well as how to incorporate these procedures into their practice in order to protect their clients’ rights. Criminal law attorneys, government lawyers, civil rights practitioners, and disability lawyers with all levels of practice experience who attend this seminar in Chicago or via live webcast on Sept. 26 will better understand: the history behind the Bail Reform Act of 2017 and why there was a need; the challenges facing Cook County Circuit Court Order No. 18.8A; the current framework for the bond system in Illinois; the impact of bail setting and pre-trial detention on communities in Illinois; the impact these changes have on appeals; how to remain in compliance with the law and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and the future of reform in Illinois.

What You Need to Know About Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

Posted on August 20, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Because most solos and small firms may not need a full-time bookkeeper, they often end up either trying to do the work themselves or having a spouse or partner come in “a few days a week” to do the work. With this approach, no one is consistently and directly responsible for ensuring that the finances are in order, regardless of how “simple” the firm thinks they are. 

The August Illinois Bar Journal Practice HQ column summarizes all the financial areas a proper bookkeeping routine covers and discusses the benefits of outsourcing this role. Whether outsourcing is a viable option, consider at least a quick audit of your own bookkeeping routine and the time you devote to it. A thorough, orderly bookkeeping process may help minimize expenses, increase your efficiency, and maximize your bottom line.

CLE: Cannabis Law - What You Need to Know to Represent Cannabis Businesses and Investors

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., but is fraught with numerous legal and regulatory issues that are constantly evolving. This half-day program in Chicago or via live webcast on Sept. 20 offers a multidisciplinary introduction to a number of issues that can arise when representing cannabis business clients and investors, including tax, regulatory/compliance, securities, banking, real estate, and land use. 

Best Practice Tips: Six Worries That Keep Law Firm Managing Partners Awake at Night

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am a new managing partner in a 35-attorney firm in Tucson, Ariz. I replaced the previous managing partner who retired. He was the firm founder and had been in the position since the firm’s inception. I have had this position for six months and I am finding the job overwhelming – trying to serve my clients and managing the firm at the same time is very difficult. What are the major challenges that managing partners are having?

A. I understand and appreciate your situation. Managing partners advise me that the following challenges are what keeps them awake at night:

Quick Takes for Your Practice: The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Mechanics Liens

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

James M. Dash, founding member of the firm Carlson Dash LLC, discusses mechanics liens in Illinois. 

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation Seeks Three Attorneys

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals and groups in civil cases, is seeking three staff attorneys at the Northern Regional Office in Springfield.

The first position includes providing civil legal services ranging from advice to representation to individuals referred by the health care partner; developing and presenting training programs to faculty doctors, nurses, residents and other healthcare professionals; creating and presenting community legal education programs; supervising an intake specialist; and drafting quarterly reports.

Shining Moonlight on Witness Testimony

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Flawed witness testimony is as old as the notion of justice itself. A witness may have unquestionable integrity, but his memories and perspectives may be incomplete or incorrect. In his August Illinois Bar Journal column, retired circuit court judge Ron Spears examines Abraham Lincoln’s famous almanac trial for the lessons it reveals about flawed witnesses. Spears also discusses how discoveries in neuroscience are adding to our understanding of human memory and eyewitness identification. 

Quick Take on Illinois Supreme Court Opinion Issued Thursday, August 9

Posted on August 10, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Thursday, August 9. The supreme court addressed the issue of whether the lower court erred when it terminated a father’s parental rights on the grounds that he was an unfit person under the Adoption Act.

In re N.G., a minor, 2018 IL 121939

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC 

In a 4-3 decision of the Illinois Supreme Court, the majority’s expansive view of the judiciary’s obligation to right a constitutional wrong clashes with the dissent’s adherence to judicial restraint. The supreme court ruled that a circuit court cannot terminate parental rights on the basis of a parent’s felony criminal conviction, where the conviction was based on a statute later deemed unconstitutional on its face.