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Ethics

ISBA Advisory Opinions on Professional Conduct

  • Using Third-Party and Cloud Technology 16-06, 10-01
  • Client Files and Records 17-02, 12-06
  • Firm Names and Letterhead 03-02, 87-01

Other Ethics Resources

  • ARDC Client Trust Fund Handbook
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  • Lawyers Trust Fund
  • Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 7.5 Firm Names and Letterheads

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Articles

  • Issues to consider when moving or opening a new law office
    Amber Mikula
    The Bottom Line, June 2017

    Some issues to consider include compliance with municipal requirements, developing or updating your marketing information, informing your client of your new contact information, and registering the changes with the appropriate licensing bodies or government agencies.

  • Five tips for new lawyers starting their own practice
    Marie K. Sarantakis
    YLDNews, June 2017

    Want to go out on your own? Consider these suggestions.

  • Birthing the baby: Let’s get technical
    Letisha Luecking Orlet
    The Bottom Line, October 2016
    A few items to consider before opening your own shop.
  • Keeping Costs Down for Your New Solo Practice
    Illinois Bar Journal, May 2016

    As a new solo, it's important to be frugal. Here are tips for reducing your overhead.

  • Focusing on opening your own law practice
    Dion U. Davi
    The Bottom Line, May 2016

    The author shares what he's learned through common sense and trial and error.

  • Organizing your small firm or solo practice
    Amber L. Mikula
    YLDNews, August 2015

    In order to be prepared to start your own practice, you should start out by establishing an organizational plan, including staff job descriptions, policies and procedures, document control, and file checklists.

  • Start-up tech for any budget
    Bryan M. Sims
    Nerino J. Petro Jr.
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, July 2014

    Some thoughts on how to equip a law office for $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000.

  • Practice-Launching Tips for Solos and Small Firms
    Ed Finkel
    Illinois Bar Journal, February 2014

    Time to strike out on your own? Veteran practitioners help you get off to a good start - and avoid common missteps - with tips on marketing, billing, retainers, client management, and more.

  • The shoe-string law firm
    Charles G. Wentworth
    The Bottom Line, April 2013

    Opening an office takes at least as much—if not more—business experience as it does legal knowledge, and lawyers have to be both smart and creative about how they spend their money and time when building a practice on a shoe-string budget.

  • Sharpening Your Pencil: Financial Basics for Law Firms
    Maria Kantzavelos
    Illinois Bar Journal, February 2013

    Are your employees getting the tax relief they deserve? Are you? Should you process your own payroll? A CPA tells lawyers a thing or two about the business side of running a practice.

  • Should you merge with another law firm?
    John W. Olmstead
    The Bottom Line, December 2012

    Successful mergers are based upon a sound integrated business strategy that creates synergy and a combined firm that produces greater client value than either firm can produced alone.

  • Small law, big plans
    Katherine A. Chamberlain
    YLDNews, August 2012

    A new solo practitioner explores the woes and wows of making it work in the working world.

  • The Ethical Office: Managing Nonlawyer Staff
    Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, December 2011

    The Rules of Professional Conduct make managing nonlawyer staff a high-stakes business. Find out which rules are most directly implicated and learn how to be a better boss.

  • Hey, Kids, Let’s Start a Law Firm
    Karen Erger
    Illinois Bar Journal, December 2011

    An interview with a lawyer who did just that.

  • The Five Biggest Business Mistakes Lawyers Make
    Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, September 2011

    Too many lawyers - especially new ones - undervalue their services. It's a short-sighted approach that can lead to big trouble, this lawyer argues.

  • Managing ourselves
    Dan Breen
    The Bottom Line, June 2011

    Because more and more attorneys will begin their legal career without a traditional business structure, it is important that we, as a profession, pay more attention to the business side of law.

  • A young lawyer, thinking like a start-up business owner
    Patrick G. King
    YLDNews, February 2011

    Similar to a start-up business, a young lawyer must begin somewhere and start small. This article offers tips for cost-effective and practical ways a young lawyer can be seen and heard.

  • You’re the Boss - Now What?
    Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, March 2010

    Supervising employees, meeting a payroll - more things they didn't teach you in law school. Find out some of what you need to know.

  • From Sheepskin to Shingle
    Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, September 2009

    Can you really go straight from law school into solo practice? What are the surest ways to succeed — or stumble?

  • Nathan Lollis
    YLDNews, April 2008

    Many attorneys consider starting their own firm. Obtaining clients and successfully collecting your fees are a couple of obvious aspects of starting your own solo or small firm practice.

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, March 2008

     A young sole practitioner's take on the perils and pleasures of hanging out your shingle.

  • Peter R. Olson
    General Practice, Solo & Small Firm, January 2008

    Author Peter Olson shares what has worked and what hasn't during his first years as a sole practitioner.

  • Law office management 101—Setting up your practice
    Mary A. Corrigan
    The Bottom Line, September 2006

    As a business attorney, I routinely advise clients on a variety of issues related to the start-up of their businesses.

  • Helen W. Gunnarsson
    Illinois Bar Journal, October 2005

    Three ISBA members speak from experience about the joys and challenges of solo practice.

  • Daniel G. Jay
    The Bottom Line, June 2005

    The conference center concept has profoundly changed how many firms greet and accommodate their visitors.

  • Daniel G. Jay
    The Bottom Line, March 2005

    Part 2 of a three-part article designed to help attorneys in planning and designing their law firms.

  • Dr. Thomas J. Venardos
    The Bottom Line, January 2005

    A new generation of law firm lawyers need new tools to maximize profitability.

  • Daniel G. Jay
    The Bottom Line, January 2005

    During the course of 20 years of planning law offices, patterns are identified and analyzed. These patterns turn into valuable lessons for firms considering a relocation or renovation of their law offices.

  • The making of a 21st century law firm
    Laura Leckrone
    The Bottom Line, October 2004

    By implementing strategic management practices, firms can take hold of the changing market and better compete in today's economy.

  • How to design a simple education-based Web site for an individual attorney
    Trey Ryder
    Standing Committee on Legal Technology, June 2004

    As a rule, the more lawyers you have in your firm, the less able you are to focus your Web site's attention on any one lawyer's knowledge and experience.

  • Christopher T. Hurley
    YLDNews, April 2002

    Looking back, the only regret I have is not taking the leap sooner.

  • Michael A. Hall
    General Practice, Solo & Small Firm, March 1999

    Those of us from general practice firms have a distinct advantage over our colleagues who concentrate in one or two areas of the law; namely, they need us more often than we need them