When was the last time you evaluated your legal services in terms of client expectations? How about your legal marketing plan? For most, it’s rarely, if ever. Yet, we work in a service industry. While the maxim “the customer is always right” might seem misplaced in the legal profession, it doesn’t diminish the importance of taking a client-centered approach to the delivery of legal services. According to the 2018 Clio Legal Trends Report: “Clients may be the ones to set expectations for law firms, but lawyers are ultimately responsible for delivering on those expectations by finding solutions that are…
Each year on May 1, the legal community comes together to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day 2019 provides an opportunity to reflect on the role that the law plays in protecting our liberty, securing justice and contributing to the freedoms that Americans share. President Dwight Eisenhower established the first Law Day in 1958 to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. In 1961, Congress designated May 1 as the official date for Law Day. Since then, every president has issued a Law Day proclamation recognizing the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Each year,…
After signing a non-compete agreement with his employer, president of a consulting firm resigned after less than a year, joined a competitor, and began to solicit his former clients and employees. The consulting firm sued, arguing that the ex-employee was bound by the terms of the non-compete and had breached his employment agreement. The Illinois Appellate Court found that the noncompete clause was unenforceable because the employee had not worked for at least two years after signing it, and the only consideration given in exchange for agreeing to the noncompete was continued employment. Axion RMS, Ltd. is a company specializing…
The Illinois Supreme Court issued three opinions on Thursday, April 18. The ISBA’s panel of leading appellate and civil attorneys reviewed the opinions and provided summaries. In People v. Buffer, the court upheld an appellate court’s decision to vacate a defendant’s 50-year prison sentence imposed for a crime he committed when he was 16 years old and remanded the case for resentencing. In People v. Kimble, the court denied a man’s motion to bar his reprosecution on double jeopardy grounds where the trial judge declared a mistrial after the jury was deadlocked. Fillmore v. Taylor addresses whether an inmate can…
Richard Rubin reported on a new wine tax case in The Wall Street Journal yesterday. The National Association of Manufacturers filed the lawsuit (link here, and embedded below) over substitution drawbacks Briefly, substitution drawbacks (19 U.S.C. 1313(j)) allow companies that import wine to obtain a tax refund for the taxes paid on the imported wine when similar merchandise is exported or destroyed. Bring in a case of wine that you pay taxes on – get those taxes back if you export a case of similar wine. (What’s similar? – wine “of the same color” and…
  Thursday, April 18, 2019     The ability of Illinois municipalities to regulate billboards along interstate highways has been the subject of much litigation over the past few decades. These disputes usually center around the sometimes-conflicting provisions of the Highway Advertising Control Act of 1971 (“Highway Act”).  The Highway Act provides maximum size, spacing, and lighting restrictions for interstate highway billboards that are permitted by IDOT. However, the Highway Act also expressly authorizes municipalities to adopt more restrictive regulations for interstate highway billboards than those imposed by the Highway so long as the municipal regulations are consistent with “customary use.” Many…
Although the number of women attending law school has outnumbered the number of men attending law school for several years now, it seems those women have a harder time climbing the corporate ladder than their male counterparts once they graduate from law school. According to a recently proposed class action lawsuit against Jones Day, the law firm allegedly maintains a fraternity-type culture that consistently treats men better than women – especially women who are pregnant and/or already have children. The proposed class action gender discrimination lawsuit was filed by Andrea Mazingo, Nilab Rahyar Tolton, and four other women who have…
Last month, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion resolving a long-standing circuit split concerning when a copyrighted work is considered “registered” for the purposes of initiating a copyright infringement lawsuit. The Supreme Court held that a lawsuit for copyright infringement can only be filed after the U.S. Copyright Office actually issues a registration certificate for the work. The case, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, centered on whether Fourth Estate, an online news organization, could sue Wall-Street.com for copyright infringement after the defendant canceled its license agreement but continued to display Fourth Estate’s content on…
Two Minnesota farm wineries brought a challenge to a Minnesota Farm Winery Act restriction mandating that in order to have the benefits of the Farm Winery license (direct to consumer sales, and direct to retailer sales) they make their wine from a “majority” of grapes grown or produced in Minnesota. The act does not mandate that they grow the grapes themselves, just that a majority of the grapes they use in their wines come from Minnesota. They argue that the purpose of this “in-state” mandate “was giving a commercial advantage to Minnesota ingredients at the expense of out-of-state ingredients.” The…
  Wednesday, April 17, 2019     Last Friday, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act (P.A. 101-003) barring local governments from establishing “right-to-work zones.” The new law takes effect immediately (April 12, 2019).  The Act provides that the state has exclusive authority to enact laws governing agreements between employers and unions that (i) spell out the extent to which workers can be compelled to belong to a union or and (ii) whether the employer will collect dues and fees on behalf of the union. The Act expressly prohibits any local government from enacting or enforcing any…
Sullivan & Survivor Music, Inc. v. Bickler, No. 18 C 3770, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 25, 2019) (Lee, J.). Judge Lee denied defendant Bickler’s, the former lead singer of the band Survivor, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) & (6) motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ (collectively “Survivor”) Lanham Act claims related to the alleged misuse of its SURVIVOR trademarks. Personal Jurisdiction Bickler’s royalty-based interactions with Survivor did not create general or specific jurisdiction. Furthermore, Survivor offered no evidence that Bickler directed his alleged use of the SURVIVOR marks at Illinois. And Bickler no longer lived in Illinois. But Bickler’s contract-based interactions…
Looks like this one has a good chance of passage. As we wrote about before on this bill, many new rights (in line with those available to wineries and breweries) are in store for Illinois craft distillers if this amendment to the Illinois Liquor Control Act passes. These will include creation of two new classes of craft distillers – a class 1 and class 2 that can: Class 1 Craft Distiller Ability to self-distribute Increase from 2500 to 5000 gallons that can be used for self-distribution or direct sales to consumer from your tasting room for on or off…
Craft brewers in Illinois will achieve status as a separate class if the proposed changes to Illinois’s beer franchise law, the Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act (815 ILCS 720/1), pass. House Bill 3442 proposes to change the way craft brewers are treated in Illinois. Beer franchise laws like Illinois’s Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act developed as a way to keep large brewers from exercising their market dominance and substantial bargaining power in beer distribution relationships mandated by the three-tier system. They date back to a time when many distributors were small businesses forced to deal with national and even…
In the digital age, technology is the cornerstone of any law firm. With a myriad of options on the table, it’s important to ensure that you don’t forget anything when opening a new practice. The ISBA’s New Firm Technology Checklist provides a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need to budget for, including hardware, software, security, and other technological services. The checklist is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology information. Organized by the life cycle of a law practice, Practice HQ can help you start a firm, build,…
The district court granted summary judgment to a bank on a breach of contract claim where a bank customer was precluded from suing bank for payment of fraudulent checks because customer did not report fraud within 90 days of receiving statement containing copy of first fraudulent check, and account agreement specified that fraud was required to be reported within 90 days. Designer Direct, Inc. has a bank account with PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Three of Designer Direct’s officers are authorized signers on its bank account. Between October 2016 and May 2017, Designer Direct’s former office manager, Kristiana Ostojic, forged…
  Monday, April 15, 2019     Organizers of public gatherings on property open to the public have new responsibilities when it comes to posting notices under the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act. Effective January 1, 2019, P.A. 100-0671 amended several sections of the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act which adds to the list of entities that are required to post the notice under the Act. Specifically, the new law now requires the organizer of a public gathering conducted on property open to the public that requires a permit from a unit of local government to post a notice…