Administrative

To my fellow attorneys, a “legal acts of kindness” pep talk is long overdue. Just like Kid President’s famous pep talk, attorneys also need to find ways to make the world more awesome. And, since we celebrated World Kindness Day this week, legal acts of kindness are exactly what’s needed. World Kindness Day has been observed annually on November 13 since 1998. This day was started by the World Kindness Movement (WKM), a not-for-profit organization that consists of 27 nations, including the U.S. The purpose of World Kindness Day is to make the world a better place by celebrating…
On November 12, NextChapter and Fastcase announced a new virtual paralegal service. For a starting cost of $300 per case, NextChapter – which was acquired by Fastcase in September – will offer short-term virtual paralegal help for clients on its cloud-based bankruptcy case platform. The news reflects the profession’s move toward more flexible and even virtual workplaces. According to the American Bar Association’s TECHREPORT 2019, over 50% of lawyers telecommute. Enhanced technology and secure, cloud-based practice management software is making this virtual legal practice easier than ever. Add to that lower overhead and more rate flexibility, and many firms…
Tamika Walker is an associate at DeRango & Cain, LLC in Rockford, where she focuses on family law. What’s your primary practice area? My primary practice area is family law with a focus on divorce, custody/parental allocation, child support, juvenile abuse and neglect, and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services appeals. How has your practice evolved over the last few years? In 2006, I began practicing law at the Winnebago County Office of the Public Defender. My primary focus was criminal law. In 2010, I began practicing family law with my current law firm. While my practice area has…
I’d like to talk briefly about Calvinball. Calvinball (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) has no set rules, except that you can’t use the same rule twice. It’s chaos, yet it seems to make sense. For those unacquainted with the venerable sport, an example of Calvinball can be found here. Today’s post has a certain Calvinball flavor. I couldn’t find a principle that illustrates the point I’d like to make, so I created one based on my experience in educational design: The 10/5 Rule of CLE. Simply put, The 10/5 Rule of CLE says that a CLE presenter should speak…
Law firms may not be walking the walk on cybersecurity, according to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) TECHREPORT 2019. The report found that, while almost 60% of law firms use cloud computing applications to store client data, only 35% take standard precautionary measures to secure these data. The annual ABA TECHREPORT examines how attorneys use technology in their practices. The results stem from the ABA’s Legal Technology Survey Report in combination with analysis from leaders in legal technology. Articles on cloud computing, cybersecurity, practice management and websites and marketing have been released online. Five additional articles will be released…
On Thursday, Nov. 7, Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court justices administered the attorney’s oath to 1,459 new lawyers at bar admission ceremonies in the state’s five Supreme Court judicial districts. All candidates who were sworn in passed the Illinois State Bar Examination and a required ethics examination, and were certified by the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. The admission of these new attorneys brings the total number of licensed lawyers in Illinois to approximately 96,500. In Chicago, 1,172 attorneys were admitted in the First Judicial District during two bar admission ceremonies at the Arie Crown Theatre.…
At the request of Dan Linna, Director of Law and Technology Initiatives at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Dan Rodriguez (also of Northwestern) and I facilitated the October meetup of Northwestern’s Chicago Law and Technology Initiative. The group brings together Chicagoans to explore legal innovation, how technology can improve legal services/access to justice and legal startups. We designed the meetup as a discussion on regulatory reform with perspectives from tech entrepreneurs, law firm legal ops personnel and participants who may not be licensed practicing lawyers. Specifically, we wanted to engage their viewpoints on whether some of the Rules of…
The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) announced last week that it received a $100,000 grant from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) as part of the Justice for All project. The Illinois Court’s Access to Justice Commission will use the funds to support strategies to expand access to legal services in the state. Justice for All grants were created to implement two advanced resolutions: meaningful access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs and for traditional and non-traditional stakeholders to collaborate to develop a comprehensive approach to achieve meaningful access to justice. Illinois is one of…
Cynthia Fountaine is a professor of law at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where she focuses on issues relating to the powers of government and access to justice, with particular emphasis on the federal courts’ role in enforcing individual rights. She was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism in 2014. Why did you want to become a lawyer? I wanted to be a lawyer since I was pretty young—in high school or maybe even before that. I wanted a career in which I could make a difference, and I grew up observing the power of law…
Law student well-being is just another way for millennials to get out of work. Is it just me or is that statement a bit harsh? Yet, I’ve recently heard it a handful of times from lawyers. Go ahead, label me as “soft” or a “tree hugger”; but I’m an attorney and I believe the notion that younger generations of lawyers need to “grin and bear it” like the rest of us isn’t working. As we’ve discussed on this blog before, the legal profession has a wellness problem. Law Student Well-Being Data The pivotal 2016 American Bar Association and Hazelden
On Tuesday, October 22, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier led first-year law students from Southern Illinois University School of Law (SIU) in the Pledge of Professionalism. The pledge was part of a professionalism orientation that the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism helps to facilitate each year at Illinois’ nine law schools. The SIU orientation marked the end of another successful year of professionalism orientations for the state’s 1L students. The professionalism orientation is designed to welcome first-year law students to the legal profession and introduce them to the core concepts of attorney professionalism. At each orientation,…
Clio, a cloud-based legal technology company, announced the results of its 2019 Legal Trends Report this week at the Clio Cloud Conference in San Diego. The annual report is the legal industry’s largest nationwide assessment of client services among law firms. The study found that client service remains a challenge for law firms. Potential clients struggle to get timely and informative responses when contacting law firms. To be successful, however, law firms must strike a balance between revenue-generating tasks and delivering exceptional client service. “Clients want law firms that understand the importance of their legal issue. They want timely responses to…
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law has joined a national initiative aimed at creating a more diverse legal profession. The Move the Needle Fund, a first-of-its-kind experimental “laboratory,” will test innovative approaches to improving diversity and inclusion over five years at five U.S. law firms. These pilots will serve as roadmaps for diversity and inclusion efforts in the legal profession and beyond. The Move the Needle Fund is a unique collaboration between the Diversity Lab — an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law — law firms, more than 25 general counsel, community leaders and…
Legal organizations around Illinois and the nation will celebrate Pro Bono Week October 20-26. During and after Pro Bono Week, legal and civic organizations will hold events raising awareness of pro bono opportunities and the contributions of lawyers. Attorneys will also have the opportunity to volunteer their time. Model Rule 6.1 states that lawyers have a “professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay.” Last year, 32,866 Illinois lawyers performed over 2 million hours of pro bono service, according to the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission’s 2018 Annual Report. The report also states that 19,871 Illinois…
Last week, the Illinois Judicial Conference released a three-year strategic agenda for the Illinois Judicial Branch. The agenda, which runs through 2022, outlines the mission, vision and core values of the judicial branch, as well as organizational goals and strategies for achieving those goals. “If the courts are to continue to make good on the promise of equal justice under law in this new and challenging environment, we must be proactive. Waiting for problems to develop and then responding will no longer do,” wrote Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier in the strategic agenda. “Rather, it is critical…
When Jesse Ruiz was sworn in as Chicago Bar Association (CBA) president in June 2019, he said his primary focus was investing in the future. To combat declining membership in professional associations nationally, Ruiz said that through career advancement and educational opportunities, the CBA must be “indispensable to our members by preparing them for the future.” Ruiz, the son of an undocumented immigrant, also wants to make the CBA “a kind of focal point for other diverse groups.” During his tenure, he will focus on collaboration with diverse bar associations and prioritize advancing diversity on the bench. We caught up…