Bellas & Wachowski, Attorneys at Law

George Bellas started what is now Bellas & Wachowski Attorneys at Law after leaving his position as a prosecuting attorney in 1973. The firm consists of six attorneys and six support team members working in areas such as business law, business litigation and personal injury claims. Our law offices are located in the Chicago area, near O'Hare Airport and easy for our clients to reach from anywhere in the Chicago area.

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How Can Generative AI Assist Your Business?
What is generative artificial intelligence, embedded in applications such as ChatGPT?  How could it help your business?   What pitfalls should you avoid.  What policies should you craft around it?
This is no longer science fiction.  AI has become a reality and every business will be impacted by its use and application and your business must get on board with dealing with it and using it.
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Continue Reading How Can Generative AI Assist Your Business?

Antitrust LawsuitNational Association of Realtors
Decades-old norms regarding Realtor commissions and other policies surrounding home buying and selling have been swept away by the March 15 court settlement between the National Association of Realtors and groups of homeowners who filed suit against the realtors’ group arguing that home buyers should pay their agents’ commissions directly and  – most significantly – be able to negotiate that fee.
As a result of the settlement – which is still subject to the approval of the judge overseeing the case – the standard 6% commission on a home sale, heretofore split between the buyers’
Continue Reading Real Estate Brokers’ Commissions Upended by Recent Settlement

Corporate Transparency Act
While Congress might have had worthwhile purposes in passing the Corporate Transparency Act, a section of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, it’s nonetheless unconstitutional, according to a federal judge’s summary judgment ruling in an Alabama case brought by the National Small Business Association (NSBA).
The Act requires most entities incorporated under state law to provide the U.S. Treasury Department’s criminal enforcement arm with significant personal information about their stakeholders, in an attempt to prevent money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes that often make use of shell corporations.
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Continue Reading Corporate Transparency Act struck down as unconstitutional

Employee or Freelancer?
Is a person who works for your business financially dependent on you, or can they potentially independently profit based on their skill set? Will they be part of your company indefinitely? Do they perform a central, daily, integral role? Do you dictate when, where and how they work? Do you limit their ability to work for others? Can the person apply what they do to other endeavors, widening their market reach and leading to other revenue streams?
Small businesses and other employers will need ask themselves this set of questions and consider the “totality of the circumstances”
Continue Reading Employee or Freelancer? New Rules for Independent Contractors

For parents going through a divorce, the right-now priority is to retain matrimonial attorneys to negotiate or litigate a plan to divide up assets, determine alimony and child support payments, and haggle over children’s residency and visitation schedules.
And it’s understandable that’s the top focus from a legal standpoint. But assuming you and your soon-to-be former spouse have, at some point, put into place estate planning documents—wills, trusts, powers-of-attorney, life insurance policies or anything else—you will want to revisit those ASAP.
Among other reasons, that’s because without a will that names someone you trust to manage money for your minor
Continue Reading Going Through a Divorce? Don’t Forget to Disinherit Your Soon-to-be Ex

Looking for a reason not to use a cryptocurrency exchange account?
If you are looking for a reason to use a cryptocurreny exchange account, you may now have a reason not to use one…..or at least check out the terms and conditions of the exchange.
One thorny question has arisen and needs the attention of everyone using an exchange account.
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Continue Reading Beware the Cryptocurrency Exchange Account


Did you know that according to recent statistics, a significant percentage of adults still don’t have a will in place?  Here’s a glimpse into the current state of estate planning:1. Widespread Gap: Surprisingly, approximately 60% of adults worldwide do not have a valid will. This means the majority of individuals are yet to formalize their wishes regarding asset distribution, guardianship, and more.

2. Age and Preparedness: Studies indicate that the younger demographic tends to procrastinate on estate planning. About 78% of millennials and 64% of Generation X don’t have a will, assuming that this is a concern for later stages
Continue Reading Estate Planning Insights: The Widespread Impact of Wills

Starting on January 1, 2024, most employers in the will be required to provide five days of paid leave for any reason. Thanks to an City Council ordinance passed earlier this month by a 36-12 vote, Chicago employers will have to double that amount, including five sick days and five vacation days, under one of the most sweeping employee leave laws in the U.S.
The ordinance, which new Mayor Brandon Johnson described as “a step towards equity in the workplace,” also mandates that when workers depart their positions, companies with more than 100 employees will have to pay out as
Continue Reading Chicago Employers Required to Give 10 Days Paid Leave—Starting in Six Weeks

Tax Implications When Leaving a Partnership
When a partner leaves a business, the resulting transaction can take the form of a payment to the retiring partner to redeem his or her share of the business, or a sale of that share of the business to the remaining partners. Either way, the person who leaves obtains cash or property while the partners who remain increase their share of the assets on a proportional basis. While the end result appears to be the same, however, the tax implications can be quite disparate.
When the retiring partner receives a redemption payment, Section 736
Continue Reading When Partner Leaves Partnership, What are the Tax Implications?

Transit Benefits Required for Illinois Employers
Another wrinkle for employers in the Chicago area.
Businesses located in the six-county Chicago area near public transit routes operated by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) that have at least 50 employees will be required as of Jan. 1, 2024, to provide their full-time employees with pre-tax public transit benefits.
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Continue Reading Employer Paying for Employees’ Transit Costs?

Long-Term Temps to be Paid Like Employees
Both Illinois employers that contract with temporary labor service agencies, and those agencies themselves that do business in the state, should review staffing contracts and ensure compliance with relevant policies and procedures under amendments to the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, which took effect immediately.
The amendments to HB 2862 hold that temporary workers assigned to a third-party client for more than 90 days are entitled to wages and benefits—or the cash equivalent of benefits—equivalent to the lowest-paid employee at that client who performs the “same
Continue Reading Illinois now requires Long-Term Temps to be paid like Employees

Supreme Court Ruling on Religious Reasons
Small businesses and other employers are likely to find it more difficult to refuse requests for religious accommodations after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in a recent case, Groff v. DeJoy, which concerned a postal worker who unsuccessfully requested to be off-the-clock every Sunday—when the post office still makes deliveries for Amazon—citing his Evangelical Christian faith.
Gerald Groff, a Pennsylvania man, nonetheless kept being put on the schedule for Sundays and disciplined for not working while his co-workers were stretched thin attempting to cover his routes. He resigned, sued, lost his case and lost
Continue Reading How Does Supreme Court Ruling on ‘Religious Reasons’ Impact Small Businesses?

You Can, But Should You?
To begin with, employers thinking about using AI such as ChatGPT during hiring and selection need to familiarize themselves with the technology at a conceptual level, and then look closely at—and understand well enough so they can explain to others—how AI integrates with their recruiting tools and practices.
A key piece of state legislation in Illinois pertaining to the use of AI is the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act (820 ILCS 42/1), which lays down various stipulations for the recording of video interviews and subsequent use of AI while evaluating said recordings.
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Continue Reading How Can You—and How Shouldn’t You—Use AI in the Hiring Process?

Aret Smart Contracts Smart?
Imagine if the paper on which your business’ contracts are written could somehow come to life and automatically send payments to your collectors—and receive payments from your debtors—at the appropriate times, as different provisions of said contract are triggered.
That’s more or less how electronic smart contracts, self-enforcing pieces of computer code set up to execute on the blockchain, more efficiently streamline certain processes. While sometimes legally enforceable, they have their drawbacks and will probably never completely replace traditional legal contracts.
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Continue Reading Are Smart Contracts Smart for Your Business?

Are Non-Competes Really Enforceable?
Most non-compete agreements between employers and employees violate the National Labor Relations Act, according to a May 30 memo from Jennifer A. Abruzzo, general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board.  Such agreements, which bar employees from taking certain types of positions or running certain types of businesses after leaving their current positions, specifically run afoul of Sections 7 and 8(a)(1) of the act, she wrote.
Section 7 provides that employees have a “right to self-organization, to form, join or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in
Continue Reading NLRB Rules Most Employee Non-Competes Unenforceable