Do you know an Illinois lawyer who’s making an impact in pro bono or public interest law? If so, the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) is accepting nominations for its Annual Awards Luncheon, to be held Wednesday, December 4, 2019, in Chicago. The awards celebrate the outstanding public service work of lawyers throughout Illinois. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, September 6. PILI is a pillar in the pro bono and public interest law community. Through its support of law students, legal professionals and pro bono organizations, PILI aims to “mak[e] equal access to justice a reality through a…
Today’s attorneys have discovered the importance of online lawyer reviews. While one bad review has the potential to cripple a firm, a few good reviews can provide a ton of marketing power. Timely, effective management of your online reviews can be a strong tool for generating leads. Online platforms are putting your firm’s profile as the lead component of search results, whether you’ve claimed the profile or not. Establishing and maintaining your online business presence across multiple platforms like Google, Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook and Avvo, often starts with claiming your business and professional profiles. While you don’t have control of…
Eileen Letts is a Chicago-based equity partner at Zuber, Lawler & Del Duca LLP where she specializes in personal injury law. What drew you to personal injury law? I started practicing personal injury defense work when I was with the City of Chicago. I enjoyed it and have continued to practice in the area ever since. How has your practice evolved over the last few years? [I] have been involved in more mediations/arbitrations to resolve cases before trial. From your perspective, how can lawyers adapt to the changing legal profession? We have to adapt to the practice now being 24/7.…
Each year, Illinois law schools welcome hundreds of new students to the legal profession. The Commission on Professionalism is privileged to once again facilitate a professionalism orientation for incoming students at each of Illinois’s nine law schools. The professionalism orientation is designed to introduce first-year law students to the core concepts of attorney professionalism. The orientations are held in conjunction with broader law school orientation activities. 2019 marks the 13th year that the Commission has led the program. At each orientation, judges and justices from across Illinois deliver remarks reflecting on the importance of civility and professionalism in the law.…
The legal employment market may be improving for recent law school graduates, according to new data from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). Late last month, NALP released a summary of key findings from its annual Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law School Graduates report. The data showed that while the employment rate for law school graduates continues to rise, graduates found 150 fewer jobs in 2018 than 2017. Legal employment market makes gains Members of the class of 2018 experienced an 89.4% employment rate, compared to 88.6% in 2017. The number of law firm jobs…
Change doesn’t come rapidly in law. That’s a good thing. The rule of law is predicated on predictability and consistency with precedent. However, if the rapid pace of changes in technology and globalization leave law behind and out of the equation, that’s a problem. Here’s where the idea of regulatory sandboxes may help. What’s a regulatory sandbox? “Regulatory sandbox” refers to a way for companies and regulators to experiment with new types of services and technologies to best determine how to regulate them. According to a paper written by Jorge Gabriel Jiménez, a fellow in Stanford Law School’s Legal Design…
The Digital LSAT has arrived. And the reviews are mixed. More than 24,000 aspiring lawyers registered for the July LSAT at over 450 test centers across North America. Roughly half took the digital exam, which was administered at 203 test centers. Kaplan Test Prep, an educational and career services provider, polled 118 of its students about their experience with the digital exam. Test takers were split on the overall difficulty: 37% said it was easier than expected, while 32% said it was harder and 31% said it was as expected. When it came to the technology (e.g., touchscreen and stylus…
Lawyers seeking to provide legal assistance to immigrant children facing deportation now have an easier way to identify those in need. Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation is an online platform that allows attorneys to search available pro bono cases for unaccompanied children who’ve crossed into the U.S. from Mexico, and have been detained by the federal government or released to live with family during deportation proceedings. The platform compiles cases from across the U.S. as submitted by legal aid and pro bono programs. Attorneys can search cases by geographic location, case type and posting organization. Lawyers can also…
“Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.” – Mark Twain, The Complete Works of Mark Twain: Mark Twain’s Notebook 381 (Albert Bigelow Paine ed., 1935). Twain’s documented frustration notwithstanding, the highest Court in the land will soon weigh in on a unique aspect of copyright law – copyrighting the law itself. The facts seem simple enough: PublicResources.org bought a copy of the official statutory code with official annotations (OCGA), copied it and uploaded it to the internet so the public could have free access to the law. Georgia claimed…
Angel Wawrzynek is an associate at Tapella & Eberspacher LLC in Charleston, Illinois, where she focuses on estate planning, trust and estate administration, and guardianships. How has your practice evolved over the last few years? As part of representing personal injury clients for years, I regularly had to open estates and guardianships. Ultimately, as I learned more about that area of law, I found myself drawn to the puzzle of crafting individualized estate plans, which is now the focus of my practice. How can lawyers adapt to the changing legal profession? We lawyers need to remain open to new methods of…
Corporate legal departments are delivering more services in house while exploring ways to control costs, according to the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium’s (CLOC) 2019 State of the Industry Survey. The survey, which was released on July 18, compared internal to external expenditure, legal operations headcount, technology and innovation, and law firm evaluations across 200-plus companies of different sizes in over 30 industries and 18 countries. CLOC members were polled in early 2019 about their 2018 results. This is CLOC’s second state of the industry survey. The results of the first were published in 2017. Moving in house In 2018,…
Earlier this month, Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO), the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) and the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) announced changes to the Free Legal Answers website. As of August 1, 2019, PILI will assume the state administrator role for the virtual legal clinic from ILAO. Moving forward, PILI will oversee the day-to-day website operations and volunteer management with ongoing funding assistance from IBF. ILAO will continue to provide client referrals and serve as a resource for the volunteer lawyers answering legal questions on the website. Free Legal Answers Free Legal Answers, an American Bar Association project, provides a…
Earlier this week, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice approved a new Order of Protection (OP) form suite. The forms, which are intended to simplify and standardize the OP filing process for pro se litigants statewide, are available on the Court’s website. We spoke to three people who were instrumental in the development of the new form suite about its significance. Alison Spanner, Assistant Director, Access to Justice Division at the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts Matt Newsted, Automated Documents Producer at Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) and a member of the OP Subcommittee Margaret Duval,…
Do lawyer ethics rules prohibit innovation in the delivery of legal services and contribute to the access to justice gap? Yes, according to a task force on lawyer regulation formed last summer by the California State Bar’s Board of Trustees. The task force has recommended changing some key lawyer ethics rules. California isn’t alone in exploring this issue. Arizona and Utah have also convened task forces. Illinois has been studying similar issues for some time. In addition, there are national organizations attuned to lawyer regulation issues. Whether new ethical rules are adopted by one or more states, indicators point to …
A client has the right to terminate a lawyer in favor of another at any time. However, the division of fees can get tricky, especially in contingency cases. The American Bar Association provided clarity on fee splitting last month, by releasing new guidelines for contingency cases when a lawyer is replaced by another at a different firm. Formal Opinion 487, which was issued by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, outlines the successor attorney’s obligations when assuming a case where there is monetary recovery. Fee splitting in contingency cases In a contingent fee matter, the opinion…
Last month, Maine became the second state to adopt ABA Rule 8.4(g). However, some critics fear the controversial anti-harassment and discrimination rule may be unconstitutional. The rule says it’s professional misconduct for a lawyer to, “engage in conduct or communication related to the practice of law that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” The rule goes on to say, “Declining representation, limiting one’s practice to particular clients or types of clients, and advocacy of policy positions or…