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The Illinois Supreme Court handed down two opinions on Friday, October 18. In People v. Murray, the court reversed a defendant’s conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member on the basis that the Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act requires proof of specific offenses in order to satisfy the “course or pattern of criminal activity” element necessary to establish that an individual is a street gang member. In People v. Austin, the Supreme Court rejected a circuit court’s determination that a criminal charge against a woman who distributed private sexual images of her ex-fiancee’s lover…
There are many things to consider when hiring or changing managed services providers for your firm. It’s essential to ensure that a potential provider is on the same page as you and can manage your firm’s expectations. The ISBA’s “Essential Questions for Your Managed Services Provider” document serves as a cheat sheet with the top 10 questions to ask before hiring a provider, so you’ll know what you’re getting into and what to truly expect. The resource 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 Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee (IJEC), a joint committee of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and the Illinois Judges Association, has released answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) as a resource for judges and attorneys seeking election or retention to judicial positions in Illinois. The resource provides answers to common practical and ethical questions asked by judicial candidates. Recognizing that many candidates may be unfamiliar with the provisions of the Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct and Illinois Election Code that govern judicial elections, the FAQs are designed to help those who plan to run for judicial…
The Illinois Judicial Conference (IJC) has announced its three-year strategic agenda for the Illinois judicial branch. The IJC has created a mission statement, vision statement, and core values for the branch, along with strategic goals and strategies designed to achieve them. The agenda will serve as a guide for the future of the branch as it begins the implementation phase. The mission of the branch will be “to protect the rights and liberties of all by providing equal access to justice, resolving disputes, and upholding the rule of law pursuant to the powers and duties entrusted to us by the…
The Illinois Supreme Court on Sept. 26 amended Rules 206, 212, 306, 308, 315, and 342. All changes go into effect Oct. 1. Amended Rule 206 makes it explicitly clear that a “party has the right to use the video recording of a deposition or any part thereof in lieu of reading from a stenographic transcript of the deposition.” Amended Rule 212 states that discovery depositions may be used “as a former statement, pursuant to Illinois Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2).” Amended Rule 306 now includes a requirement that “[a]fter the petitioner has filed the petition [for interlocutory appeal] and…
The Illinois Supreme Court has amended Rule 767, which pertains to reinstatement petitions for lawyers who have been disbarred or suspended. The changes go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. The amended Rule clarifies what attorneys must include in a petition for reinstatement. The amended Rule states that “[t]he petition shall set forth the date on which discipline was imposed, the attorney’s intent to be reinstated to the roll of attorneys admitted to practice law in this State, and a statement that the attorney has deposited $1500 with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to be applied against the costs of…
Succession planning is a necessary consideration for attorneys, regardless of whether they’re actively planning to close or merge a firm. It’s important for lawyers to designate a representative who can take limited fiduciary action if the designating attorney loses the capacity to run his or her firm, abandons the practice, or dies. The ISBA’s “Succession Planning Checklist” provides guidance when considering the various scenarios that may necessitate an attorney handing over the reins. 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…
The Illinois Supreme Court handed down four opinions on Thursday, September 19. In Accettura v. Vacationland, Inc., the court clarified the distinction between rejection and revocation of acceptance for purposes of the Illinois version of the Uniform Commercial Code. In Carmichael v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., the court provided instruction on what is a proper counterclaim under section 2-608 of the Code of Civil Procedure and explained that a counterclaim is an independent, substantive cause of action that seeks affirmative relief and must stand or fall on its own merits. In People v. Custer, the court considered whether to extend…
The Illinois Supreme Court on September 17 amended Rules 610, 613, 901, and 1101. All changes are effective immediately. Amended Rule 610 alters the requirements for information to be included in motions for extension of time in criminal cases. Rule 613 amendments make clear that “[e]xcept for a hearsay statement otherwise admissible under evidence rules, a prior statement that is consistent with the declarant-witness’s testimony is admissible, for rehabilitation purposes only and not substantively as a hearsay exception or exclusion, when the declarant testifies at the trial or hearing and is available to the opposing party for examination concerning the…
There are many reasons why firms close, some planned and some unplanned. Regardless of the reason, the ethical duties of the attorneys in these situations are similar—to protect the clients’ interests. While there are no specific rules covering what lawyers need to do when closing a practice, there are basic ethical obligations. The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s “Basic Steps to Ethically Closing a Law Practice,” which can be found on Practice HQ, provides forms and suggested procedures to assist attorneys in closing a firm while meeting their ethical obligations. The document is one of many member…
Every firm needs a technology budget to function effectively. But when you’re budgeting for equipment that is critical to the day-to-day operation of your firm, it’s important to consider where you need to spend a little bit more money and where you can cut back. The ISBA’s “Building a Technology Budget” document provides best practice tips on technology purchases, from how much you should spend on computers to whether you should use open source software or purchase it. The document is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology…
Most law firms could do more to protect their data. Whether the firm lacks the awareness of security policies or merely does not have enough security restrictions, the firm is unknowingly putting business information at risk. The ISBA’s whitepaper on common security blind spots outlines three easy ways to beef up security, which include implementing restrictions on downloading programs, instituting a firm-wide solution for external document sharing, and creating options for encrypted emails. The whitepaper 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…
A tornado is one of the most violent and destructive types of storms, often developing with little to no advance warning. Parts of Illinois are particularly susceptible to tornadoes, so it’s important for law firms to be prepared for such an occurrence. The ISBA’s tornado preparedness checklist helps attorneys communicate effectively to ensure their employees are safe and that their businesses can recover after the storm has passed. Checklist tips include: Have a plan to provide emergency notification to all employees, clients, visitors, and customers in the event of a tornado. Conduct drills on a regular basis. Put a crisis…
Starting a new law firm can be an incredibly exciting endeavor, but it can also be daunting to navigate the process and face the unknown. After all, attorneys must consider everything from software to practice management to client services. The ISBA’s Starting a Law Firm Checklist provides a breakdown of the basic framework and issues to consider when opening a firm, including the following: Corporate filing status Source of funds for the operation Associate/staff compensation Practice management software The checklist is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology…
The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Thursday, Aug. 1. In People v. Johnson, the court held that the act of shoplifting could be prosecuted as burglary as opposed to retail theft. People v. Johnson By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender In July 2014, Darren Johnson and another man entered the Rock Falls Walmart, placing two backpacks on top of a coin counting machine in the vestibule on their way into the store. Inside, they gathered some items of clothing and then, without paying for the clothing, returned to the vestibule, retrieved the backpacks,…
Law firms often make easy targets for ransomware attacks. The primary reason is that firms are late to the security game. Criminals target firms with ransomware because they have low security, very sensitive data, and will pay to keep it. The ISBA’s Six-Step Ransomware Defense Plan for Law Firms provides an outline for how to avoid a disruptive and money-losing ransomware attack. The whitepaper 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…