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Latest from Illinois Lawyer Now

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…
The owners of law firms may consider merger options as part of their succession planning. While periodically reviewing merger options can be an effective part of long-range strategic plans, it’s important that firms do not rely on mergers as a life raft. Instead, mergers should incorporate a well-thought business strategy and create greater client value. The ISBA’s Merging Law Firms Checklist helps attorneys plan for a successful merger, and includes formation, compensation, accounting, and billing considerations. 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…
Many attorneys spend their time and resources focusing on getting more leads but fail to realize that what they do with those leads is just as important as generating them. The ISBA’s whitepaper on managing leads and converting prospects into paying clients highlights four major components of improving conversion rates, which include training for your front office and intake staff; specific tactics and strategies to maximize conversion at each stage; intake customer relationship management software; and the tracking and measuring of key metrics. The whitepaper is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite…
An American Bar Association study reported that 17 percent of all malpractice claims are the result of a poor attorney-client relationship, and nearly 75 percent of all grievances filed against lawyers are the result of poor communication. The ISBA’s whitepaper on improving client communications provides practical guidance for attorneys to form better business relationships with their clients. Topics include potential causes for a breakdown in communication, internal communication issues, and steps to improve interactions with clients. 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…
The Illinois Supreme Court issued five opinions on Thursday, June 20. The ISBA’s panel of leading civil attorneys reviewed the opinions and provided summaries. In Nichols v. Fahrenkamp, the court took on the question of whether quasi-judicial immunity extends to court-appointed guardians ad litem in the context of the administration of funds from a personal injury lawsuit. The court dismissed a man’s class action lawsuit against Walgreens on the grounds that his claim was precluded under the voluntary payment doctrine in McIntosh v. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. In County of Will v. Pollution Control Board, the court upheld the board’s…
While retirement is usually planned, the sudden death or disability of an attorney requires contingency planning. It’s especially important for private-practice attorneys to designate a representative on their ARDC registration documents or certify that they have made a similar designation in a succession plan or comparable agreement. The representative would be able to take limited fiduciary action if the designating attorney loses the capacity to run his or her firm, abandons the practice, or dies, thus preventing the negligence of client matters. The ISBA’s video, “Do You Have a Substitute Attorney in the Event of Your Disability or Death?
Illinois Lawyer Now, the ISBA’s recently launched blog aggregation site, now features nearly 70 contributors throughout the state. The site hosts content from members’ legal blogs, as well as original ISBA substantive legal news. ISBA member bloggers or firms with at least one ISBA member are encouraged to submit their blogs for inclusion by filling out a short online form. Illinois Lawyer Now is a complimentary member benefit that was created to highlight the excellent writing of ISBA members. While the average firm’s legal blog is seen by only those who visit its website, inclusion on Illinois Lawyer Now…
The Illinois Supreme Court handed down one opinion on Thursday, June 6. In People v. Clark, the court affirmed that a defendant’s bail bond violation constituted escape. People v. Clark By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender Elizabeth Clark had a history of substance abuse. In October 2012, Clark pled guilty to burglary and unlawful use of a credit card and, pending sentencing, she was released for treatment. Ultimately, Clark was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 30 months of probation. Clark subsequently violated that probation twice. She was taken into custody and then released on…
The Illinois Supreme Court today amended Rule 295, which pertains to matters assignable to associate judges. The amended Rule, which goes into effect July 1, provides: “The chief judge of each circuit or any circuit judge designated by him or her may assign an associate judge to hear and determine any matters deemed suitable by the chief judge or designated circuit judge, including the trial of criminal cases in which the defendant is charged with an offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.” The Rule previously read as follows: “The chief judge of each circuit or any circuit…
Marcia M. Meis, director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that 386 out of 391 Illinois associate judges who filed requests for reappointment to their office for a new four-year term have been retained. Having certified the results of more than 480 total ballots cast in Illinois’ 24 circuit courts, Meis informed that each successful candidate received votes that tallied three-fifths or greater in favor of their reappointment. Five associate judges did not receive the requisite number of votes for reappointment. The new term of office for each reappointed associate judge will begin on July 1,…
Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier issued the following statement today on the increased funding for the judicial branch following the signing of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget by Governor J.B. Pritzker. “On behalf of the entire court, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the General Assembly and the Governor for their willingness to confront the growing financial problems faced by the Judicial Branch and to do so in a concrete and constructive way. After five years of flat appropriations and rising expenses, most of which were mandated by law and beyond our control, the…
The age-old idiom “hope for the best and prepare for the worst” can be applied to assessing risks to a law firm. To plan for recovery, attorneys should understand what risks threaten their practice, and how to determine their potential impact in order to mitigate risks. The ISBA’s Risk Assessment Form provides a checklist that identifies and rates potential risks to a law firm. Attorneys can then focus mitigation efforts on risks with higher importance, which is calculated by multiplying probability and impact. The form is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite…
The Illinois Supreme Court issued three opinions on Thursday, May 23. The ISBA’s panel of leading civil attorneys reviewed the opinions and provided summaries. In LMP Services, Inc. v. City of Chicago, the court ruled that Chicago’s food truck regulations are constitutional. In Roberts v. Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 508, the court dismissed retaliatory discharge and whistleblower claims brought by a former Malcolm X College employee against City Colleges of Chicago. In Doe v. Coe, the court weighed in on the elements of torts of negligent and willful and wanton hiring, retention, and supervision. LMP Services,