Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership

By Beverly Allen, ISBA Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services

Legal aid programs have been at the forefront of the war on poverty and the fight for equal access to justice for all since its inception.  Historically, legal aid played a crucial role in ensuring equal protections under the law involving social security, housing, health care, education, employment, and anti-discrimination issues for those who could not afford legal representation. In 1965, the federal legal aid programs focused efforts on what was coined, “The War on Poverty.”[1]   In 1975, the Legal Services Corporation Act refocused the purpose of the programs from addressing poverty to achieving equal access to justice.[2]

Today, legal aid programs continue to focus on issues affecting the poor.  People of color, are three times as likely as whites to be poor, according to the 2000 Census.[3]   People of color are more likely to experience substandard housing conditions; poor medical care; inferior education; a higher unemployment rate; and discrimination in the welfare system. [4]  These conditions are the consequences of institutional racism. 


ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers The Land Trust Beneficiary Rights Act (House Bill 4697 ), The Mechanics Lien Act (Senate Bill 2450), Product liability (House Bill 5596), Tenants Radon Protection Act (House Bill 4528), Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (Defines terms. House Bill 4648) and Punitive damages (Senate Bill 2509). More information on each bill is available below the video.

The Land Trust Beneficiary Rights Act. House Bill 4697 (Nekritz, D-Buffalo Grove) provides that the rights of a beneficial owner may not be impaired in any way by the change of trustees if the identity of the trustee of a land trust has been changed by virtue of sale, assignment, appointment, or otherwise, but the beneficial owner or owners of the land trust remain unchanged. Provides that a change of trustees by a sale, acquisition, or appointment governed by the Corporate Fiduciaries Act is not a bar or defense to any pending court action filed by or in the name of either the previous trustee or the new trustee, regardless of whether the court action was originally filed in a representative capacity on behalf of the beneficial owner or owners. Referred to House Rules Committee.


In a recent post to the ISBA family law discussion group, Nancy Dryden of Newton posed this question: "I represent a mom in a modification of custody battle. The 13-year-old half-brother of the minor at issue is very eager to testify on behalf of the parent I'm representing. He wishes to respond to allegations of actions by my client that involved him as well as his half-sibling who is the subject of the custody battle. Would the court allow him to testify? If so, are there any drawbacks?"

Eric Frobish of Morris wrote this: "If the child is competent to testify, then the judge technically doesn't have any choice in the matter. CAVEAT: my experience has always been that judges will bend over backwards to avoid putting a minor on the stand in a custody hearing. You're taking a chance of really ticking the judge off by putting this kid on the stand, which would presumably not be to your client's benefit. It may be a bit less upsetting to the judge since it's not the child who is the subject of the litigation, but...."

Read more in the February Illinois Bar Journal, and find out more about ISBA discussion groups here.



Volunteers are needed for the 2016 ISBA High School Mock Trial Invitational at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign. It will be held the weekend of April 2-3.

If you would like to volunteer for the 2016 Invitational, please register by going to: www.isba.org/teachers/mocktrial and clicking on the red button that says “Sign up to volunteer.” 

If you have already registered, thank you!  You will receive e-mails closer to the event providing you with more information about the program, a schedule, and logistics, such as parking information.


National consumer rights firm Edelson PC, headquartered in Chicago, announced it has made a $345,000 donation to the Illinois Bar Foundation. 

Jay Edelson, the founder of the firm, said the donation is part of his firm's broader efforts to support local and national organizations that promote open access to the courts.  “It has become more difficult for ordinary people to have full and fair access to the courts; this imbalance especially impacts disadvantaged communities. Legal aid organizations, like the IBF, are of critical importance in keeping the playing field as level as possible,” Edelson explained.


Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. We are a 25-lawyer insurance defense firm in Northwest Dallas. We are managed by a managing partner, firm administrator, and director of human resources. We have been discussing the need for a marketing director. Are we too small? If we decide to hire one what should we be looking for and where should we start our search?


ISBA member Martin Glink discusses foundations on how to get objects, records and photographs admitted into evidence. 


Nominations are being accepted for ISBA awards. Please submit all nominations before March 4. Additional information is available at www.isba.org/awards or by clicking the link to the individual award.

  • Austin Fleming Newsletter Editors Award
    This award honors outstanding editors or past editors of Association newsletters. It is based on the concept of meritorious service to the Association and is not necessarily to be given every year.
  • Community Leadership Award
    Given by the ISBA's Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), the honor recognizes individuals for efforts to foster understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their issues of concern.
  • Diversity Leadership Award
    The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes long standing, continuing and exceptional commitment by an individual or an organization to the critical importance of diversity within the Illinois legal community, its judiciary and within the Illinois State Bar Association.

Attend this seminar in Chicago or via live webcast on February 17, 2016 for a better understanding of the current issues and challenges surrounding mental health law in Illinois! As an attorney working in the mental health law arena, you need to stay up to date on the legislative and procedural changes taking place throughout Illinois. Mental health lawyers, disability law practitioners, family law attorneys, and those working in the health care industry attending this seminar will better understand: the legislative changes affecting Illinois’ Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code; how the Mental Health Confidentiality Act is impacted by recent Illinois legislation; the recent Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court decisions regarding the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code and the Illinois Mental Health Confidentiality Act; and the legal and ethical obligations attorneys have when facing a colleague with mental illness.


The Candidate Report for the 2016 ISBA Election is below. All ISBA attorney members with their dues paid by March 1, 2016 are eligible to vote. Ballots will be distributed on Monday, March 28, 2016. It may take several days for mailed ballots to reach members.  Email (e-ballot) distribution will begin the morning of the 28th and should conclude before 4 p.m. The deadline for voting is Friday, April 29th at 4:30 p.m. Central Time for all voting methods: e-ballot, paper or internet. Additional voting information is available below the report.

2016 CANDIDATE REPORT

(N.B.: Pursuant to the Policy and Procedures for Election approved by the ISBA Assembly, in those instances where there are more candidates than positions to be filled, nominees are listed on the ballot by the date of filing. Where two or more people filed on the same date, ballot positions were determined by lot. Ballot positions are listed next to the candidate’s name.)

Third Vice-President   (1 to be elected; 2 candidates)

  • Stephen M. Komie 2
  • David B. Sosin 1