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


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in an 18-attorney law firm in Jacksonville, Florida. Our business development committee is requiring all attorneys to submit annual personal business development plans. I have been thinking about writing a book. Is such a goal worth my time investment? I welcome your thoughts.

A. While writing a book is not terribly difficult, it takes time and commitment, and will consume some non-billable hours. However, as David Maister often states, “attorneys should consider their billable time as their current income and their non-billable time as their future.”  In other words, non-billable time is an investment in your long-term future. I believe that authoring a book is an excellent way of building your professional reputation and brand and it will pay dividends in the long-term. Authoring a book can create opportunities that could change your whole life.

When I wrote my book, I had 142 non-billable hours invested in the book and I had some content available from past articles that I had written over the years. Often a good starting point is to start writing articles around a particular topic/theme and later tie them together in a book. This is a good way of taking “baby steps.”

During the writing process, authoring a book may seem like anything but freedom. However, it is a trade-off. Work for the book now and it will work for you later.



Effective January 1, 2018, e-filing will be mandatory for all civil cases in the Illinois circuit courts. Practice HQ, our new one-stop microsite that houses together high-quality practice information, has a page dedicated to e-filing. This page was designed to help our members understand e-filing basics, stay up-to-date on the latest rule changes, and prepare for what's coming next.



We recently launched our new member benefit, Practice HQ. Organized by the lifecycle of a law practice, this one-stop microsite houses together high-quality practice information in one place.

Once you've opened your firm, developed a marketing and retention strategy to build your client base, learned the ins and outs of managing and protecting, the final stage of your firm's lifecycle is to ethically wind down. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to succession planning because practices close for many different reasons; sometimes it is planned while other times the circumstances are outside of our control. As a result, the Practice HQ resources geared toward winding down your practice are valuable to members at all stages of their career, whether you're nearing retirement or simply want to prepare for the future. After all, the planning for eventual succession takes place long before any transactions.


Bob Craghead, ISBA director and NABE president, with Zoe Linza, outgoing NABE president and executive director of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
Bob Craghead, ISBA director and NABE president, with Zoe Linza, outgoing NABE president and executive director of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
Robert E. Craghead, executive director of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), was installed as 2017-18 president of the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE) Thursday, August 10, at the group’s annual meeting in New York City. He was elected vice-president in the spring of 2016 and automatically ascended to the presidency.

NABE members are management-level staff who work for state, metropolitan, and local bar associations from all over the country. Craghead has been active in NABE for decades, having served on the governing board and numerous committees. He received the organization’s Bolton Award for Professional Excellence in 2003.

Craghead has spent his entire career with the 30,000-member Illinois State Bar Association, starting there in 1975 and holding a variety of positions before becoming executive director in 1994. He is the third ISBA executive director to serve as NABE president. Amos Pinkerton led the group in 1954-55, as did John H. Dickason in 1976-77.

Craghead was born in Galesburg in 1953 and is a graduate of Illinois College. He lives in Springfield with his wife, Fran, and has three children — Brent, Adam, and Rachel — and four grandchildren.



Asked and Answered

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

Q. I serve on the management committee of our 16-lawyer firm in Columbus, Ohio. We do not currently have a strategic plan and have been discussing whether we should spend the time developing one. However, we are not sure what a strategic plan would do for us or why it is worth the investment. We appreciate any thoughts that you might have.

A. One of the major problems facing law firms is focus. Research indicates that three of the biggest challenges facing professionals today are: time pressures, financial pressures, and the struggle to maintain a healthy balance between work and home. Billable time, non-billable time or the firm’s investment time, and personal time must be well managed, targeted, and focused. Your time must be managed as well.

Today well-focused specialists are winning the marketplace wars. Trying to be all things to all people is not a good strategy. Such full-service strategies only lead to lack of identity and reputation. For most small firms, it is not feasible to specialize in more than two or three core practice areas.

Based upon our experience from client engagements, we have concluded that lack of focus and accountability is one of the major problems facing law firms. Often the problem is too many ideas, alternatives, and options. The result often is no action at all or actions that fail to distinguish firms from their competitors and provide them with a sustained competitive advantage. Ideas, recommendations, suggestions, etc. are of no value unless implemented.



Back by Popular Demand! This two-day program in Chicago on September 7-8, 2017 is designed to help those attorneys who represent children. Under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 906(c), an attorney should receive ten hours of education every two years in child developments; roles of guardians ad litem and child representatives; ethics in child custody cases; relevant substantive state, federal, and case law in custody and visitation matters; and family dynamics, including substance abuse, domestic abuse, and mental health issues. Topics for this seminar include: the role, scope and limitations of representation; the conflicts that will limit the role of the appointment; child development issues, including mental health, milestones, attachment, and parental separation; working with impaired and high-conflict families; restricting parental responsibilities; how to assess and analyze a child’s best interest on a limited budget for testing and evaluation; domestic violence and how it affects children; conducting the child interview and the developmental issues you need to consider beforehand; cultural competency; and more.

The program is presented by the ISBA Family Law Section. It qualifies for 14.5 hours MCLE credit, including 13.0 hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.



Kerry Bryson reviews People v. Holmes, handed down Thursday, August 3. 

Round v. Lamb

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Petitioner Danny Round brought a complaint for habeas corpus, or, in the alternative, for an order of mandamus. Round’s present incarceration is the result of his serving his mandatory supervised release (MSR) term in custody because an acceptable electronic monitoring host site could not be identified. In the instant proceeding, Round sought immediate release, arguing that the sentencing order in his case did not include the 4-year MSR term on which he is presently being held; that even if that 4-year MSR term applies, it started to run when he completed his term of imprisonment on the count with which it is associated and not when he completed a longer, concurrent term of imprisonment; and that his sentence should have been amended to be no more than seven years total. because that was the maximum term he expected at the time of his plea.

It would be difficult to provide a more clear and succinct summary of the court’s analysis of each of Round’s contentions than that provided by Justice Garman, writing for the Court, at the conclusion of the opinion (¶¶ 28-30):



Jeanne Bigham Heaton, ISBA’s Director of CLE, became the president of ACLEA last Tuesday at the association’s annual meeting in Montreal. The gavel was ceremoniously passed to Heaton after she previously served terms as ACLEA’s treasurer and secretary. She will serve as president until August of 2018. Heaton is the first ISBA staff member to rise to the presidency of this preeminent association for continuing legal education professionals.

Heaton joined the ISBA as the director of continuing legal education in November 2006.  As director, she supervises and coordinates the planning, implementation, and delivery of CLE programs for the association.  Before joining the ISBA, she worked as an environmental law attorney with the firm of Hodge Dwyer Zeman in Springfield, where she specialized in regulatory and administrative law issues. 

Prior to private practice, Heaton served as assistant counsel and then acting chief counsel for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.  She graduated, cum laude, from Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington, completing her last year of law school as a visiting student at the American University Washington College of Law.

ACLEA, which was established in 1964, is an international association for CLE professionals.  While its members are primarily from the United States and Canada, they also hail from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and Mexico. CLE administrators, trainers, managers, educators, publishers, programmers, and meeting professionals make up the membership of ACLEA. 

 



Gain the momentum you need to run an efficient, competitive law practice in today’s technology-driven environment with this informative full-day seminar in Fairview Heights on September 15, 2017! Learn how to hire and fire employees, manage your data, use technology to your advantage, protect your firm, and handle any HR issues that may arise. In addition, attendees will gain a better understanding of: which iPad tools can help you make the most out of your iPad preparation and presentations; how to make the most of your online research; why hiring the right employees to manage your office is so important (and what to do when a good employee goes bad); how to avoid employee embezzlement through best practice office procedures; the new e-filing requirements; maximizing the efficiency of Illinois Bar Docs in your practice; and much more!

The program is presented by the Illinois State Bar Association and sponsored by the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company and Attorney’s Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. It qualifies for 6.50 hours MCLE credit, including 6.50 hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.



The Illinois State Bar Association’s Lawyer Finder Service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays. The Service makes referrals in a number of areas of law. For the month of July 2017, there were a total of 954 calls.  ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the 31 areas of law.

Here are the results for July 2017: