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

By Joseph R. Marconi & Brian C. Langs1, Johnson & Bell, Ltd., Chicago

Back in July of 2011, we warned of a then popular e-mail/fraudulent check scheme whereby lawyers would receive e-mails from alleged potential foreign clients looking to collect debts from customers. Those scammers convinced the unsuspecting lawyers to deposit fraudulent “settlement checks” into client accounts and wire the “clients’ share” to foreign accounts after the bogus checks cleared. When the frauds were eventually uncovered by the banks, the lawyers were left with liability to the banks for the fraudulent check and wire transfers.2 Since then, newer, more complex electronic scams have surfaced whereby hackers intercept e-mails between lawyers and clients that contain wire transfer instructions. After intercepting such an e-mail, the hacker changes the instructions in the e-mail to wire money to his own untraceable account. The hacker forwards his bogus wiring instructions to the unsuspecting recipient, all while “masking” his identity as the sender and making it appear to the recipient as if the instruction came from the correct sender, whether lawyer or client.

The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee will seek comment at a public hearing in Chicago on a proposed amendment to a Supreme Court rule regarding personal identity information in civil case filings. The Committee will also consider comments on proposed rule changes involving motions in a reviewing court; appeals from final circuit court judgments in civil cases; and general rules governing appeals from the Appellate Court to the Supreme Court.

All of the proposals will be aired at a public hearing of the Supreme Court Rules Committee on Friday, October 10 at 10 a.m. in Chicago. Copies of all proposals are available on the Supreme Court website at:

In addition to performing quality legal work, many lawyers are hard at work in the community supporting a good cause, yet their contributions often go unrecognized., the ISBA’s website for the public, hosts a blog called “Lawyers Care.” In it, we share the philanthropic side of lawyers by featuring their community service, such as supporting a food and clothing drive, creating a scholarship program for a local school, or hosting an innovative fundraiser to help those in need.

Examples of previous Lawyers Care blogs can be found at If you want to share your story with the public, please send an email with a summary of your community work to Chris Bonjean at

Q.  Can I contact former clients with whom I had an attorney-client relationship and tell them I left my firm?

A. Comment 4 to IRPC 7.3 does not prohibit an attorney from directly contacting former clients to inform them of the attorney’s departure or to solicit their employment.

Any individual planning to leave a firm should review the case of Dowd & Dowd, LTD. V. Gleason, 352 Ill. App. 3d 365 (1st Dist. 2004) which covers many aspects such as contacting prospective clients before one has actually left their firm and other fiduciary duties  For more information, see ISBA Advisory Opinion 12-14. 

ISBA members can browse past ISBA Ethics Opinions, access our Ethics Hotline, and other resources on the ISBA Ethics Page.

[DisclaimerThese questions are representative of calls received on the ISBA’s ethics hotline.  The information provided below is meant as an educational tool to highlight potentially applicable Illinois RPC or other ethics resources that might help the lawyer answer the question posed.  The information provided isn’t legal advice.  Because every situation is different, often complex, and the law is constantly evolving, you shouldn’t rely upon this general information without conducting your own research.]

In Riley v. California, the Court established a rare bright-line rule under the Fourth Amendment when it declared that data searches of cell phones -- regardless of type -- are unlawful incident to arrest. David J. Robinson's article in the September Illinois Bar Journal analyzes Riley and provides guidance to practitioners and judges about how to deal with motions to exclude evidence collected before and after the high Court ruling. Read it here.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Slepicka v. Ill. Dept. of Public Health, Nationwide Financial v. Pobuda and Bruns v. City of Centralia and the criminal case People v. Perez.


Slepicka v. Illinois Department of Public Health

By Alyssa M. Reiter, Williams, Montgomery & John Ltd.

What is the remedy if administrative review is sought in the wrong circuit court? Here, the Court held that the remedy was for the action to be transferred to the correct district of the Appellate Court to review the merits.

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued an order from Springfield determining that Mary Slepicka was subject to involuntary discharge from her nursing home, which was located in Cook County.  Slepicka sought administrative review of that decision in the Sangamon County circuit court. The nursing home moved to dismiss or transfer for improper venue. The circuit court denied the motion and confirmed the Department’s decision.

The nursing home sought dismissal of Slepicka’s appeal. The Appellate Court, Fourth District, found that the circuit court had jurisdiction but that venue was improper. It vacated the circuit court judgment and remanded with directions that the action be transferred to Cook County circuit court to review the Department’s decision.

Lawyers and judges are needed to support civics engagement in our schools by attending one of the hearings offered by the Illinois Task Force in Civic Education Report.

The Task Force recommends that Illinois require a high school course in civic, that civics education include the skills of citizen involvement, and that teachers be better prepared to teach civics.

The hearings schedule, is as follows with times tentatively set at 4-6 p.m. in each location:

The Best Practices for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners – Fall 2014 will be held on Friday, September 19, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. at Four Points Sheraton, 319 Fountains Parkway, in Fairview Heights. Online registration for this event has closed. Walk-in registration will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

Considered the premier event in Illinois dedicated to meeting the needs of solo and small firm lawyers, this full-day seminar offers attendees numerous educational sessions, networking opportunities, and an exhibit hall that showcases services and products to help solo and small firm lawyers expand their careers and improve the efficiency of their law practices.

Chief Circuit Judge John T. Elsner is pleased to announce that following a tabulation of ballots by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts in Springfield, the Circuit Judge of the 18th Judicial Court, DuPage County, have appointed Robert W. Rohm to the position of associate judge.

Mr. Rohm fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Judge Thomas C. Dudgeon.

Pamela J. Kuzniar
Pamela J. Kuzniar
Wendy H. Vaughn
Wendy H. Vaughn
The Illinois State Bar Association received two of only 20 awards given annually from the International Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) at the organization’s annual meeting in Boston.

An Award for Outstanding Achievement was granted for the ISBA’s CLE course, Child Custody Litigation: Techniques for Trying a Custody Case From Rehearsal to Closing Including a Child Custody Trial, in the Best Program category. The program was sponsored by the ISBA Family Law Section and coordinated by the 2013-14 section chair and CLE coordinator Pamela J. Kuzniar of Chicago.

An Award for Outstanding Achievement was given for the CLE course, Family and Consumer Law Pro Bono Bootcamp, in the Public Interest category. Sponsored by the ISBA Delivery of Legal Services Committee and coordinated by Wendy H. Vaughn of Rockford, the course grew out of a need to expand the delivery of pro bono legal services and increase access to justice during harsh economic times when many families struggle simply to survive.

ACLEA members are professionals in the fields of continuing legal education and legal publishing.  Its annual ACLEA’s Best Awards are highly competitive and winning projects represent the highest level of achievement for the staff and volunteers involved.