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

J. Timothy Eaton, partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, discusses when and whether you should appeal.



Twenty years ago, law firm document management revolved around meticulously organized manila files, metal drawers, and bankers boxes, with instructions not to fold, spindle, or mutilate them as they were being physically transported to another attorney or a courtroom.

While those physical manifestations still remain to varying degrees in law offices, document management today is more likely to focus on electronic files that need to be created and managed on a server or in the cloud, with instructions to ensure they're adequately encrypted before being electronically transported to one of the aforementioned destinations.

Paul Unger, a partner with Affinity Consulting Group who works with attorneys and law firms, recommends that legal offices use a top-shelf, sophisticated electronic document management system to handle the creation and storage of most types of documents.

"If we're talking about transactional attorneys - or even if it's litigation, but it's your own work product, your own correspondence and responses - anything we would draft ourselves, pleadings, motions, I would recommend in today's age that a firm have a document management system," he says. Unger recommends four primary choices: Worldox, NetDocuments, iManage (formerly Interwoven Worksite), and Open Text (formerly Hummingbird). Find out more in the May IBJ.



Asked and Answered

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

Q.  I am a partner in a 14-attorney business litigation law firm in New Orleans. There are five partners in the firm. We are a first-generation firm and all five partners are the original founders. Each partner has equal ownership interests and is compensated based upon ownership points. While this approach to compensation worked for many years, this system is no longer working for us. Performance used to be pretty close but this is no longer the case. Your suggestions are welcomed.

A. This is a common problem that new law firms eventually face. Here are a few thoughts:


Allerton Conference 2017
Allerton Conference 2017
ISBA's Allerton Conference 2017, sponsored by the Civil Practice and Procedure Committee, took place last week, on April 19-21, 2017, at Starved Rock Lodge in Oglesby, Illinois. The conference provided an opportunity for invited lawyers, judges, and law professors from around the state to discuss important issues affecting civil procedure and litigation. The ultimate goal of the event is for attendees to offer suggestions for new Supreme Court rules and legislation sponsored by the ISBA, and propose programs to the ISBA Board of Governors.

The focus of this year's conference was the changing landscape of civil practice, with an emphasis in the areas of technology, ethics, and economics. The event kicked off on Wednesday evening with a welcome reception, followed by introductory comments from Jessica Hegarty, Allerton 2017 chair; Vincent Cornelius, ISBA President; and the Hon. Michael McCuskey of the 10th Circuit. Lloyd Karmeier, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, delivered the opening remarks.

Thursday's programming featured Keynote Speaker Daniel Katz, professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law. He addressed how technology is changing the practice of law and the challenges lawyers are facing as a result. The rest of the day's events included fireside chats and afternoon sessions on reducing costs while increasing efficiency, alternative business structures, and alternative dispute resolution. The day concluded with a brainstorming dinner in which guests split into groups for discussion.



Voting in the ISBA election ends at 4:30 PM CT Friday, April 28. Ballots were distributed to all eligible voters* on March 29, 2017. ISBA's election provider Election-America emailed e-ballots to members with valid email addresses and mailed paper ballots to members without valid email addresses on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. The last day to request a paper ballot was April 14, 2017.

Due to potential spam filters, we are offering an alternative method to vote using ISBA’s website. To vote online, go to https://www.isba.org/elections. If you are not logged in, click “Login to Vote” and sign in using your ISBA member login information. If you are logged in, click the “Vote” button.

All eligible voters* may vote for Third Vice President. Those with ISBA addresses in the following areas may vote in their respective race(s):

1st Judicial District Cook County: Board of Governors (elect 2)

1st Judicial District Cook County: Under Age 37 Board of Governors (elect 2)

1st Judicial District Cook County: Assembly (elect 21)

Outside Cook County (Judicial Circuits 1-23): Under Age 37 Board of Governors (elect 1)

Candidate bios can be viewed in the March Illinois Bar Journal.

Voting ends at 4:30 PM CT Friday, April 28. The canvass of election will be available May 5, 2017.



The ethical issues government attorneys encounter differ from those faced by private practitioners. Join us in Chicago on May 11, 2017 for this lively program that’s comprised of skits, scenarios, and group discussions, allowing participants to gather invaluable information on identifying potential ethical dilemmas and applying the Rules of Professional Conduct in a fun and interesting way. Government attorneys with basic to intermediate practice experience will benefit from the ethical information presented throughout this seminar.

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Standing Committee on Government Lawyers and qualifies for 4.0 hours MCLE credit, including 4.0 hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.


After nearly a year of renovations, updates to the Illinois Bar Center — the Springfield headquarters of the Illinois State Bar Association, located east of the state Capitol complex — were completed last month.

The original color scheme, materials, and layout also remain in tact to preserve the building’s roots.
The original color scheme, materials, and layout also remain in tact to preserve the building’s roots.
For many years, the ISBA invested in the Chicago Regional Office, which is frequently used as a meeting space by members. But, as the Springfield office heads into its 50th year of existence, a major renovation was in order. According to Dennis Archer, ISBA’s assistant executive director for administration and finance, “It was time for us to bring [headquarters] up to the level that the CRO is.” After all, as Archer pointed out, “When our members come to Springfield now, we are expecting them to stop by so I think that is what we really got out of it. It kind of opens up another meeting place for our members.”

In preparing for the remodel, ISBA had several goals in mind: to make the space more appealing to members and increase the building’s accessibility, all while preserving the building’s historical architectural roots and maintaining the organization’s professional atmosphere.


A leading appellate attorney reviews the Illinois Supreme Court opinion handed down Thursday, April 20. The case is People v. Way. 

People v. Way

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Ida Way was driving a vehicle when she crossed into oncoming traffic and struck another vehicle head-on, causing injuries to the driver of that vehicle as well as a passenger in her own car. Subsequent forensic testing revealed the presence of cannabis metabolite in Way's urine. She was charged with aggravated DUI based upon her having "any amount" of a drug, substance, or compound in her urine.

Way sought to defend against the charge by introducing evidence that a sudden, unforeseeable medical condition that caused her to lose consciousness was the proximate cause of the accident. She offered that her passenger would testify that she lost consciousness, three eyewitnesses would testify that they saw her shortly before the accident and she did not appear impaired, and her doctor would testify that it was possible that her loss of consciousness was due to her low blood pressure. The trial court rejected her request, concluding that the statute was one of strict liability "as to the accident." The appellate court looked to the law of proximate cause in civil cases and held that Way should have been permitted to present medical evidence.



The ISBA is excited to announce that IllinoisLawyerFinder, our new online member directory, is now available to the public. Directory profiles for members who participate in the Lawyer Referral Service were made live on April 18, and profiles for general members will go live on May 15. ISBA members will be included at no cost, and members' names and business information will be viewable by the public unless they choose to keep it private. Directory profiles will not be created for members who are judges or government attorneys, but they can “opt in” if they so choose.

In order to find an ISBA member to serve their legal needs, the public will be able to go to illinoislawyerfinder.com and search the directory. The new directory is part of a national, online public lawyer directory, which was developed by CloudLaw, Inc. In addition to ISBA members, the parent directory includes members of the State Bar of Michigan, Ohio State Bar Association, and, soon, the Indiana State Bar Association. CloudLaw is actively partnering with additional bar associations to bring their members into the directory and create the preeminent, bar-approved online lawyer directory. The ISBA believes the new directory will provide members with the tools necessary to enhance their unique online presence and foster both client and peer connections.

For more information on the new IllinoisLawyerFinder directory, including proactive steps you can take before your profile is viewable by the public, please visit here



Asked and Answered 

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

Q. I am the owner of a small estate planning firm in Worcester, Massachusetts. I have three associates and three staff members. I am 55 and want to begin putting in place my succession/exit plan. I would like to retire and exit the practice in 10 years. Would I be better off selling to another firm or attorney, merging the practice, bringing in laterals, or selling to one or both of my associates? I am interested in your thoughts.

A. The biggest challenge for many firms, is finding the right who.

The who dictates the what — the actual succession/transition/exit strategy. In other words, many law firms find that they start down one path and end up on another. Not all non-equity partners and associates want to own a law firm. Not all lateral and merger candidates will be a good fit for your firm and culture. The key is the right relationship and sometimes that takes the form of making someone at the firm a partner, bringing in a seasoned lateral, merging with another firm, or selling the practice. Therefore, succession/transition plans have to be flexible and often the key is not getting stuck in creating complex succession plans at the onset. Establish timelines, outline a general course of action, generate some momentum and see where that takes you. Then build the plan when you can see where the firm is headed.