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Tom Leahy
Tom Leahy
ISBA Past President Tom Leahy, 62, of Chicago and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, died Saturday, August 23 after a short and valiant struggle with cancer. He served as ISBA President from 1993-1994 and as Chairman of ISBA Mutual Insurance Company from 1995-1996. Visitation will take place on Thursday, Aug. 28 at St. Clement Church, 642 W. Deming Pl., Chicago until celebration of Life Mass at noon. Private interment at Graceland Cemetery will take place at a later date

A graduate of Highland Park High School, University of Notre Dame and Loyola University School of Law, Chicago, Tom was a practicing trial lawyer specializing in plaintiffs' personal injury for over 35 years. During law school, Mr. Leahy worked for the personal injury defense firm of Clausen, Miller, Gorman, Caffrey & Witous and the plaintiff personal injury firm of Philip H. Corboy & Associates. Mr. Leahy became an associate attorney at the Corboy firm after graduation and remained there until he left to start his own firm in 1980, The Law Office of Tom Leahy. In 2002 he joined with Peter Hoste to form his Chicago law firm, Leahy & Hoste.

The Illinois Supreme Court Building officially re-opened to the public Wednesday after a 13-month restoration.

The Court building has been closed since June 2013 when major work began on the historic building for the first time in nearly a century.

The building was constructed in 1906 and is eligible for inclusion on the National Historic Register. While the building was closed, the Supreme Court met during its regular terms in Chicago. It returns to begin its September 2014 term on Monday, Sept. 8.

The year-long project included restoration and preservation of the public spaces, courtrooms, library and support spaces. Offices, storage and work areas were updated for improved efficiencies in the digital and electronic age.

Major mechanical, heating, cooling, plumbing, and ventilation systems were replaced with installations to provide consistent humidification levels for the long-term maintenance of the historic ele-ments within the building. Technology enhancements included three new High Definition cameras permanently installed in the Supreme Court Courtroom and connected to a commercial grad production video switcher. The new video recording system will allow the Court's oral arguments and courtroom events to be recorded in a standard HD format and usable via download by the commer-cial media. As well as viewed by the public.

Funding for the project was approved by the Legislature in Public Act 96-0035 in 2009 and totaled $15.9 million.

Restoration work began in June 2013 and was substantially completed 13 months later. The transition of staff and operations was completed this week, and Wednesday marked the first official day the building was re-opened to the public.

Chief Circuit Judge John T. Elsner is pleased to announce that two finalists have been selected and certified to the Illinois Supreme Court. The finalists are seeking to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Judge Thomas C. Dudgeon. From these names, the Circuit Judges will select one appointee by secret ballot.

  • Robert W. Rohm, J.D.-Drake University Law School, 1990; admitted to practice of law in Illinois, 1990. Mr. Rohm is currently a partner with the law firm of Taylor Miller (1999-present). He is an active member with the DuPage County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.
  • Ann Celine O'Hallaren Walsh, J.D.-Chicago Kent College of Law, 1998; admitted to the practice of law in Illinois, 1999. Ms. O'Hallaren Walsh is currenty the Supervisor of the Sex Crimes/Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Unit fo the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office (1999-present). Ms. O'Hallaren Walsh is an active member of the DuPage County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, DuPage Association of Women Lawyers and Illinois Prosecutors Association.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a 16 attorney insurance defense firm in Chicago Southwest Suburbs. We have 4 partners and the balance of our attorneys are associates - many of which have been with us for several years. We are on a growth spree and need to hire more associates to handle client assignments. Associate hiring, mentoring, and training has always been a challenge for us and our clients are restricting us in the way we use associates on their files. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Join us in Chicago on Friday, September 12th for this in-depth look at the natural outgrowth and unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act. Topics include: Medicaid expansion and the future of Medicaid HMOs; the employer’s role in covering contraceptives; the movement of employers from defined benefits to defined contributions; the Illinois insurance market and changes in the insurance market across the country; the impact of narrow networks on insureds and providers; and potential problems for physicians who have contracts with payment based on the risk adjustment. Health care lawyers, employee benefits attorneys, health care professionals/administrators, and those interacting with healthcare payors and providers with intermediate practice experience who attend this seminar will gain a better understanding of: changes to the Affordable Care Act; how the Act is being implemented; the prospect for future changes to the Affordable Care Act through the courts; the changing nature of the current and future Illinois insurance market; changes in the employer mandate; and private insurance exchanges as a direct response to the Affordable Care Act.

This program will broadcast via live webcast for those unable to attend the seminar in Chicago.

The program qualifies for 2.0 hours MCLE credit and is presented by the ISBA Health Care Section.

Click here for more information and to register.

As a lawyer doing asbestos litigation for the Metro East firm Simmons Hanley Conroy, Karoline Carstens of Alton has honed her deposition-taking skills to a sharp edge. In the latest issue of ISBA's YLDNews, she shares some of her expertise with lawyers who have little or no experience deposing witnesses.

For example, she underscores the importance of knowing the applicable procedural rules."[I]f your case is filed in Illinois state court, read through the Illinois Rules of Civil Procedure, especially Rules 201-224 on discovery and depositions," she writes.

Also, Carstens advises, "[b]e aware that many courts have local rules and standing orders that address the deposition process. It is very important to know these rules. I often bring a copy of the standing order that governs many of my cases to depositions in the event a dispute arises."

And that dispute might oblige you to reach out to the judge, she writes. "Once in a great while, a disagreement may require the immediate intervention of the judge assigned to your case. It is beneficial to know whether your judge is agreeable to being called during a deposition. If so, keep the phone number handy just in case." Read her article for tips about handling objections, how and why to prepare thoroughly, and more.

Q. Can I compensate a fact witness for testifying in a civil trial?

A. Under Rule 3.4(b) a lawyer cannot “offer an inducement to a witness that is prohibited by law.” However, Comment [3] to that Rule makes it clear that it is not improper to pay a witness the reasonable expenses incurred in providing evidence, including reimbursement for the reasonable charges for travel, hotels, meals, child care, or the reasonable value of time spent attending a deposition or hearing or consulting with the lawyer.

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.]

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.

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.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. In this episode he covers Maintenance in family law cases (Public Act 98-961), Condominium Property Act (Senate Bill 2664), Trusts and Trustees Act (Public Act 98- 946), UM/UIM insurance (Public Act 98-927) and Service of process (Public Act 98-966). More information on the bill is available below the video.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a five attorney firm in Fort Worth, Texas. I am new to the managing partner role and am looking for a quick and dirty tool to examine our financial performance. Can you point me to a tool that I can use?