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

Glenview lawyer Rachel Huan Kao discusses four factors to consider before practicing immigration law.


For about a dozen years after Kerry Lavelle founded his namesake law firm a quarter-century ago, he was based in the loop and took what cases he could find, enjoying steady success that enabled him to grow the firm to five lawyers, which he took pride in at the time.

About 13 years ago, he moved the firm to northwest suburban Palatine and undertook a change in direction aside from geography. "I took a very different approach: I built a business plan, and with the right discipline, we really grew the firm, and we now have 24 attorneys," says Lavelle, who will speak in Moline March 31 at the ISBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute on "Build It and the Profit Will Come: Simple Steps to Building Your Business Plan."

Lavelle didn't just throw himself into this exercise blindly. "I read a lot of business books, and I realized there's more to a business plan than just the pro forma financials," he says. "A business plan is a model to really touch on all the necessary elements of the business going forward. And if you stick to those goals and those truisms, you will be successful."

A business plan can help lawyers flesh out their ideas, and in some ways the journey is more enlightening than the destination, says Debbie Foster, partner at Affinity Consulting Group, who helps law firm clients put business plans together.


Running your own practice is rewarding, but it can be hard to juggle all the tasks that are required for running a successful business. Join us via the Internet on March 8, 2017 as Kevin Stine teaches us the importance of engagement letters (and how to draft them), how to keep track of your time, and how to produce accurate bills for clients. Topics include: understanding how you get paid and your monthly communication with the client; why use engagement letters; terms of representation; the importance of retainers; the cost of collection; proofreading your timesheets for accuracy and offering descriptions of tasks performed on the timesheet; dealing with travel and its expenses; the ethical issues and pitfalls to avoid; and much more!

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics. It qualifies for 1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.


Asked and Answered

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

Q.  We have a 16-attorney business law firm in Cleveland, Ohio – six equity partners and 10 associates. The equity partners have been discussing putting in place an associate attorney career advancement program and outlining equity partner admission requirements. Can you share your thoughts on what we should be considering and how we should get started?


David Kupiec of Kupiec & Martin LLC discusses Illinois state and local tax issues.


Leading appellate attorneys review the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down Friday, February 17. The cases are Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative HearingsWardwell v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.Grimm v. Calica, and, from the criminal docket, People v. Fort, People v. Ayres, and People v. Shinaul.

CIVIL

Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative Hearings

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative Hearings, a limited scope Armageddon was expected to occur concerning a claim of unauthorized practice of law, but by a vote of 4 to 3 that battle was called off.  Stone Street Partners, LLC brought this action in the circuit court to obtain administrative review and other relief after discovering that a judgment had been recorded against one of its properties for failure to pay $1,050 in fines and costs imposed by Chicago’s department of administrative hearings for alleged violations of the city’s building code, such as installation of carbon monoxide detectors, removal of garbage and debris, and the installation of lighting and exit signage.


Get the information you need on post-secondary transition options and education protections for young adults with disabilities with this online seminar on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Disability law attorneys, mental health lawyers, family law practitioners, and education law attorneys with basic to intermediate practice experience who attends this seminar will better understand: which services are available to assist students for adult living; options under the Individuals with Disabilities Act and the Illinois School Code; how student rights and options change when transitioning out of high school; the post-secondary admissions process and testing requirements; the landscape of reasonable accommodations and modifications in post-secondary education; and how student discipline and dismissals are handled at the post-secondary level.

The program is presented by the ISBA Standing Committee on Disability Law and co-sponsored by the ISBA Education Law Section. It’s qualified for 2.0 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.


More and more of our interactions take place on social media, but the law is struggling to catch up. In the February Illinois Bar Journal, Chicago trial lawyer Kathryn Conway offers 10 things that lawyers - especially plaintiffs' lawyers - should keep in mind about discovery and admissibility of social media evidence. Here are three of the 10.

1. Because Illinois has so little case law on social media evidence, "most issues will be decided on a case-by-case basis according to traditional discovery and admissibility principles," Conway writes.

2. There's no evidentiary privilege for social media communication.

3. Even though your client uses restrictive privacy settings, "courts have generally allowed discovery of posted content so long as the requested production is relevant," Conway writes.

Read the full list in the February IBJ.


ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers a bill about judicial complaints, the Probate Act, the Insurance Code and arbitration, changing names under the IMDMA, guardians, the Jury Act, and criminal law and defense.

More information on each bill is available below the video.


Asked and Answered

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

Q.  We have a 12-attorney business litigation firm in Sacramento, California. I am one of three members on our technology committee. Our IT infrastructure consists of an in-house Microsoft file server, a separate Microsoft Exchange e-mail server, and document management and time, billing, and accounting software. Our documents are stored locally and managed by the locally installed document management software. Several of our partners have talked with other firms that are operating totally in the cloud. We would appreciate whether moving to the cloud is something that we should consider?