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

Q. There is a ghost haunting my law office. What ethical implications might arise from this?

A. The presence of a ghost may cause many complications. For one, if the ghost can communicate, you need to be mindful of confidentiality issues in Rule 1.6. It might be a good idea to alert clients of your situation and to get informed consent. Also, be careful not to let the ghost regulate or interfere with your professional judgment as that may be a violation of Rule 5.4(c) which states: “A lawyer shall not permit a person who recommends, employs, or pays the lawyer to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the lawyer’s professional judgment in rendering such legal services.”

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

[Disclaimer.  These 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.]

Are the ISBA's 27-member board and 203-member assembly too big for today's association environment? That and other questions are under review by a pair of special committees, and they want to hear from you.

Leaders of the ISBA Board and Assembly Governance Committees are soliciting comments about the association's current governance structure in the November Illinois Bar Journal. Among their questions: are the costs inherent in supporting these large groups justified? One factor cited by authors Vince Cornelius, Celia Gamrath and Tim Chorvat is a "declining interest in governance" by the ISBA's electorate and candidates.

"Since 2001, electoral turnout in ISBA elections has trended downward from 28 percent in 2001 to 22 percent in 2010 (the last year of universal paper ballots), 16 percent in 2011 (the first year of electronic voting), and approximately 14 percent during the last three elections," they write.

"In addition, the number of candidates running for office has been low. Over the last 10 years, 50 percent of Board of Governors races have been uncontested. During that same period, 50 percent of Cook County Assembly elections have been uncontested (including four of the last five years)," as were 89 percent of recent downstate Assembly races, they write. And participation has been poor as well. "For the 203-seat Assembly, delegate attendance at the seven meetings since December 2010 has never exceeded 150." Read their article and find out more.

The Gertz Award recognizes long-standing, continuing and exceptional commitment by an individual or an organization to the protection or advancement of Human Rights.

Eligibility: The recipient shall have made significant contributions to the cause of Human Rights within the Illinois legal community, its judiciary and/or the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA). The recipient may be a lawyer or non-lawyer or an organization of lawyers or a combination

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis announced on Tuesday an application process for two countywide vacancies in the Cook County Circuit Court.

It is believed to be the first time an open application process has been used in the Supreme Court appointment for at-large judicial vacancies in Cook County. Justice Theis currently uses an open application process in her recommended appointments to subcircuits in Cook County.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a six attorney general practice firm located in Arlington Heights. We have been in practice for 10 years. In the past most of our business has come to us through client and attorney referrals. We have not advertised. However, several of our attorneys are pushing us to embark on an extensive advertising program. I am interested in your thoughts.

At the December 13, 2014 meeting of the ISBA Assembly, two delegates to the ABA House of Delegates will be elected, one from Cook County and one from the area outside Cook County. The nominees for these positions must be members of the ISBA in good standing from the appropriate area. The elected delegates will serve two-year terms commencing June, 2015 and will join the ISBA delegation at the ABA meeting in Chicago in August, 2015.

The current incumbents are Joseph Bisceglia of Chicago and Timothy Bertschy of Peoria, both of whom are eligible for re-election.

Nominations must be made in writing by at least 20 ISBA members in good standing from the appropriate area. Nominations must be filed with the office of the Executive Director not later than Monday, November 24, 2014. Further information and nominating petitions are available from the office of the Executive Director, Illinois State Bar Association, 424 S. Second Street, Springfield, Illinois, 62701 or by contacting Kim Weaver at 800.252.8908 or

The Illinois Supreme Court announced Tuesday that Chief Judge Joseph G. McGraw of the 17th Judicial Circuit has been named the new Chairman of the Conference of Chief Judges, effective January 1, 2015.

Judge McGraw will take over leadership from current Conference Chairman Chief Judge Elizabeth Robb of the 11th Judicial Circuit, who is retiring from judicial service on December 31, 2014. Judge McGraw has served as the Conference's vice-chairman since April 2014 and has served as a member of the Conference since January 2012.
The 17th Circuit consists of Boone and Winnebago counties in northern Illinois. A duly elected chief judge from each judicial circuit serves as a member of the Conference of Chief Judges.

As the first title in the ISBA’s new Practice Ready Series, this book was specifically written to be a must-have resource for new attorneys and any others new to residential real estate transactions. It walks you through each stage of a common transaction, from the moment a client contacts your office to the essential steps you must take after the transaction closes.

The book centers on and provides in-depth discussion of the use of the new Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract 6.0, one of the most widely used contracts of its kind in Illinois. It includes a 130-page appendix with sample copies of the common documents you will encounter in a residential real estate transaction – client letters, the Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract 6.0, contingency letters, financing documents, title company documents, closing documents, and many others. Order your copy today at and don’t risk seeing these documents for the first time at your first closing!

Please join us at the ISBA/YLD Annual Holiday Party and show your support for the IBF/ YLD Children's Assistance Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable entity. Initially created to assist with the opening of children's waiting rooms in courthouses across the State of Illinois, the IBF/YLD Children's Assistance Fund has since grown, and now provides funding to organizations across the State of Illinois that provide legal assistance to children, maintain children's waiting rooms in courthouses, work to reduce recidivism of juveniles, and/or work to reduce the incidents of domestic violence in families with children.

WHEN: Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:00pm-10:00pm

WHERE: Duffy's Tavern and Grille, 420½ W. Diversey, Chicago, Illinois

WHAT: Open Bar, Warm Appetizers, and Live Band!

COST: $40 per person for tickets purchased online through Sunday, November 23, 2014
$50 per person for tickets purchased at the door the evening of the event.

Register at

Alternatively, please consider being a sponsor of the Holiday Party. All participants will be thanked, with logos displayed, both before, during, and after the Holiday Party.

Join us in Chicago on November 7th for a look at seven different practice areas and how to successfully handle these types of cases! Practitioners working in the civil litigation arena need to stay up to date on a number of legal topics, including construction accidents, insurance issues, medical malpractice, employment law, government liability, vehicular collision, and foreclosure actions. Attorneys and law students with all levels of experience who attend this half-day seminar will gain a better understanding of how to handle cases from each of these areas and learn how to: obtain necessary discovery; handle insurance coverage disputes and declaratory judgments; identify proper parties in a medical malpractice claim; address non-compete and whistleblower issues; present liability and damage issues in motor vehicle collision cases; represent a client undergoing foreclosure actions; and much more!

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Civil Practice & Procedure Section and qualifies for 3.50 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.