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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 at 10 a.m. 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.

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?

With the 2014-15 season quickly approaching, the Chicago Blackhawks would like to offer all Illinois State Bar Association members an exclusive opportunity to purchase preseason tickets.

This offer features a hockey stick autographed by Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews with the purchase of four or more tickets in the 100 or 200 level, while supplies last*.

This is your opportunity to get an early look at the Blackhawks and see opponents like Detroit, New York and Montreal.

To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE and enter the promo code stick.

Blackhawks Preseason Games:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 23 vs. Red Wings at 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 26 vs. Rangers at 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 1 vs. Canadiens at 7:30 p.m.

If you have any questions, or would like to purchase a group of 10 tickets or more for one of these games, please contact TR Johnson in the Chicago Blackhawks Ticket Office at 312-455-7095 or

*Details regarding stick pick-up will be communicated the week leading up to your game date. Sticks are distributed at random. Autographed stick giveaways are exclusive to this offer. Sticks must be picked up at the preseason game purchased.

The Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois Bar Foundation, Illinois Judges Association, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Alliance of Illinois Judges, Illinois Judicial Council and the Jewish Judges Association of Illinois are teaming up for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) 20th annual Race Judicata Sprint for Justice 5K Run/Walk. This fundraising event takes place on Sept. 4 in Chicago’s Grant Park.

T-shirts will be provided for team members. All proceeds from Race Judicata go to the general operating costs of CVLS, which works to provide legal services to the poor and working poor of Chicago. The four organizations will host a tent that will serve as the main gathering point for team members. Food and water will be available at the tent. The entry fee is $34 through August 22nd. Register under the team name WBAI, ISBA, IBF, IJA, AIJ, IJC, JJAI at

A new public act dramatically changes how spousal maintenance is determined for divorcing couples whose combined gross income is less than $250,000.

The law, P.A. 98-0961, which was crafted by the ISBA Family Law Section Council, creates a formula for calculating maintenance based on the gross income of the parties and the length of the marriage. Up till now, judges calculated maintenance without using a statutory formula similar to the one that applies to child support awards, instead relying on a list of factors that appear at sections 504 and 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. As a result, maintenance decisions vary widely, and lawyers have found it difficult to predict what a court will do when awarding maintenance.

The new formula will change that, once a court makes the threshold decision that maintenance is appropriate in a given case. Although judges aren’t required to use the formula, they must make a finding explaining why they did not.

Under the formula, a maintenance award should equal 30 percent of the payor’s gross income minus 20 percent of the payee’s gross income, not to exceed 40 percent of the parties’ combined gross income when added to the payee’s gross. Here's an illustration of how the math works.

Assume the soon-to-be-ex-husband grosses $50,000 a year, and his wife earns $30,000. Thirty percent of $50,000 is $15,000, and 20 percent of $30,000 is $6,000. Subtract $6,000 from $15,000, and voila – the husband owes the wife $9,000 a year in maintenance. Simple enough.