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Eighteen extraordinary Illinois judges and lawyers who have practiced law for at least 50 years will be honored by the Profession of Leadership Foundation at a dinner on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel & Conference Center, 701 E. Adams St., in Springfield.

The Assembly meeting agenda has been posted at This page is password protected and available only to ISBA members. The Assembly will next meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 during the Joint Midyear Meeting at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner in a eight attorney firm in Nashville, Tennessee. We are exclusively a family law practice and while we charge a few clients on a flat fee basis - most clients are time billed. We ask for a $5000 security retainer up front. After the retainer is used we invoice clients for additional time spent on a monthly basis. We are having problems getting paid and are having to write off a large amount of accounts receivable. I would appreciate your thoughts.

For the first time in nearly 60 years, filing fees for reviewing courts in Illinois will increase effective January 1, 2015.

On August 12, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law Public Act 98-0324. Under the new law, fees collected by the Clerks of the Supreme and Appellate Courts will be set by Supreme Court Rule, rather than by statute.

In addition, rather than transferring the funds collected into the General Revenue Fund, these fees will be deposited into the newly-created “Supreme Court Special Purposes Fund.” The new fund will be used to support the Supreme Court’s commitment to e-business initiatives, including the streamlining and upgrading of the case management system in the courts of review.

As authorized by the new law, the Supreme Court has amended Rule 313 to provide that, unless excused by law, petitioners and appellants filing cases in the Supreme and Appellate Courts will pay a filing fee of $50 instead of $25. Respondents and appellees will see filing fees increase from $15 to $30.

The Supreme Court Clerk also collects fees for producing official certificates with seals, issuing new law licenses, and performing registration and renewal of registrations for businesses formed for the practice of law. Both the Supreme Court Clerk and the Appellate Court Clerks charge fees for copying of documents, opinions, and orders, although the availability of many such documents at has eliminated much of the demand for copying services. These fees have not been increased.

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that the Hon. Paul M. Fullerton, Associate Judge of the 18th Circuit, has been appointed Circuit Judge at Large for the 18th Circuit, DuPage County.

This vacancy was created by the retirement of the Hon. Rodney Equi. It is effective Jan. 2, 2015 and terminates on Dec. 5, 2016.

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for an at-large Circuit Court vacancy in the Seventh Judicial Circuit.

The vacancy is created by the retirement of Judge Patrick J. Londrigan on December 8, 2014. Judge Londrigan has been a Circuit Judge in the Seventh Circuit since 2004.

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed the Hon. Roger G. Fein, currently Circuit Judge of Cook County, 3rd Subcircuit to Circuit Judge of Cook County, 12th Subcircuit. This vacancy was created by the retirement of the Hon. Robert J. Quinn and is effective Jan. 2, 2015 and terminates on Dec. 5, 2016.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil case Michael v. Precision Alliance Group, LLC and the criminal cases People v. Jolly and People v. Simth.


Michael v. Precision Alliance Group, LLC

By Karen Kies DeGrand, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC

Reversing an appellate decision entering judgment for plaintiffs in a retaliatory discharge case, the Illinois Supreme Court reinstated a judgment entered for an employer after a bench trial. The case turned on the legal standard that governs an employee’s burden of proving causation in a retaliatory discharge lawsuit. Illinois recognizes such a claim as a narrow exception to the general rule that an employer may terminate an “at-will” employee at any time, for any reason. The plaintiff in such cases must prove that the employer discharged the employee in retaliation for the employee’s activities and that the discharge violates public policy, such as when an employer fires an employee for asserting a workers’ compensation claim or for “whistleblowing,” reporting illegal or proper conduct. 

In this case, the employees contended that they were fired for whistle blowing  concerning weight labeling violations investigated by the Department of Agriculture. The employer, an agricultural supply company selling soybean seeds, convinced the trier of fact that the company fired the plaintiffs for nonpretextual reasons; one was discharged for engaging in horseplay with a forklift and two others were terminated in connection with a reduction in force. 

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Changes in juries and juror pay (Senate Bill 3075), Asbestos statutes (Senate Bill 2221) and Eavesdropping (Senate Bill 1342). More information on each bill is available below the video.


Q.  I just received a settlement check in a personal injury matter. Can I go ahead and advance the client’s portion to her before the settlement check clears?