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

Ian Sharping of the City Colleges of Chicago discusses the benefits and challenges of pro bono work.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is a 14-attorney general practice firm located in Dayton, Ohio. Two of our attorneys focus their practice on personal injury defense and the others are transactional attorneys. While the practice is doing well overall, our litigation work is dropping off. I would appreciate any ideas that you have pertaining to marketing a litigation defense practice.

By Susan L. DeCostanza | Director, Guardian ad litem for Adults Program

You may not have realized that you can visit an elder in your community and log pro bono hours at the same time, but you can. And the need for both is great! In Cook County, when a petition for guardianship of an adult is filed, the court will appoint a Guardian ad litem to complete an investigation in all cases in which the Respondent will not appear in court. The Guardian ad litem visits the Respondent at his or her residence, interviews the Respondent and ultimately reports back to the court regarding the results of the GAL investigation.

Learn how to write better non-disclosure agreements and safeguard your clients’ confidential information! Non-disclosure agreements are used in a wide variety of contexts, including corporate negotiations, intellectual property transactions, and the employment cases, to name a few. A strongly-drafted non-disclosure agreement can better position clients for protecting and enforcing their rights. Join us via the Internet on January 18, 2017 for a basic to intermediate look at: how to avoid the potential pitfalls that could erode the purpose of the non-disclosure agreement; the recent cases that provide best practice lessons for drafting these agreements; why non-disclosure agreements are needed; the decision to make the agreement unilateral or mutual; how to define confidential information; how to draft ownership and work product clauses; how to craft a legal remedy for a breach of agreement; and much more!’

The Assembly meeting agenda has been posted at This page is password protected and available only to ISBA members. The Assembly will meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 during the Joint Midyear Meeting at the Sheraton Chicago.

Congratulations to the winners of the Annual Meeting bingo contest! Winners can pick up their prizes at the registration desk at the Sheraton Grand Chicago on Saturday, December 10 from 9 a.m. to noon.

  • iPad Mini - Nancy Easum
  • $25 Starbucks gift card compliments of Life's Plan Inc. - Donald P. Shriver
  • $50 Visa gift cards compliments of Advanced Corp Agents - Samuel Levine
  • Portable power bank/charger compliments of Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. - Joan E. Smuda
  • 2 general admission tickets to Lawyers Rock compliments of the Illinois Bar Foundation - Douglas Olivero

"Illinois imposes a dizzying array of filing fees on civil litigants and court costs on defendants in criminal and traffic cases." So begins the executive summary of the Statutory Court Fee Task Force's June 1, 2016 report, available at

The Statutory Court Fee Task Force was created pursuant to the Access To Justice Act (705 ILCS 95/25) to "conduct a thorough review of the various statutory fees imposed or assessed on criminal defendants and civil litigants." The task force was composed of members appointed by representatives of both political parties and all three branches of government. The group identified four key findings, which led to six recommendations "that collectively will simplify the imposition, collection, and distribution of assessments while making them more transparent, affordable, and fair."

Illinois attorney Michael Zink of Starr, Bejgiert, Zink and Rowells, discusses the basics of landlord tenant law.

In recognition of holding the Midyear Meeting at the Sheraton Grand Hotel for 22 years, the Sheraton has provided a one-time special thank you. There will be complimentary Wi-Fi in all ISBA meeting rooms and programs on Thursday afternoon, all day Friday and Saturday morning.

Access Code: ISBA Midyear Meeting

Password: isba2016

Again, this is a one-time special concession offered by the Sheraton for ISBA’s long-term working relationship.

In October, the ISBA Board of Governors approved a proposal to support legislation and a new Rule of Professional Conduct that would expressly allow collaborative law in family law settings. The proposal now goes to the ISBA Assembly for consideration at its meeting Saturday, December 10.

Collaborative law is a process whereby attorneys work with parties to a divorce to reach a settlement and, ideally, avoid expensive and contentious litigation. The proposal under consideration would expressly allow divorcing couples to work with lawyers on a limited-scope basis to try to reach a settlement and avoid litigation.

In 2013, Senate Bill 31 was introduced in the Illinois General Assembly. It was an attempt to adopt the Collaborative Law Act as drafted by the Uniform Law Commission. The bill failed. The ISBA formally opposed SB 31 primarily due to separation of powers issues - the bill had components that would regulate the practice of law, which is the province of the supreme court, not the legislature.

Past President Umberto Davi appointed a committee to revisit the issue. The group drafted a proposed statute and an amendment to the Rules of Professional Conduct that would allow collaborative law in a family law setting, but without triggering the separation of powers issue that prompted the ISBA to oppose the previous bill. Find out more about the proposal and collaborative law in general in the December Illinois Bar Journal