Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
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ISBA President John G. Locallo uses his latest Tech Minute to discuss HootSuite, an online dashboard that manages your social media accounts. Check it out in the video below:

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm represents general business clients in Cleveland, Ohio. We have 37 attorneys. Currently we have only one office at the present time. As part of our planning process we have been discussing whether we should open a branch office in another major city in Ohio. What issues should we be thinking about?

A. Branching is being incorporated into more firm strategic plans. However, often the results do not meet firm expectations considering the time, effort and investment made. Overhead increases, anticipated opportunities do not materialize, management becomes more complex, resources are spread too thin, and the firm loses sight of its common identity.

Branching can be risky due to the dollars and managerial time investment. However, there can be significant benefits as well.

The starting point is to avoid knee jerk reactions such as branching because other firms are doing it, assuming that clients want you to have a presence in another geographical area, etc. Do your homework and build a business case for the branch office. Here are ideas to get you started:

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers House Bill 5823 (Health Care Services Lien Act), Senate Bill 3171 (Medical Records of deceased family members) Senate Bill 2840 (Medicaid and estate planning) and House Bill 1263 (eavesdropping). More information on each bill is available below the video.

Foreclosure mediation helps homeowners find relief – or at least closure – in an often forbidding legal process. It also relieves pressure on an overwhelmed court system. But programs vary from county to county. Find out what’s underway in the June Illinois Bar Journal.

Smart phones such as iPhone and Droid have become ubiquitous tools tools for lawyers; with over 80% of lawyers reporting using them for business use, according to the ABA Journal Law News Now. They have also become rich sources of evidence. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports, Survey of Nation’s Top Attorneys Reveals Spike in Smart Phone and Text Evidence During Divorces. Forensics evidence labs are also reporting a spike in requests for retrieval of their data for discovery purposes, according to Ride the Lightning, from Sensei Enterprises.   

House Bill 5823 (Thapedi, D-Chicago; Mulroe, D-Chicago) does three things to the Health Care Services Lien Act. (1) Proportionately reduces subrogation claims or other claims of right of reimbursement for medical expenses in the same proportion that the claimant’s recovery is reduced because of comparative fault or uncollectability of the full value of the full claim because of limited liability insurance or from any other cause. (2) Requires a party asserting a subrogation claim or other right of reimbursement to bear the pro rata share of the claimant’s attorney’s fees and litigation expenses. (3) Allows petitions to adjudicate rights under this Act to be served on interested adverse parties by personal service, substitute service, or registered or certified mail. House Bill 5823 exempts any health-care provider's liens and UIM and UM cases. This bill may be voted on today or tomorrow by the House Judiciary Committee I and the House

Tomorrow is the scheduled adjournment for the Illinois General Assembly, and tempers are getting a little short. Representative Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) erupts on the House floor yesterday in a "Let my People Go!" speech.

Increase your knowledge on Commercial General Liability insurance law with this half-day seminar in Chicago on June 7th! Learn how to protect your business clients against claims not covered under general insurance policies while gaining a better understanding of the issues that can arise when drafting Commercial General Liability (CGL) forms; the new forms of insurance coverage being developed in an effort to resolve exposures; intellectual property exposures; developments in additional insured coverage; the issues in CGL allocation modeling; potential environmental exposures (including the U.S. Supreme Court decision in AEP v. Connecticut); and insurance coverage for construction defect litigation. Can’t attend the live, on-site program in Chicago? Then join us on the web! This program will be broadcast live via the Internet so that attorneys can attend remotely.

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Insurance Law Section and qualifies for 4.50 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register for the live program in CHICAGO.

Click here for more information and to register for the live WEBCAST.

John Lafond is one of those rare people who enjoys being slapped up side the head day after day with perspective.

"Every day I see people getting by with not very much at all. I'm grateful for every little bit of what I've got. It's just an added bonus when you can do something that brings spiritual satisfaction to the material comforts," he said.

Lafond is not a minister or a counselor. He's a lawyer practicing in a niche that few pursue: public service law.

The 52-year-old Urbana man has spent all of his 25-year career with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, advocating in civil matters for those who can't afford a lawyer. For that, he's being honored next month by the Illinois State Bar Association with the first annual Joseph Bartylak Memorial Legal Services Award.

Read the full feature story in the Champaign News-Gazette

ISBA President John G. Locallo uses his latest Tech Minute to highlight legal apps for your smartphone. He discussed legal apps previously in his December Bar Journal column - but not with a guitar in his hands.