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ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers HJRCA 29 (Victims' rights), Senate Bill 1808 (Eavesdropping) and House Bill 5434 (Post-judgment Collection of debts). More information on each bill is available below the video.

An Illinois legislative proposal would give members of a civil union the same benefits enjoyed by married couples under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Find out more in the May Illinois Bar Journal.

John and Terry Thies
John and Terry Thies

Early Booking Discount Extended! Save $500 per couple if you register by May 18!

Join President-elect John E. Thies and his wife Terry on the fall 2012 ISBA President’s Trip to China. Take a moment away from your busy day, close your eyes and picture yourself in a land steeped in thousands of years of history. Picture a place where the echoes of distant empires can still be heard above the urban roar of modern technology, where natural landscapes stand in stark and beautiful contrast to contemporary cityscapes. You are in a land rich in tradition and ripe with possibility.

See yourself in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Shanghai admiring the reflections of the city in the Huangpu River while strolling along the famous Bund. Listen to the chatter of colorful markets filled with unexpected treasures, savor the refined flavors of a dim sum lunch, and let the floral aromas of ancient gardens wash over you.

Senate Bill 1808, which would allow citizens to audio and video record police performing their public duties in public places, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously this morning on a vote of 10-0. This bill differs from a previous effort (HB 3944) in that it mandates that recordings alleging wrongdoing by police to be referred to the state’s attorney for possible prosecution if the recordings are intentionally altered to misrepresent an event. SB 1808 is sponsored in the House by Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Des Plaines, and is supported by the Illinois State Bar Association.

SB 1808 now moves to the full House of Representatives. Josh Sharp, director of government relations for the Illinois Press Association, urges newspaper publishers to call their legislators now and ask them to vote ‘yes’ on SB 1808. This bill would allow journalists to film police without consent during protests and similar events or to use videos that have been submitted by citizen journalists.

SB 1808 is also supported by the Illinois Press Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Chicago Headline Club and others.

The Illinois Bar Foundation cordially invites you to a reception hosted by the Lincoln Legacy Society on May 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the law offices of Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC, 209 S. La Salle, 7th floor. Guests will enjoy a tasting of fine wine, whiskey, hors d'oeuvres and cocktails at this event. Admission is free.

Please respond by Friday, May 18, to Karen Kossart at or by phone at (312) 726-6072.

Join us in Chicago on May 9th for this enlightening, but sobering seminar on a topic that has only recently begun to receive the attention it deserves!

Recent studies show that nearly 1 in 5 inmates housed in our jails and prisons suffers from a serious mental illness, and representing them requires specialized skills and knowledge. Learn about the special issues involved in representing persons with mental illness in the criminal justice system, the rights of this population, and how to make the criminal justice system more responsive to their needs. Hear the philosophical and legal insights of our experienced lawyers and trained professionals as they discuss a myriad of relevant topics, including: advances in neuropsychology and the impact on culpability and sentencing; the attorneys’ role in the client’s mental health issues; the insanity defense and the guilty-but-mentally-ill disposition; a client’s fitness to stand trial and waive rights; and much more!

The program is sponsored by the ISBA Mental Health Section and co-sponsored by the ISBA Criminal Justice Section. It qualifies for 6.5 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am managing partner for a 16 attorney firm in Minneapolis. We have been having problems with one of our senior partners. He is our highest fee generator - both origination and generation. He operates as a "lone ranger" and refuses to work as a team member with others. He won't follow firm policy or play by the rules. We are trying to build a team based practice and this one partner is holding up our progress. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

A. Getting and keeping the right people on the bus is a key challenge for law firm management and dealing with "maverick partners" is always a challenge. Of course they seem to always be the heavy hitters and this makes it that much more difficult as often there are major clients and large sums of money at stake - at least in the short term. This can also be major issues and large sums of money at stake in the long term if you don't deal with the maverick partner as well. In addition you won't be able to achieve the vision and goals the firm is trying to achieve.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) released its 2011 Annual Report on Tuesday in conjunction with Law Day. ARDC is the administrative agency that regulates licensed Illinois lawyers. Highlights from the report are below, the full report is available at

  • Lawyer Population

The names of 87,943 lawyers appeared on the Master Roll of Attorneys as of October 31, 2011. That number does not include 2,121 attorneys who took their oath of office in late 2011. The overall lawyer population in Illinois saw a modest increase of 1.3% from 2010. The number of newly admitted lawyers continues a steady increase first noted in 2005, with at least 2,000 more lawyers each year. The percentage of attorneys reporting a principal address outside Illinois remained constant at 27%. Counties with 500 or more attorneys experienced less than a 1% increase in growth.

The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF), the grant-making arm of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), has announced the recipients of its fiscal year 2012 grants totaling $330,000 which will be awarded to 36 law-related nonprofit organizations, including:

Serving Chicago & Cook County

  • Cabrini Green Legal Aid, $10,000
  • CARPLS Legal Aid, $10,000
  • Center for Disability and Elder Law, $7,500
  • Center on Halsted, $7,500
  • Chicago Law and Education Foundation, $10,000
  • Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, $10,000
  • Domestic Violence Legal Clinic, $15,000
  • Family Rescue, $7,500
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Chicago, $10,000
  • Lawndale Christian Legal Center, $15,000
  • Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, $10,000
  • Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services, $10,000
  • Life Span, $10,000

Serving Areas Outside of Cook County

  • A Safe Place: Lake County Crisis Center, Located in Zion, $6,000
  • Alternatives for Older Adults, Located in Moline, $10,000
  • Immigration Project, Located in Bloomington, $7,500
  • Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Located in East St. Louis, $15,000
  • Prairie State Legal Services, Located in Rockford, $15,000
  • Riverview Center, Located in Galena, $5,000
  • Sojourn Shelter & Services, Inc, Located in Springfield, $5,000
  • The Parent Place, Located in Springfield, $10,000
  • Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, Located in Belleville, $7,000

Serving Statewide

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that the Third Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Donald M. Flack as an associate judge of the Third Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Flack received his undergraduate degree in 1993 from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL, and his Juris Doctor in 1998 from St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO. Mr. Flack is currently affiliated with the Flack Law Office in Wood River, IL and the MadisonCounty State’s Attorney’s Office in Edwardsville, IL.