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

Divorce lawyers aren't the only ones still sorting out the civil union law. Not by a long shot.

Take real estate lawyers, for example. In the latest ISBA Real Property newsletter, Dick Bales poses just a few of the questions they face. "How should parties to a civil union be described in deeds and other documents? How should the issue of homestead be addressed in these documents? Can parties to a civil union own their home as tenants by the entirety, and if so, how should they be described in the deed?"

Read his article.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I have a small firm in Indianapolis. I am the only attorney in the firm and I have three staff members. I have been in practice for 30 years. I have been reading your posts on strategic planning. Why do I need one for a small practice such as mine?

A. A strategic or long range plan serves as the roadmap for your practice. When you go on vacation do you head out without a map, plan or your GPS. Probably not. The same should be true for your practice. A plan defines who you are, where the firm should be heading, and how you get there. It helps focus you as well as your staff and improves productivity, accountability, and alignment with your goals. It identifies what work your firm does (or sometimes more importantly) what it does not do. In essence it outlines what services your are selling, to who, and where. Your plan then lists out the steps you should be taking to move to your desired future.

I have seen solo practitioners time after time reach their 60s and realize that if they had it all to do over again they would do things differently. Often they have completely failed to put in place solid succession strategy and realize no value for their sweat equity when they retire. A plan or roadmap can help direct your efforts over the years.

The important thing is to it keep your plan simple and update it often. Ten pages or less - in outline form. I have seen excellent one page plans. When circumstances change - change it. Review it every month.

Click here for our blog on law firm strategy



"Mental Health Concerns in the Juvenile Court" and "School Advocacy for Children with Mental Health Concerns" two half-hour programs presented by Illinois Law, will air on Chicago Access Network Television, Channel 21 in Chicago, during the month of October. "Mental Health Concerns in the Juvenile Court" will air at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, October 4 and 18, and "School Advocacy for Children with Mental Health Concerns" will air at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, October 11 and 25. Illinois Law is a cable production of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Appearing on the shows are Nancy Z. Hablutzel (front), a Chicago lawyer and program moderator; and (from left) Bernard Glos, Ph.D., of Westmont; Joseph T. Monahan, of Monahan & Cohen in Chicago and a member of the ISBA Standing Committee on Mental Health Law; and Phil Milsk, Law Offices of Phil Milsk in New Lenox and a member of the ISBA Education Law Section Council.

View previous programs online at iln.isba.org/blog/illinois-law-video


Lawyers' Assistance Program will sponsor a 24-hour retreat for eating disorders and better health on Oct. 28-29 at The Center in Palos Park. The program will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday evening and end at 5 p.m. on Saturday and will focus on healty eating, compulsive eating and the causes for behaviors related to food.

Speakers will include Dr. Kimberly Dennis, a Chicago-area psychiatrist who specializes in eating disorders; Judge Sheila Murphy, president of Lawyers' Assistance Program; Circuit Court Judge Allen Goldberg; Wheaton attorney Brigid Duffield and event chair CJ Muller of Palos Hills.

Cost is $135 for single occupancy, $124 for double occupancy, and $65 for commuters. Space is limited. Contact Lawyers' Assistance Program at (312) 726-6607 to register or for more information.


There has been a surge in prosecutions against citizens for recording public officials while those officials are performing public duties. The charge is a Class 1 felony for violating the Illinois Eavesdropping statute. 

You know the drill--a motorist is pulled over for a traffic stop, records the officer, the officer  gets mad and arrests the motorist for violating the officer's right to privacy under the eavesdropping law. There is usually no underlying arrest against the motorist. Or, a homeowner records an arrest from his or her bedroom window and is arrested for a Class 1 felony for doing this.

Earlier this year a downstate auto mechanic in Robinson, Illinois was charged in a five-count information for allegedly recording these public officials while they were  conducting public business in a public place: the judge, the chief of police, a police officer, a circuit clerk, and the city attorney.

Earlier this week Judge David K. Frankland filed an opinion in this Crawford County case dismissing the charges because this part of the Eavesdropping statute violated substantive due process and the First Amendment. His opinion is a crisp, clear, and concise defense of the First Amendment and due process. Click here to read it

William A. Sunderman of Charleston, Illinois represented the defendant pro bono.


ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers: Funding for legal services, Rules on Medicaid eligibility under Deficit Reduction Act and Senate Bill 1694 on medical records for veto session.



Don't be without this handy hard-copy version of Gino L. DiVito's color-coded analysis of the new Illinois Rules of Evidence, which is otherwise available only on the web. The guide compares the new Illinois rules with the FRE and provides insightful commentary. DiVito, a former appellate justice, is a member of the Special Supreme Court Committee on Illinois Evidence, the body that formulated the rules and presented them to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Published August 2011, 134 pages

Price: ISBA Member, $35; Non-member $50

Click here to purchase


Marcy L. Buick
Marcy L. Buick
The Illinois Supreme Court has announced today that Marcy L. Buick received most of the votes cast by the circuit judges in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit and is declared to be appointed to the office of associate judge.

Ms. Buick received her undergraduate degree in 1986 from the University of Illinois in Urbana, and her Juris Doctor in 1990 from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Ms. Buick is currently engaged in practice with The Foster & Buick Law Group, LLC in Sycamore,
Illinois.


According to the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, “[b]efore a person is admitted to a facility…a written contract shall be executed between a licensee and [a patient or patient’s representative].”

That's the letter of the statute. Not surprisingly, though, not every admittee signs on the dotted line. "Sometimes signatures cannot practically be obtained prior to admittance," write Laura A. Elkayam and Lawrence J. Stark in the latest ISBA Health Care Law newsletter. Or sometime patients won't sign. Or the nursing home just fails to get the signature.

So let's assume a patient who didn't sign, rang up a big tab and didn't pay. Is the nursing home left holding the bag because it failed to get the signature and thus didn't comply with the act?

Yes and no, Elkayam and Stark write. They discuss a recent first district case holding that nursing homes can seek relief under quantum meruit but "public policy, as expressed by the Act, required dismissal of breach of contract claims predicated on these unsigned documents." Read their analysis of the case and the possible impact of a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision.


The Circuit Judges of the 18th Judicial Circuit, DuPage County, unanimously elected Judge John T. Elsner to the position of Chief Judge. Judge Elsner's term as Chief Judge will commence on Dec. 5, 2011. He succeeds Chief Judge Stephen J. Culliton.

John T. Elsner is a graduate of Lewis University College of Law. He was appointed as an associate judge in 1991 and was elected a Circuit Judge in 2000. Prior to his selection as Chief Judge, he had served in teh Law, Domestic Relations and Criminal divisions of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court.