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The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday granted the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) the authority to investigate and prosecute the unauthorized practice of law.

"We will handle any UPL matter in much the same way we handle a disciplinary matter," ARDC Administrator Jerome Larkin said. "For those who are never licensed anywhere and for disbarred lawyers, we would bring contempt proceedings in the circuit court. For lawyers from out-of-state and for suspended Illinois lawyers, we would bring proceedings before our hearing board."

The Illinois State Bar Association's (ISBA) Board of Governors and the ISBA Task Force on the Unauthorized Practice of Law were instrumental in this development. The ISBA Board in May of 2008 approved a proposal drafted by the ISBA UPL Task Force that sought to provide the ARDC with this authority. This was sent to the ARDC in 2009, which submitted it to the court in 2010.

"It was really a good joint effort by all of the organized bar and our office to give to the courts what we feel is a very practical approach to this problem," said James J. Grogan, ARDC Deputy Administrator and Chief Counsel.

The full text of today's rule amendments are available here: UPL_120711 Rule Amendments.pdf

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is a 18 attorney insurance defense firm located in Chicago. We are in our second generation and none of the original founders are still working in the firm. The majority of our insurance company clients have been with the firm for decades and were inherited. Our current crop of partners are primarily "worker bees" and have not developed "rainmaking" skills. We have not added a new client to our client roster in years. In the past two years we have lost several clients due to mergers, consolidations, and partner defections. This concerns us. Currently partners are rewarded and compensated totally on "working attorney" fee collections. We are considering changing our compensation system to including a credit for origination of new business. What are your thoughts regarding client origination credit?

The Legislative Reference Bureau has put on its website the Criminal Code Rewrite Statute Conversion Tables for PA 96-1551 & PA 97-597 into numerically ordered tables for both Public Acts and all Articles. LRB has placed a PDF of the combined tables on the LRB website as well. Those tables can be found here.

The 1961 Class of Distinguished Counsellors
The 1961 Class of Distinguished Counsellors
The Illinois State Bar Association honored members who have been admitted to practice for 50 years at a luncheon on Wednesday at the Westing Michigan Avenue in Chicago. ISBA Past President Herbert H. Franks spoke on behalf of the 2011 Class of Distinguished Counsellors.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Here is the Bar Class of 1961 honored as Distinguished Counsellors:

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Alex F. McGimpsey, III as an associate judge of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. McGimpsey received his undergraduate degree in 1985 from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and his Juris Doctor in 1989 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. McGimpsey is currently affiliated with the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office in Wheaton.

The ISBA is looking for a freelance writer or writers to produce the Illinois Bar Journal's monthly LawPulse legal news feature (five 800-word items) and a monthly 2,500-3,000 word lead article, which is usually the cover story. The strongest candidates will be true lawyer journalists -- with a JD and reporting experience -- who are excellent writers and have a history of meeting deadlines.

To get a sense of what we're looking for, read the cover story and LawPulse items in recent issues of the IBJ. As you'll see, you'll be using a journalist's interviewing skills and transparent style to produce practice-management and other practice-oriented articles. You do not need to be the lawyer "expert," but you must be able to interview subject-matter authorities and translate what they tell you into engaging "news you can use" for our lawyer audience.

What's in it for you? You get to be your own boss and work from home or wherever you like (you'll be an independent contractor). You'll have a high-profile role in the ISBA's flagship publication. We pay competitive freelance rates.

Interested? Send a resume and writing samples by Monday, December 19, to Mark Mathewson at

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Forest Preserve District v. First National Bank, In re Haley D., Crossroads Ford Truck Sales, Inc. v. Sterling Truck Corp., Nowak v. City of Country Club Hills and Reliable Fire Equipment Co. v. Arredondo.

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County v. First National Bank

By Michael T. Reagan, The Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the criminal cases People v. Hammond, People v. Gutman, People v. Villa, People v. Snyder and People v. Johnson. Click here to read about Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Forest Preserve District v. First National Bank, In re Haley D., Crossroads Ford Truck Sales, Inc. v. Sterling Truck Corp., Nowak v. City of Country Club Hills and Reliable Fire Equipment Co. v. Arredondo.

People v. Hammond

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

 Hammondinvolves consolidated cases dealing with the power and authority of probation officers.  Two particular issues were considered: (1) whether a probation officer has the authority to file a petition charging a violation of probation, and (2) whether a State’s Attorney may overrule a probation officer’s decision to offer intermediate sanctions for a technical violation of probation pursuant to 730 ILCS 5/5-6-4(i).

The Court concluded that a probation officer’s filing of a petition charging a violation of probation was proper and did not violation separation of powers principles.  The State still bears the burden of proving the violation, and the court must still impose an appropriate sanction for the violation, if proved. 

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers: medical records of deceased family members (Public Act 97-623), mortgage foreclosure and abandoned residential property (Senate Bill 2534) and public administrator records (Senate 2536). Information on each bill is available below the video.


...there is still a way, because the Illinois Probate Act applies to "unionized" couples, Joanna M. Lekkas explains in the latest ISBA Trusts and Estates newsletter.

"Some of the most important rights afforded spouses under the Illinois Probate Act include the right to receive a spousal award, primary preference in nomination as representative of the deceased spouse’s estate, and the right to either half or the entire estate of the deceased spouse, depending on if the deceased spouse has children," Lekkas writes.

Of course, Probate Act protection is no substitute for a professionally drafted will and other good estate planning, she continues. "[I]t is important to keep in mind that only six states recognize these unions. Therefore, estate planning for disability and death remain important tools for same-sex couples." Read her article and find out more.