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

Have you ever wondered whether there's an Illinois Bar Journal article on, say, grandparents' visitation? Rule 213? The Illinois estate tax? Or did you see something in a recent issue -- you don't remember which one -- that you weren't interested at the time but are very interested in now?

Then you need to visit the new, improved online IBJ archives, which contain evey issue from the most current (August 2011) through November '98 -- 154 issues and well over 1,000 individual articles, columns and other items. The entire archive is keyword searchable, and everything back through 2005 appears in our cumulative subject index (we'll eventually build it back through November '98). There are title and author indexes for the whole archive, too. It's a great research tool, and it's only fully available to ISBA members.

When your case rests on the X-rays and you learn the X-rays were thrown away, that's not a good day. Loss or destruction of evidence -- "spoliation" (one of my favorite legal terms) -- can make it impossible to bring or defend a lawsuit.

One option when that happens is to sue for spoliation of evidence, a bona fide tort in its own right. Another is to seek sanctions against the offender(s), and that's the option Judge Barb Crowder explores in the latest Trial Briefs, newsletter of the ISBA Civil Practice and Procedure Section. "[K]nowing the potential and most frequently used sanctions will assist counsel in evaluating what steps to take" when evidence is lost or destroyed, she writes. Read her analysis.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm, a 22 attorney law firm in Chicago, has been contemplating acquiring a 6 attorney firm in the suburbs. We believe we have done an adequate job of due diligence regarding financials, people, culture, systems, and practice-mix compatibility. Our concern is client retention. What are your thoughts concerning how we can determine if the clients will stay with us?

A. Why not ask the clients?

Much can be learned by talking to the firm's clients. Structured telephone interviews and other forms of surveys conducted by a neutral third party can uncover many surprises as well as answers. Client satisfaction surveys can be one of the best due diligence tools that you can use.

It is good business practice to see how clients might react to a acquisition or merger. Understanding where your prospective firm's clients stand and how they feel about service quality can be one of the most valuable inputs into your due diligence process that you can get your hands on. Finding out where your prospective firm's clients stand can tell you a lot about their future retention.

Before you invest significant time, money, or effort in developing an overall acquision/merger implementation strategy, survey your prospective firm's clients to understand where their clients stand.  

You must be careful using this approach and insure that it is done with the permission and in concert with the prospective firm. The approach must be setup, communicated and coordinated properly. It must be sensitive to clients and done in a way to communicate and reinforce positive rather than negative signals to the clients involved.

As part of its Chicago office rehab, the Illinois State Bar Association has 10 office chairs available for $150 each. The chairs are green and in good condition. They have been in the Chicago office library for the past few years.

Contact Joyce Williams, Chicago Office Coordinator, at (312) 726-8775 if interested.


This post is updated with breaking news throughout the day.

More Daily Legal News available at

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission will hold two retrials of Mary Surratt. Surratt was the first woman executed by the United States after she was convited of conspiracy in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln

The first retrial will be held in Chicago on Sept. 23 at the Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State. The cast will include Judge James B. Zagel as Judge; Karen Conti and Ed Genson for the Defense; Jim Montgomery and Dan Webb for the Prosecution and Bill Kurtis as Reporter. Tickets are $25 and are still available by calling (312) 554-2057.

The second retrial will be held on Oct. 3 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The case will include Justice Thomas Appleton as Judge; Aasne Vigessa as Mary Surratt; Steven Beckett and Greg Harris for the Defense; Bill Davis and Carol Posegate for the Prosecution and Rich Bradley as Reporter. Tickets are sold out for the Springfield show.

Audiences will render a verdict on the fate of Surratt.

Two JAG officers will be on hand to answer general legal questions of service members and their families at the Illinois State Fair on Sunday, August 14, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., courtesy of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).

Timed to coincide with the fair’s Veterans Day celebration, the officers will be available at the ISBA tent on the fairgrounds located on Central Avenue across from the Dairy Building.

On Monday, August 15, during Senior Citizens Day, an elder law attorney will be available at the tent to answer general questions about the law related to seniors.

Throughout the 12-day event, the ISBA tent will distribute free legal pamphlets on a wide variety of legal issues.  Other freebies include gavel-like pencils, notepads, Abe Lincoln coloring books and temporary tattoos.

Fair-goers who want to assume a Lincoln identity can have their photo taken not WITH but AS the “Great Emancipator.”  The ISBA’s tent will have a life-size figure of Lincoln with a hole where his face should have been (sorry Abe) so visitors can have a free keepsake photo of themselves portrayed as the man considered Illinois’ most famous lawyer and one of the nation’s greatest U.S. Presidents.

The Illinois State Bar Association incorporates an image of Lincoln in their advertising and promotional materials with the tag line: “Our state has a history of some pretty good lawyers; we’re out to keep it that way.”

ISBA President-elect John E. Thies of Urbana was named President-elect of the National Caucus on Bar Associations at the recent ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto. The purpose of the caucus is to coordinate the efforts of state bar associations across the country in considering and proposing matters before the American Bar Association House of Delegates. Thies' term as president will coincide with his year as ISBA president (2012/13).  

“The state bar associations – including the ISBA – have a unique interest in many matters before the ABA House and within the ABA generally," Thies said. "These associations are most closely connected to the practicing bar, and the administration of justice at the core level. Accordingly, it is important that state bars have a strong voice within the ABA. In leading the Caucus, I plan to work with other state bar leaders to make sure that this is always the case.”

Judge David Gienapp (at lectern, the then-president of the Caucus) is shown declaring Thies' election following a nominating speech by ISBA President John Locallo (right).

The Bohemian Lawyers' Association of Chicago will host a centennial celebration on Sept. 30, 2011 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan. This celebration will honor the law school exchange program between Masaryk University Law Faculty and The John Marshall Law School.

The Bohemian Lawyers' Association was chartered on Oct. 4, 1911 and is the oldest ethnic bar association in the state. The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., a dinner at 7 p.m. and dancing to the music of the Marshall Vente Orchestra.

Click here for the ticket order from.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington discusses legislation of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Forcible Entry and Detainer: (Ford, D-Chicago; Martinez, D-Chicago) allows the plaintiff to include in a forcible entry and detainer complaint a request for the pro rata amount of rent due for any period that a judgment is stayed. Effective January 1, 2012.