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


Want some alone time with an expert to get their advice on what you could be doing to improve the management of your practice, in the areas you most need help?

We've partnered with Jeff Krause and Jennifer Ramovs at Affinity Consulting Group to give 29 lucky winners* a 20 minute customized consultation to take place on Monday, May 22, either in person at our Chicago office or by phone - winners' choice.

To enter, complete the online form by Thursday, May 11 at 4:30PM.

Only 1 entry per member will be accepted.


New! We'll also be taping a practice management/technology podcast on May 22 to share with all members. You'll hear Jenn and Jeff recap some of the most commonly asked questions and get their advice in each area. Stay tuned for a release date...

 

*Winners will be selected based on need and demographic - to represent a variety of locations and practice settings - and will be notified by email. Those selected will need to complete and submit a questionnaire in advance of the consultation about their practice area(s), number of attorneys and staff, existing technology and processes, problems they hope to solve, etc. Questionnaire answers will be used to help customize the consultation to each winner's particular needs.


John J. Castaneda, owner of Castaneda Law Office, discusses how utilization review pertains to medical care or work-related injuries.



We've dealt with decluttering our desks (Monday) and our minds (Tuesday and Wednesday). Today we're turning our attention to downsizing digital clutter, starting with the inbox.

Achieving Inbox Zero (or Close to It)

Go take a look at the number of emails currently in your inbox. (We'll wait.) Is it zero? If so, congrats, you've already reached the mythical Inbox Zero. Go celebrate. For the rest of us (festivus!), is it 50? 500? 5,000? Does your number stress you out? What would be your ideal number?

Knowing your comfort level will help you manage your inbox. For many of us, Inbox Zero is not realistic, but Inbox 100 just might be. Here's how we can get there...

Delete, Repeat. This one is simple, and you're probably already doing it to some degree. But if your inbox number is upwards of 3 figures, you're a prime candidate for a batch delete. To batch delete, sort your inbox by sender. Twenty emails sitting around from J.Crew? Delete them as a batch by clicking on the sender then delete. Repeat for all unwanted emails/senders.

Another helpful tip is to sort your inbox by subject. If you've got a long thread of emails using the same subject line, and the last one contains all of the earlier replies, consider just holding on to that last one and getting rid of the rest. (Tip courtesy of our Membership Coordinator Ann Boucher!)


All attorneys have opinions about judges. Those opinions are sometimes negative and are often shared around the office, or when talking shop with a colleague.

But lawyers should beware of voicing those opinions in a more public forum. Rule 8.2 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits attorneys from knowingly making false statements concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge.

So when do opinions become lies? The First Amendment protects people who are stating opinions. It doesn't protect defamatory speech. And the issue gets even more complicated when that speech is part of a document filed with the court.

Some years back, the seventh circuit considered the nexus between the First Amendment and ethical rules in In re Palmisano70 F.3d 483 (7th Cir. 1995). There, the court reviewed a rule to show cause why an attorney who had been disbarred in Illinois should not be disbarred by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as well.


Before 4:30PM on Thursday, May 4, please take a moment to do the following:

1.  Visit isba.org and ensure the information in your ISBA account is accurate.

  • To do so, simply login to isba.org by clicking on "ISBA Member Login" in the upper-right-hand corner of your screen (if you're already logged in, click on "My Account" in the same location).
  • Please pay particular attention to the information under the "Your Addresses" and "About You" sections because this information will become publicly available.

2. While on your ISBA account page, choose your "Online Public Directory Settings."



Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the sole owner of a two-attorney firm in Atlanta. I have been in practice for 13 years. I have one associate who has been with me for one year, one full-time paralegal, and two part-time assistants. I have a general practice. Revenues have stagnated and I need to identify strategies for getting to the next level. My practice is struggling. I have been thinking about narrowing my practice and focusing on five or six practice areas. I am ready to invest in marketing. I would appreciate your thoughts.

A. This is the age of specialization – less often results in more. Many attorneys in small general practice firms are afraid to specialize and focus on three areas of practice or fewer. The concern is that by specializing, there simply will not be enough business of keep the attorneys busy generating sufficient revenues.

I have worked with several firms that have shifted their practices from general practices to practices limited to estate planning and elder law and they have performed far better as specialized practices than they did as general practices. I suggest that you consider focusing your practice on on no more than two or three key practice areas in which you can differentiate yourself.

Here are a few thoughts:



Learn how outpatient mental health commitment orders are being developed and implemented in Cook County and around Illinois with this informative half-day seminar in Chicago or via live webcast on May 17, 2017. Discover how to get a person the mental health treatment they need in the community, while gaining the perspective of both the mental health provider and the patient regarding outpatient mental health commitments.

The program is presented by the ISBA Mental Health Law Section and qualifies for 3.0 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.



Don't throw away your shot! Register today.

You've listened (obsessively) to the musical soundtrack, now explore the life of Hamilton: An American Lawyer. Join us Tuesday, May 23 from 10-11AM for this free live webcast — including 1 MCLE | 1* PMCLE — for the first 1,000 registrants (ISBA members only).

Learn about the law practice of Alexander Hamilton, founding father extraordinaire and practicing lawyer in the early days of American jurisprudence. Recollections of his legal cases, letters, publications, and stories — as well as their historical context — are provided by John Lupton, executive director at the Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission.

The program concludes with our panel presenters discussing how these issues would be addressed in the 21st century practice and how some of Hamilton's characteristics are applicable to a successful practitioner today.

Topics include competency, zealous advocacy, representing the unpopular cause, civility, succession planning, and more!

Program 'Singing' Moderator:
John T. D. Bathke, Attorney at Law, Peoria and Chicago



Your challenge for today is to dim the lights in your office, sit (in lotus position) on your newly decluttered desk, close your eyes, and hum for the next 30 minutes.


Just kidding! Sort of anyway.

Today we're learning how to incorporate a few minutes of mindfulness into our professional lives to help us cope with work-related stress and push the reset button on our mind.

What is mindfulness? While it sounds new-agey, mindfulness has been practiced by people for thousands of years. At its core, it is being in a state of awareness.

Why is it so popular? Most of us are flying on autopilot throughout the day. Our frantic lives leave us on edge, stressed, and wondering where the day went. Mindfulness is a way to counteract those tendencies by connecting with what's going on around us and within us. Short of going on a tech-detox or taking a mental health day, it's one one of the best - and easiest - things you can do for yourself to improve your day.

Like monotasking, mindfulness also improves productivity, which helps explain why the practice of mindfulness has made its way into the corporate culture at numerous companies, like Google, Target and General Mills.



What is monotasking? Simply put, it's the art of carrying out one task at a time.

Why everyone should be doing it... The antithesis of multitasking, monotasking helps improve your memory, cut down on errors, and increase your productivity. And if that isn't enough to convince you, monotasking can also make your work feel more enjoyable.  

...Except for these people. Like Mensa, only 2% of the population are true multitaskers, or 'supertaskers.' For these lucky few, their performance doesn't suffer when they do different things simultaneously - it sometimes gets better. For most of us though, our brain can't handle the overload. Take the test to find out where you stand.

5 Steps to Monotasking