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Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of an eight-attorney insurance defense firm in San Antonio, Texas. I have been practicing fifteen years. I am forty-five years old. Many of my peers in firms my size are in partnerships. Is my situation unusual? Should I consider having partners?

Nominations are being accepted for the 2017 class of Laureates of the ISBA Academy of Illinois Lawyers. ISBA members may submit nominations of colleagues through February 17, 2017.

A class of Laureates is selected by the Academy Board of Regents. Nominees must be ISBA members who personify the values, standards and ideals of the best of the legal profession.

With the public domain citation system firmly in place in Illinois, there's no reason for Rule 23(e) nonprecedential, noncitable orders to exist - and plenty of reasons for them to go, argues Mount Vernon lawyer Morris Lane Harvey in the January Illinois Bar Journal.

Rule 23 allows a reviewing court to issue a decision as an unpublished order if the ruling does not make law. The Illinois Supreme Court adopted Rule 23 decades ago as part of a move to reduce the number of appellate opinions when shelves were groaning under the many volumes of print reporters. But now that the official opinions appear on the supreme court's website, not in print - and Rule 23 orders are archived and publicly available there as well - the principal rationale for allowing unpublished orders has vanished, Harvey argues. 

And a look at supreme court stats reveals that many Rule 23 orders are hardly routine dispositions, he writes. "According to statistics published in Kirk Jenkins' Illinois Supreme Court Review blog in March 2015, 42.31 percent of the cases reviewed by the Illinois Supreme Court in the year 2014 were Rule 23(b) orders," he says. "If a central rationale for limiting Rule 23(b) is to 'curtail the publication of unnecessary opinions,' why have so many of them found their way onto the supreme court's docket?" Read Harvey's IBJ article to find out more.

Illinois attorney Kurt Lloyd of Lloyd Law Group discusses using published hearsay documents when presenting expert witness testimonies.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers the Title Insurance Act, Collaborative Process Act, Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Illinois Administrative Procedure Act and Setting bail.

More information on each bill is available below the video.

Get the information you need regarding anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws regarding housing and property rights! Don’t miss this four-part series that explores the housing access injustices suffered by individuals and families facing economic challenges across the spectrum and how their communities are being devastated.

Join us via the Internet on January 25, 2017 for Part 1, which examines a number of housing issues, including: how the SCOTUS Opinion in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs vs. The Inclusive Communities Project may impact access to affordable, quality housing for low-income minority residents; the impact of affordable housing initiatives on individuals and communities; which housing initiatives work and which ones promote racial, ethnic, and socio-economic class segregation; the successes and failures of government-funded housing programs; HUD’s 2015 ‘guidance’ stating that “adverse housing decisions may constitute racial discrimination”; and the impact on children’s educational progress and opportunities due to constant residence changes.

Justice Mary Jane Theis and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of Joanne Rosado as a Circuit Judge in the Eleventh Subcircuit of Cook County.

Ms. Rosado was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. Kathleen Kennedy.

The appointment takes effect January 20, 2016 and will terminate on Dec. 3, 2018, when the position will be filled by the 2018 General Election.

Justice Mary Jane Theis and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of Cecilia A. Horan as an at-large Cook County Circuit Judge.

Ms. Horan was appointed to fill the position held by the Hon. Russell W. Hartigan, who is retiring from judicial office on Jan. 17, 2017.

The appointment takes effect January 19, 2016 and will terminate on Dec. 3, 2018, when the position will be filled by the 2018 General Election.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the sole owner of a four-attorney firm in St. Louis, Missouri. Our firm has four staff members - 2 legal assistants, a receptionist, and an office manager/bookkeeper. It is that time of year again where I anguish over year-end bonuses for staff which end up being Santa Claus bonuses with no relationship to actual performance. I would like to move away from this approach and tie their bonuses to performance. How do I measure performance for bonuses?

Judge Debra Walker
Judge Debra Walker
Judge Debra Walker, former President of the Illinois Bar Foundation, is the recipient of the 2017 National Conference of Bar Foundations (NCBF) Excellence Award.  The award, to be presented at the NCBF midyear meeting in Miami in February, recognizes an outstanding contribution to law-related philanthropy by an individual. Prior to her election to the Cook County Circuit Court in 2008, she was a partner at the law firm of Clausen Miller, P.C. where she concentrated on professional liability matters. 

Judge Walker has a long record of leadership in the legal profession. As a past president of the Illinois Bar Foundation, she served longer than any other board member in its 65-year history, holding the offices of Secretary and Vice President, as well as Chair of the Fellows program. A regular attendee at NCBF meetings, she served one term on the NCBF Board of Trustees, which included her service as chair of the Awards Committee and as a member of the Program Committee.  She also participated as a presenter at NCBF midyear and annual meetings. She was recently elected to the Illinois Judges Foundation board of directors.