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


Please enjoy this gift from our malpractice insurance partner, ISBA Mutual!

Despite our staid reputation, change has long been occurring in the legal profession.

  • Technology continues to expand and evolve across law firms
  • Internet technologies have empowered consumers, and are changing how legal services are delivered
  • Hourly rates are giving way to flat fees in some practice areas
  • Mobile devices and pervasive connectivity are changing clients' expectations of communication with their lawyers
  • Non-lawyers are providing some legal services online, even across state lines that traditionally limit lawyers
  • State bars and courts are exploring the licensing of non-lawyer alternatives to provide legal services

At ISBA Mutual - your success is ours - and we're recognizing that fact throughout ISBA Member Appreciation Month. To help you build upon your present success and flourish in an uncertain future, we are providing this complimentary download of our e-book normally available exclusively to lawyers and law firms insured by ISBA Mutual.



We're ending our D4S Week 2 — Polish Your Professional Presence — in style. Literally. Your challenge is to evaluate the image you're projecting with your wardrobe and if it's working for you.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. - Will Rogers

You are more than your clothes. You are more than your job. But there's also no harm in wanting to make a great impression on clients and colleagues, and having a good sense of style will help you do that. Whether you're into creating a capsule wardrobe or have a closet that Carrie Bradshaw would envy, there's a style for every lawyer that will make you feel both comfortable and commanding.  

We contacted a few ISBA members who are well-known for their stylish ensembles to get their advice and insight on power dressing for lawyers. 

Meet Our Style Mavens. All four interviewees are active members in the ISBA — which is how we knew they were so stylish! — and come from a variety of backgrounds and practices. Meet Natali, Rory, Carol and Cory (kind of has a jingle to it, no?)...


Jonathan Chatham, with consulting firm Network It Easy, Inc., talks about Microsoft Office 365, the collaboration and productivity software suite from Microsoft. 



If you have a subscription to Veranda magazine...or home-design-related boards on Pinterest...or love watching HGTV — today is your (D4S) day — because today, we're talking office style.

Different Strokes for Different Folks. Gone is a one-size-fits-all office. Legal office settings are just as varied as the different areas of law practiced. One person may have the corner office in a Chicago highrise while another is working from a home office in Mt. Vernon. Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum, your office environment contributes to your overall happiness and productivity.

For those of you who accomplished last week's decluttering challenge, you're ready to move on to the next step in creating an office that not only works for you but also gives you #goodfeels.


Looking to update the look of your entire law firm?

Check out the trendy design of Strauss & Malk LLP's Lake Forest Office on Houzz.

Design by Lisa Wolfe Design Ltd. Reprinted with permission from Strauss & Malk LLP.
Design by Lisa Wolfe Design Ltd. Reprinted with permission from Strauss & Malk LLP.


Congratulations to Steven Pietrick, who was selected at random to win $250 after filling out our usability survey. We asked members to complete a usability survey, the results of which will help us as we work to redesign the ISBA website. Thank you to the more than 400 members who participated in the survey. 



Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a 12-attorney firm in Toledo, Ohio. Our firm is evaluating new billing software and we are looking into some of the cloud-based solutions. We are currently using a desktop program that we have been using for 15 years. The program handles our billing as well as our accounting. We have kept up with the updates to the program and the software has worked well for us. Several of our younger attorneys have used a couple of cloud-based billing programs in other firms and are trying to convince the firm to change over to one of these programs. They believe it is easier to enter time sheets and the software is easier to work with. What are your thoughts?

A. I agree that the subscription cloud-based billing programs are easier to learn and use. In part this is due to limited function and capabilities. However, user simplicity is only part of the equation. The bigger question is whether the software will meet your needs. Many of the cloud-based programs were designed for solo practitioners or very small firms with limited reporting requirements. While these programs are getting better and inheriting more features they are still not up to par with the older desktop programs. Limitations include:


Winning #deskie
Winning #deskie
Congratulations to Joy Gossman for winning a set of Marie Kondo's books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Life-Changing Maging: A Journal, and a Royal 1600mx paper shredder in ISBA's #deskie challenge on Instagram!

On the first day of Member Appreciation Month, we tackled de-cluttering Marie Kondo-style and asked readers to share a photo of their decluttered desks or the item that sparks the most joy.We loved seeing your photos of our tips being put to good use in your offices and what brings our members joy during the workday! 

Don't forget to check out our Membership Appreciation Month site for upcoming promotions.



There's probably no better way to project a polished professional presence than having a good brand. Today we're looking at what that means exactly, and exploring ways to improve yours.

Your Brand Is Your Promise to Your Client. If you Google 'branding' you'll find many different descriptions of what it means. But at the heart of it, your brand is how others see you based on how you present yourself and the characteristics that define you. This is your personal brand.

Your professional brand adds the context of your work to that equation, defining your unique value proposition in the marketplace.

And your firm brand is about the reputation and value proposition of your firm as a whole, not just you (unless you are a solo lawyer).


"Knowing who you are, what you stand for, your professional strengths and what clients can expect when they hire you - as well as being able to communicate this clearly and effectively - will be key to your success both in terms of becoming better known internally (within your law firm) and externally (with your clients)." - The Importance of Personal Branding for Lawyers, Stephanie Solakian Goldstein


It's Sunday afternoon and the neighbor kid's drone comes buzzing over your yard, maybe 50 feet overhead. Like any good lawyer you ask yourself, "Is this drone flight violating my airspace?" (If you're a really good lawyer, you refer to "airspace" as "vertical curtilage.")

The short answer is yes, writes Elizabeth Austermuehle in the April ISBA Real Property newsletter. "[I]n the absence of federal or state regulations granting drones the right to fly over private property without the property owner's permission, drones do not have the right to do so," she writes. Though Illinois has passed legislation ordering up a task-force report on drone regulation (due July 2017), state law does not currently regulate drone use.

As for federal law, the FAA has long permitted flights over private property in "navigable airspace," which generally applies to the space 500 feet and higher above ground, Austermuehle writes. But it hasn't had much to say about drones - at least not until June 2016, when the agency "released its first operational rules for routine use of small [unmanned aircraft systems]," she writes. "The rules offer safety regulations for UAS weighing less than 55 pounds conducting non-hobbyist operations. Among other things, the rules require drone operators to keep the drones within their visual line of sight and prohibit flights over unprotected people on the ground who are not directly participating in the UAS operation."



The Illinois State Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays.  The Service makes referrals in a number of areas of law.  For the month of April, there were at total of 940 calls.