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A proposed bill that is an initiative of the ISBA's International and Immigration Law Section Council would amend the Code of Criminal Procedure to improve compliance with a current law that requires judges to notify defendants of the immigration consequences of guilty pleas. The current law, found at 725 ILCS 5/113-8, requires judges to advise defendants that a misdemeanor or felony conviction may result in deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization. However, since the law's adoption in 2004, it has been unevenly applied across Illinois courts.

In some cases, the required admonition is simply posted in courtrooms. In others, it may be contained in written agreements in court orders. It has not been uniformly given from the bench.

In 2009, the Supreme Court of Illinois found that the statute was directory, not mandatory. See People v. Del Villar (2009). The court reasoned that because the law does not provide a consequence for non-compliance, it is not truly mandatory.

The proposed legislation will add a consequence for non-compliance to make the law mandatory under the Del Villar standard. A defendant who is not given the admonition and who would risk deportation, exclusion, or denial of naturalization as a result of a guilty plea would be entitled to move to vacate the judgment, withdraw the guilty plea, and instead enter a plea of not guilty. Find out more about this and other ISBA-backed legislative proposals in the February Illinois Bar Journal.


Chicago lawyer and ISBA Construction Law Section Council member Margery Newman discusses the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act. For the definitive resource on mechanics lien practice, see Turner on Illinois Mechanics Liens.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. We have a 25-attorney firm based in San Antonio, Texas. We have 15 equity partners. We are equal partners and have equal ownership interests. Our partners are paid based upon ownership shares. Thus, each is paid the same. The system has worked well for us for many years and has supported our team-based collaborative culture. However, we are having issues with non-productive partners, and some of the productive partners feel that the compensation system is no longer fair. Some of the partners have suggested that we move to a formulaic system. Other partners in the firm feel that such a system would destroy the collaborative culture we have built. We appreciate your thoughts.


Illinois State Bar Association President Vincent F. Cornelius issued the following statement today.

It has been covered extensively by the media that President Trump referred to U.S. District Judge James L. Robart as a "so-called judge." An independent judiciary is the bedrock of American jurisprudence. Every federal judge, including Judge Robart, was nominated by a sitting president of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. Once confirmed, federal judges are granted life tenure so their appointments are not subject to influence by the president who nominated them, the Senate that confirmed them, future presidents, or the ballot.

While reasonable Americans can disagree with a judge's rulings, questioning the legitimacy of a federal judge is inappropriate. In the words of American Bar Association president Linda Klein, "There are no so-called judges in America."  

 


The Illinois Bar Foundation is joining the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice, the Chicago Bar Foundation, and the Public Interest Law Initiative in inviting Illinois attorneys to participate in a statewide survey of pro bono activity.

The survey was emailed this week to all registered Illinois lawyers, who are encouraged to fill it out whether or not they regularly do pro bono work. It is open through March 10 and available here,  Responses are anonymous and only reported in the aggregate. Those who complete it are eligible to win a $500 gift certificate.

"The Illinois Supreme Court has a strong commitment to supporting pro bono as a professional responsibility and as a way to meet the legal needs of the poor. In order to address the justice gap, the Illinois Supreme Court ATJ Commission and others need to review how and why attorneys provide pro bono service and what can be done differently to expand services," said Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, ATJ Commission liaison for the court. "We invite attorneys from all four corners of the State to join us and participate in this survey."


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. Part 2 in this series, which takes place as a live webcast on February 22, 2017, examines a number of housing issues, including: housing rights for victims of domestic and sexual violence; “Ban the Box” laws and background checks designed to screen out undesirable tenants; how the abuse of due process rights by landlords can lead to rejection of eligible applicants and eviction of tenants; when landlords can legally exercise their rights to evict tenants; what remedies wrongfully-evicted tenants can pursue; current efforts to educate the public about the legal remedy of expungement; and how the displacement of families from housing affects the quality of life for those families. The series is designed for practitioners in local government, criminal justice, human rights law, education law, family law, real estate, and/or consumer protection law at all levels of practice experience. The seminar is presented by the ISBA Standing Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Law, and co-sponsored by the ISBA Standing Committee on Disability Law, ISBA Standing Committee on Women and the Law, and the ISBA Diversity Leadership Council. It qualifies for 2.0 hours MCLE credit.

 Click here for more information and to register.



The Illinois State Bar Association's Lawyer Finder Service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays. The Service makes referrals in a number of areas of law. For the month of January 2017, there were 1003 referrals. ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:


By John E. Brennock

It is an unfortunate fact that some people are unable to obtain legal representation because of limited financial resources or the inability to qualify for or obtain pro bono representation. Those people likely would benefit from at least some attorney involvement in their matter, but often are forced to proceed pro se, and without legal knowledge and training, struggling to successfully handle their legal problem.

Likewise, attorneys naturally want to engage clients who can pay for all of the services connected with a given legal matter. But when faced with a prospective client of limited financial means, attorneys either are forced to reduce their fees, risk nonpayment from a financially challenged client, or simply turn down the representation.

Limited scope representation1, when done correctly, may provide a workable solution to these problems. And for attorneys who want to offer pro bono representation but cannot commit to full representation because of financial or time constraints, limited scope representation can be utilized to provide at least some pro bono service for indigent prospective clients an attorney might otherwise turn away.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. We have a 12-attorney business litigation firm in Springfield. I am part of our three-member management committee and have been charged with helping the firm find and hire our first legal administrator. While we have a bookkeeper who handles our billing and accounting, the rest of the firm's management matters are handled by the management committee. We believe we have reached a size where we need help with managing day-to-day operations. What sort of skill set and type of person should we be looking for?


Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of Carbondale attorney and ISBA Board of Governors member Carey C. Gill as an at large Circuit Judge in the First Judicial Circuit. Ms. Gill was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Judge James R. Moore was elected to the Fifth District Appellate Court in the November 2016 general election.

The appointment of Ms. Gill takes effect on February 17, 2017, and will conclude on December 3, 2018, when the vacancy will be filled by the winner of the November 2018 general election.

"I am thankful to Chief Justice Karmeier and the Supreme Court for appointing me to the Circuit Court,” Ms. Gill said. “I am honored to have this opportunity and recognize the great responsibility to both the profession and the community associated with serving on the bench.”

Chief Justice Karmeier recommended the appointment to the full Court following a review of applicants by a six-person screening committee, which included the Hon. Stephen Spomer, retired Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District; Tambra Kay Cain, Esq., Johnson County State’s Attorney; the Hon. Terry Foster, retired judge and attorney at Kruger, Henry & Hunter in Metropolis; attorney Kara Lynn Jones of Feirich, Mager, Green & Ryan, Carbondale; attorney Michael Oshel of the Harrisburg law firm Oshel Law, P.C.; and attorney William F. Sherwood of Southern Illinois Healthcare.