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Central Illinois

By Rodney R. Nordstrom Consisting of Moe Levine's most memorable lectures and summations, a  new book, Moe Levine on Advocacy, offers everything the reader expects.  Don Keenan does an excellent job in the forward to motivate the reader to read more of the book. Specifically, Keenan divides Levine's (1908 -1974) trial advocacy skills into five main points: mastery of the understatement, appeal to each audience's uniqueness, appeal to jurors' spirituality, elevation of jury's consciousness of the community and challenging jurors to make the "right" decision. These five cardinal points summarize Levine's smooth approach to effective summation.
Judging by the traffic on ISBA's criminal-law listserver, few topics are more important to day-to-day criminal defense practice than expungements. And on that topic, Coles County lawyer Jeremy J. Richey has some advice for his peers -- don't put them off. In a recent post to his excellent East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, he says this: "Since expungement is a slow process, a person should seek expungement the first day he is eligible for it and not when he needs it later down the road." Read the whole thing. And if you're an ISBA member, sign up for the criminal-DUI-traffic listserver and other e-mail discussion groups here.
The Peoria County Bar Association will hold its 2009 Golf Outing on Aug. 13 at the WeaverRidge Golf Club, 5100 N. Weaverridge Blvd., Peoria. Registraion begins at 11 a.m. Prices: Golf only, $85; Dinner only, $35; Golf and dinner, $115 Reservation deadline is Aug. 7. Contact the PCBA at (309) 674-6049 for more information.
Watch for Helen Gunnarsson's LawPulse item in the not-yet-published August Illinois Bar Journal about a scam e-mail solicitation that's making the rounds. Helen will have details, but in the meantime you can read a year-old California Bar Journal article describing this "request for Legal assistance," purportedly from a Chinese textile company. Thanks to Springfield paralegal Caren Mansfield, who alerted ISBA to the scam and the CBJ article.
Longtime ISBA member Homer W. Keller passed away in June at age 91. He was born in Peoria and attended Franklin Elementary School and Peoria High School. Mr. Keller earned his law degree from the University of Illinois in 1943 and practiced with the Westervelt firm for 66 years. Mr. Keller was President of the Peoria County Bar Association in 1971-72. He will long be remembered for his integrity, quick wit and kindness.

From the Peoria County Bar Association's July Newsletter.

In a recent column for the Law Technology News, veteran lawyer and legal-tech writer Bob Ambrogi compared the two leading bar-sponsored legal research services, Fastcase and Casemaker. As he notes, Casemaker partners with 28 bars representing 475,000 lawyers, while Fastcase is offered by 17 state and other bars -- including the Illinois State Bar Association -- representing 380,000 lawyers. His conclusion? "[B]oth are worthwhile services with many similarities. In the coverage of federal and state libraries and the relative strengths of their search tools, neither stands out as significantly superior to the other. But in their intuitiveness and ease of use, Fastcase has the clear edge." Read his review.
The rumor mill is spinning that effective July 1, 2009, Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) trusts are required for liability litigation as is already required in worker’s compensation. (Reimbursement by a plaintiff for previously paid benefits to Medicare is unchanged by the new law.) Although federal research is not my strong suit, I can’t find any support for this proposition. My best guess is that this rumor started because of the new § 111 reporting requirements included in the Medicare, Medicaid & SCHIP Act of 2007. (Public Law 111-173). Section 111 provisions are reporting requirements and do not mention any need for MSAs in liability cases. This new law simply requires those paying  for judgments to report to Medicare payments of settlements, awards, judgments, or other payments. An argument is being posited that the previous law still in effect already requires MSAs in personal-injury cases for future medical expenses. (Medicare Secondary Payer Act). I cannot find any clear authority supporting that proposition.