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

Chicago Area

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.
IBF Grants Committee Member Judge Nancy Katz of Chicago presents a $10,000 grant to Kendra Reinshagen, Executive Director of Legal Aid Bureau of Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago.
IBF Grants Committee Member Judge Nancy Katz of Chicago presents a $10,000 grant to Kendra Reinshagen, Executive Director of Legal Aid Bureau of Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago.
The Illinois Bar Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce a $10,000 grant to Legal Aid Bureau of Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago, one of 32 grants awarded in 2009 totaling $304,995. Founded in 1886, the Legal Aid Bureau (LAB) of Metropolitan Family Services (MFS) is the oldest provider of legal services to low-income people in Chicago and the second oldest in the country. LAB provides free legal assistance to the impoverished, domestic violence victims, children and the elderly. This grant specifically supports LAB’s Poverty Law Project located at Metropolitan Family Services’ Midway and Calumet Community Centers, providing community-based consumer and housing law advice, representation and education to underserved residents of Chicago’s south side. As the charitable affiliate of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Foundation’s mission is to ensure meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who can no longer support themselves due to incapacity.
Amy Richards
Amy Richards
Amy E. Richards is pleased to announce the opening of the Family Law Office of Amy E. Richards, with offices in Chicago and Buffalo Grove.  She will be handling family law matters (divorce, paternity, custody, child support, post-decree) in Cook, DuPage, Lake, and McHenry counties and can be reached at (312) 523-2155 or at Click here to visit the Richards Family Law website
Mark Belongia
Mark Belongia
Belongia, Shapiro & Hynes, LLP
has moved to new law offices at 20 South Clark Street, Suite 300, Chicago. Belongia, Shapiro & Hynes, LLP expanded its offices due to its ever expanding client base and the addition of several new attorneys in 2009, doubling its size. Belongia, Shapiro & Hynes, LLP is a full-service boutique law firm that handles a wide scope of legal matters locally, nationally and internationally. The Firm’s trusted experience and reliable leadership have allowed its attorneys to represent a broad client base ranging from large multi-national corporations to individuals.
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.

A Glimpse at Illinois Lawyer Finder Referrals

The ISBA's Illinois Lawyer Finder phone service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays and in a number of areas of law.  For the month of May 2009, ISBA helped 588* people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:
  • administrative law (5)
  • animal law (3)
  • bankruptcy (18)
  • business law (11)
  • civil disputes (67)
  • civil rights (12)
  • collection (15)
  • consumer protection (12)
  • contracts (6)
  • criminal law (50)
  • education law (12)
  • elder law (2)
  • employment law (73)
  • estate/probate law (18)
  • family (103)
  • government benefits (4)
  • health law (2)
  • immigration (1)
  • insurance disputes (5)
  • intellectual property (6)
  • miscellaneous (1)
  • municipal law (12)
  • personal injury (78)
  • real estate (47)
  • social security (3)
  • tax (10)
  • workers compensation (12)
Want to be listed in the ISBA's Illinois Lawyer Finder service?  ISBA members are entitled to a free or a premium (paid) listing, which helps market and build your practice. Call 800.525.8908 and ask for the Legal Department, or click here to sign up today! (Looking for a lawyer through Illinois Lawyer Finder?  Call 800.922.8757 or click here)
Amy Gardner
Amy Gardner
ISBA Member Amy M. Gardner was re-elected President of the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Chicago at its officer elections June 22.  Ms. Gardner is a 2002 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School.  The Club is made up of the 46,000 alumni and friends of the University of Chicago who reside in the Chicago area. Gardner is a commercial and IP litigator at Ungaretti & Harris LLP.