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Illinois Supreme Court

Illinois State Bar Association General Counsel Charles Northrup highlights two of what he thinks are the most important changes from today's Illinois Supreme Court adoption of the New Rules of Professional Conduct for Lawyers:
  • "One of the most significant, if not the most significant, aspect of the adopted Rules is that they contain official comments. The comments give attorneys a readily accessible interpretation and explanation of the intent of the Rules. It will be an additional and important guide for lawyers when they are determining what their ethical obligations are."
  • "Another important aspect of the new Rules is the treatment of the Dowling case and the issue of flat or fixed fees. Many practioners were concerned about the treatment of these types of fees under Dowling and whether they fell within the definition of 'advanced payment retainers.' The new Rules clarify that flat or fixed fees are not advanced payment retainers, a position that was advocated by the ISBA."
More highlights from the Supreme Court's New Rules of Professional Conduct for Lawyers Announcement for the New Rules of Professional Conduct
A press release from the Illinois Supreme Court highlights some of the most important changes wrought by the new Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. For example, the new rules "clarif[y] the earlier law and eliminate certain restrictions on the reasons for sale" of a law practice, "prohibit a lawyer from having sexual relations with a client unless a prior sexual relationship existed," and "[f]or the first time ... explicitly govern electronic [lawyer advertising] communications such as e-mail and websites." Here are the full highlights from the Illinois Supreme Court: 1. New Rules The Supreme Court of Illinois has adopted a number of ethics rules that have not appeared in any previously enacted conduct code. The new rules include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • a) New Rule 1.18. Describes important duties that lawyers owe to a prospective client arising from preliminary discussions before the creation of a formal lawyer-client relationship;
  • b) New Rule 2.4. Defines the duties of a lawyer who serves as a third-party neutral, such as a mediator or arbitrator;
  • c) New Rule 3.9. Articulates the duties of an advocate in a nonadjudicative proceeding, such as before a legislative body or an administrative agency;
  • d) New Rule 4.4(b). Addresses how a lawyer should respond when the lawyer receives a document that was inadvertently submitted to the lawyer;
2. Comments to the New Rules The new ethics rules contain comments that attempt to explain the rules, refer to court decisions relating to the rules and assist the lawyer in complying with the rules. The rules are authoritative; the comments serve as a guide.
Big, big news: the Illinois Supreme Court just announced new Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct that take effect next January. This is huge, and we'll have analysis for you as soon as we can pull it together, and for weeks -- and months and probably years -- to come.
Jayne Reardon
Jayne Reardon
The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that Jayne Reardon has been appointed as executive director of the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, a body established to improve civility between and among lawyers, their clients and judges in Illinois. Ms. Reardon, a University of Michigan Law School graduate who is an experienced Illinois lawyer and licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, has served as deputy director of the commission since 2006. During that time, she has been a key formulator of policy approved by the Commission and a facilitator of quality continuing legal education in the area of professional responsibility. Supreme Court Justice Robert R. Thomas initiated the concept of the Commission to improve professionalism among lawyers and judges, and the full Supreme Court established the Commission in 2005. The Commission has achieved its goals with limited staff and budget. No taxpayers dollars are involved as the Commission is funded by a small portion of the annual registration and licensing fees paid by Illinois attorneys.
junebarjournal1... or the deputy, for that matter. But the Illinois Supreme Court did make employment law a little claimant-friendlier with its recent ruling in Sangamon County Sheriff's Department v Illinois Human Rights Commission. The justices held that employers are liable for sexual harassment by supervisors whether or not the employer knew about it and even though the employee-victim doesn't work under the supervisor. Read about it in the June Illinois Bar Journal and the June Labor and Employment Law newsletter.