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The Illinois State Bar Association issued two ethics opinions today:

  • Ethics Opinion 15-01: An in-house lawyer, admitted to the bar of a state other than Illinois but with a permanent office in Illinois, may practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office on behalf of his or her employer without a limited license under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 716. Such a lawyer’s practice is restricted to those activities that are authorized by 37 C.F.R. 11.5(b).
  • Ethics Opinion 15-02: A lawyer may deposit his own funds into a client trust account to pay bank service charges on that account, and should pay himself back such funds when they are no longer necessary for that purpose. Unidentified funds contained in a client trust account must, after one (1) year from the discovery of the unidentified funds, be remitted to the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois. Unclaimed funds contained in a client trust account should, after five (5) years, be remitted to the State as abandoned property.

View our full database of ethics questions on our ethics page at www.isba.org/ethics

By Judge Barb Crowder, Edwardsville

There is now a book entirely of “selfies” (photographs one takes of oneself). The concept has been around since the 1800s, yet has taken over as a new term that everyone understands. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo and Juliet). William Shakespeare may have been among those who first pointed out that the names of things do not affect what they are but even he recognized that a turn of phrase can make a concept instantly understandable.  The court system, though perhaps not in the forefront of trends, continues try to keep up by adopting terminology and policies to better help court patrons (f/k/a ‘the public’) mired in the labyrinth of unfamiliar legal procedures. In April 2015, the court adopted the Illinois Supreme Court Policy on Assistance to Court Patrons by Circuit Clerks, Court Staff, Law Librarians, and Court Volunteers to add consistency to court programs and hopefully make the court system more ‘user-friendly’. Re-naming users of court may not change their role, but it may make the court experience more understandable.

First and foremost, the purpose of the new policy is to clarify to non-lawyers what services can actually be given to help people who come to the courthouse. No clerk or librarian enjoys frustrating an already upset individual by parroting the phrase:  “I am sorry but I am not a lawyer and cannot answer that question/help you know what to write/what to file”. Not to mention when the irate and frustrated individual begins to scream at the staff person, no one is satisfied.

David Sosin
David Sosin
Sonni Choi Williams
Sonni Choi Williams
The Illinois State Bar Association's Board of Governors elected a new secretary and treasurer at its meeting June 20 in Lake Geneva. For the first time in many years, President Umberto S. Davi held the Board's organizational meeting in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.

David Sosin, of Orland Park, was named treasurer. He is the founding partner in the Orland Park firm of Sosin & Arnold, Ltd. He has served on the Board of Governors since 2013 and is a past president of the Illinois Bar Foundation. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company. Sosin has been honored as a 2011 Laureate of the ISBA Academy of Illinois Lawyers and has received an ISBA Board of Governors Award.

Sonni Choi Williams, of Peoria, will serve as secretary. She is Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City of Peoria. Williams has served on the Board of Governors since 2012 and the Assembly since 2004. She received the ISBA Diversity Leadership Award in 2015.

The Board welcomed new members Dennis J. Orsey of Granite City, Daniel R. Saeddi of Chicago, Kent A. Gaertner of Wheaton and Rory T. Weiler of St. Charles.

President Davi appointed Williams and Chantelle Porter to the Board of the Illinois Bar Foundation.

Umberto S. Davi
Umberto S. Davi
Initiatives on law school debt, solo and small-firm CLE, and programs to provide legal forms to attorneys and civics education to non-attorneys will top the agenda of incoming ISBA President Umberto Davi, a solo matrimonial and real estate practitioner in Western Springs who took the helm on June 19.

Davi also would like to explore the possibility of extending to the private sector the 711 license that currently allows third-year law students to practice in court but only under the supervision of public sector legal offices like state's attorneys and public defenders. It's a move he figures might help to address the debt issue in addition to providing practical experience for young lawyers.

It's an "ambitious plate," he says. But ambitious plates are nothing new for Umberto Davi, whose accomplishments in law and life defy easy description for many who have known him. Davi arrived in Illinois from Sicily at age 14 with a recently widowed mother, two younger brothers, no knowledge of the English language, and little more than the clothing he wore and the change in his pocket. Find out more in the July Illinois Bar Journal.

Read Jan Davi's biographical tribute at www.isba.org/davibio


The ISBA 139th Annual Meeting kicked off Thursday at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wis. We will celebrate the many accomplishments of ISBA President Richard Felice and, we will celebrate the induction of 2015-16 President Umberto Davi. The Grand Geneva Resort provides an ideal setting for this gathering of the profession. Follow along and join the conversation on Twitter at #139thAnnual.

  • June 18 - 20, 2015
  • Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, Wis.

Full schedule and more information available at www.isba.org/annual

The ISBA Standing Committee on Legal Technology is inviting members to participate in a short, 3-5 minute survey regardning their legal tech needs. This will help the committee better plan newsletter and CLE offerings.

Please take the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/isbacolt15


The Illinois State Bar Association is happy to announce the winners of our Twitter contest as part of Member Appreciation Month:

GRAND PRIZE WINNER (Prize: Apple Watch Sport)

  • Carl Newman

‘eClips to be current today, CLE for tomorrow's practice, and participating in a community of great lawyers for a lifetime #isbabenefits

… For perfectly capturing everything we hope members see in the ISBA … a partner in the profession throughout their career.

3 RUNNER-UP WINNERS (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card)

  • Justin Raver

Need coverage? Need a case? Need insurance? Need CLE? Just need to know if I'm on the right track! One place has it all. #isbabenefits

… For perfectly capturing many of the great reasons we hope lawyers join and continue to belong to the ISBA.

  • Underwood King LLP

CLEs and Fastcase on our iPads or MacBooks, wherever we are, whenever we have time. Mobile and reliable! #ISBAbenefits

… For perfectly capturing the ease-of-use of two of our top member benefits.

Umberto Davi
Umberto Davi
Umberto S. Davi, of Willowbrook, a principal in the Western Springs Law Firm of Umberto S. Davi, P.C., was installed as president of the Illinois State Bar Association at the organization’s 139th Annual Meeting on June 19, at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wis.

During his year as president, Davi will concentrate on several initiatives. He will establish a special committee charged with exploring the expansion of the 711 limited law license that would enable qualifying law school students to work more directly with private law firm clients and to be able to appear in court. In addition, he will establish a special task force to address the implications of new client service approaches in certain legal matters, such as the Limited License Legal Technicians program recently enacted in the state of Washington.

A third initiative will focus on providing another practice tool – a library of Illinois-specific, automated legal forms for members of the association. Davi will also continue work to expand the Courtroom in the Classroom program, a joint project with the Illinois Judges Association. He will support the ongoing work of a task force examining necessary changes to what law schools teach students and he will bring substantive and management educational programs to members around the state, through a series of one day Solo and Small Firm Practice Institutes.

The Illinois State Bar Association will present several awards recognizing individuals for their commitment and service to the profession and their communities at an Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 19, at the organization’s 139th Annual Meeting in Lake Geneva, Wis. Award recipients are:


The Illinois State Bar Association organizes an admission ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court every two years. ISBA President Richard D. Felice made the motion to admit the group of ISBA members before Chief Justice John Roberts on June 8. The group heard the Court's decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry. Justice Kennedy delivered the opinon of the court in a 6-3 decision, Justice Scalia delivered the dissent. The next ISBA admission trip will be in 2017. View more photos at iln.isba.org/gallery/902/u.s.-supreme-court-admission-ceremony-2015 and iln.isba.org/gallery/898/u.s.-supreme-court-admission-ceremony-2015-sunday-reception