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

ISBA News

The Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services is seeking nominations for the ISBA Joseph R. Bartylak Memorial Legal Services Award which honors the extraordinary commitment and dedication of a civil legal services attorney who has provided the highest caliber of compassionate legal representation and outstanding service to Illinois’ vulnerable and low-income population.

Nominations must be received by Friday, March 6, 2015. For more information on this award and how to nominate an individual, please visit the Joseph R. Bartylak homepage.

The Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services is also seeking nominations for the ISBA John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award.

The ISBA has established the John C. McAndrews Award to honor the extraordinary commitment of individuals, bar associations, or law firm/corporate legal departments to providing free legal services to the income eligible in Illinois or expanding the availability of legal services to the income eligible in Illinois.


St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson (second from left) received a 2014 Law Enforcement Award from the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) during a ceremony hosted by the St. Clair County Bar Association at The Weingarten restaurant in Belleville on October 16.

On hand for the presentation were (from left) Nick Kujawa, who nominated the Sheriff for the award; Sheriff Watson, Russell Scott, a member of the ISBA Board of Governors, who presented the award; and Jon Rosenstengel, president of the St. Clair County Bar Association.

By Michele Miller

Join attorneys at events all over Illinois to recognize outstanding pro bono accomplishments and educate attorneys for future pro bono work during National Celebrate Pro Bono Week 2014.

Prairie State Legal Services (PSLS) will present a live training session for the Volunteer Lawyer Courthouse Project at the Rock Island County Justice Center on Friday, October 24, 2014 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. This free session, which will also be webcast, will focus on training pro bono lawyers to provide legal representation to tenants facing eviction. Attorneys will receive 2.0 hours of MCLE credit for attending and are expected to volunteer for the project at least twice. The training will include an overview of basic landlord/tenant law, focusing on tenant rights and eviction defenses, a mock trial, as well as sample documents and relevant case law.  The Volunteer Lawyer Courthouse Project provides opportunities for volunteer attorneys, while working with PSLS, to screen clients, provide legal advice and, if necessary, negotiate a settlement with the landlord or represent the tenant at trial.
 

Initial training for volunteer judges and lawyers set for Oct. 24

Through the initiatives of Illinois Judges Association President Michael Hyman and Illinois State Bar Association President Richard D. Felice, the two organizations have joined efforts to co-sponsor the IJA’s “Bringing the Courtroom to the Classroom” program. This innovative program is designed to bring civics education about the legal system and courts in Illinois to students throughout the State.

Hyman and Felice have focused efforts to engage high school students with civics education about our legal system. “Each wants kids to know about our legal system from those who know best about it,” explains Judge Mike Chmiel, who chairs the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Law Related Education for the Public. “Our goal is to increase the knowledge of individuals on the mechanisms that are basic to our system,” wrote Felice in the Illinois Bar Journal in July 2014.

The IJA program is being expanded to join a volunteer judge with a volunteer lawyer, who will each be trained to make presentations to high school students throughout Illinois. The first joint training for judges and lawyers will occur on October 24, 2014, at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago.

Training is being required for the presenters, and will be provided by Judges Clare McWilliams, Eileen O'Neill Burke, and Chmiel. For more information about the program, or to reserve a spot at the training, please email khosty@ija.org or kfurr@isba.org.

Illinois judges running for election and retention, as well as candidates for Illinois judicial offices who won in the March 18 primary election, have been rated by Illinois State Bar Association evaluations committees, or in a poll of lawyers conducted by the ISBA. Results are available at www.isba.org/judicialevaluations.


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 September 2014, ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:

Here are the results for September 2014:

  • 843 phone referrals made by Lawyer Finder staff
  • Most requested areas of law: Family (212), Personal Injury (141), Civil Disputes (75), Criminal Law (70), Real Estate (60), Civil Rights (44) and Employment Law (33).
  • 21,827 visits to IllinoisLawyerFinder.com (19,602 unique visitors)

Want to be part of the ISBA Lawyer Finder Service? Call (800) 252-8908 and ask for the Legal Department, or visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com

Clients should call (800) 922-8757.

By Michael T. O'Connor

Robert Muir of Peoria was the 2014 recipient of the John C. McAndrews Award.  He exemplifies what this award stands for, and at 80 years of age, Attorney Muir will celebrate 50 years of practice this coming November. 

After retirement from Caterpillar Inc. in 2004, where he was the head of the Intellectual Property Department, managing 50 people and a budget of more than $16 million, he took it upon himself to establish expertise in family law so as to provide pro bono assistance in a subject area of high need.  Since 2004, Attorney Muir has served 128 clients and has given 2,093 hours of his time.  Attorney Robert Muir began his long volunteer career with Prairie State Legal Services in October of 1999, the first time he volunteered at one of our divorce clinic.  It was the beginning of a long and rewarding partnership.  He was well aware that family law is the single biggest need for Prairie State’s clients, and that Prairie State’s scarce resources prevent us from assisting with all but the most egregious cases involving domestic violence. 

In 2013, Attorney Muir closed 11 cases for a total of 416 hours.  As a result, he obtained $22,764 in annualized child support, future pension payments, and college expenses for clients.  He has six cases pending and is in the process of taking on new cases. 

The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF), the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, will administer the statewide expansion of Illinois JusticeCorps to recruit, train and supervise college, university and law students to serve as guides in courthouses.

Launched as a pilot project in Chicago in 2009, the program was expanded in 2012 with AmeriCorps funding from the Serve Illinois Commission, and additional funding and significant in-kind support from The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) and the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice. The program currently provides assistance at the Daley Center in Chicago and courthouses in Markham and Bloomington. The IBF will administer the expansion into seven additional courthouses around the state including those in Rockford, Waukegan, Kankakee, Champaign, Galesburg, Macomb and Edwardsville. The CBF will continue to partner with the IBF for the Cook County portion of the program.

“Volunteers are trained to provide navigational assistance to unrepresented litigants in overburdened courts, often helping them find existing legal self-help centers so they are able to obtain the help they need,” said David M. Anderson, IBF executive director. “Their work does not replace the work of courts, attorneys, clerks or help-desk staff but complements it by helping self-represented litigants find available resources quickly so people can be served more promptly.”

Volunteers make a 300-hour commitment and come from local schools and universities including DePaul University, Loyola University, Governors State University, Roosevelt University, Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, The John Marshall Law School and the University of Illinois at Champaign.

The Illinois State Bar Association's Task Force on the Impact of Law School Curriculum and Debt on the Future of the Profession will hold seven open hearings throughout the state. The Task Force was established by President Richard D. Felice and is chaired by Hon. Ann Jorgensen, Justice of the Second District Appellate Court. ISBA members are encouraged to attend these hearings to discuss the core skill sets that new lawyers should have and how law schools can graduate more “practice ready” lawyers.

Those who provide comments should focus on:

The Illinois State Bar Association will hold its annual election in March 2015. Campaign season began Oct. 1 for open ISBA seats including the office of 3rd Vice President, 6 seats on the Board of Governors and 23 Cook County seats on the Assembly.

The notice of election is now available.

Find out more at http://www.isba.org/elections