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Practice News

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. In this episode he covers Power of attorney for health care (Public Act 98-1113), Pregnancy and discrimination (Public Act 98-1050), Presumptively void transfers (Public Act 98-1093), Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (Public Act 98-1097), The Home Repair and Construction Task Force (Public Act 98-103), Condominium Property Act (Public Act 98-1068) and Bail bonds and electronic surveillance (Public Act 98-1012). More information on the bill is available below the video.

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 Felice and is chaired by Honorable 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:

Q.  Can I refer clients to another lawyer or nonlawyer in exchange for referrals from them?

A.  IRPC 7.2(b)(4) states that a “lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services except that a lawyer may (4) refer clients to another lawyer or nonlawyer professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under these Rules that provides for the other person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer if (i) the reciprocal referral agreement is not exclusive, and (ii) the client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement.”  Comment 8 to this rule goes on to state that such an arrangement must not interfere with the lawyer’s professional judgment.  For further discussion, see ISBA Advisory Opinion 12-03 as well as the full text to rule 7.2 

ISBA members can browse past ISBA Ethics Opinions, access our Ethics Hotline, and other resources on the ISBA Ethics Page.

[Disclaimer. These questions are representative of calls received on the ISBA’s ethics hotline. The information provided below is meant as an educational tool to highlight potentially applicable Illinois RPC or other ethics resources that might help the lawyer answer the question posed. The information provided isn’t legal advice. Because every situation is different, often complex, and the law is constantly evolving, you shouldn’t rely upon this general information without conducting your own research.]

The main courtroom of the Illinois Supreme Court. - Photo by Mark Skube
The main courtroom of the Illinois Supreme Court. - Photo by Mark Skube
The Illinois Supreme Court Building officially re-opened to the public Wednesday after a 13-month restoration. View our photo gallery of the restoration at iln.isba.org/gallery

The Court building has been closed since June 2013 when major work began on the historic building for the first time in nearly a century.

The building was constructed in 1906 and is eligible for inclusion on the National Historic Register. While the building was closed, the Supreme Court met during its regular terms in Chicago. It returns to begin its September 2014 term on Monday, Sept. 8.

The year-long project included restoration and preservation of the public spaces, courtrooms, library and support spaces. Offices, storage and work areas were updated for improved efficiencies in the digital and electronic age.

Major mechanical, heating, cooling, plumbing, and ventilation systems were replaced with installations to provide consistent humidification levels for the long-term maintenance of the historic ele-ments within the building. Technology enhancements included three new High Definition cameras permanently installed in the Supreme Court Courtroom and connected to a commercial grad production video switcher. The new video recording system will allow the Court's oral arguments and courtroom events to be recorded in a standard HD format and usable via download by the commer-cial media. As well as viewed by the public.

Chief Circuit Judge John T. Elsner is pleased to announce that two finalists have been selected and certified to the Illinois Supreme Court. The finalists are seeking to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Judge Thomas C. Dudgeon. From these names, the Circuit Judges will select one appointee by secret ballot.

  • Robert W. Rohm, J.D.-Drake University Law School, 1990; admitted to practice of law in Illinois, 1990. Mr. Rohm is currently a partner with the law firm of Taylor Miller (1999-present). He is an active member with the DuPage County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.
  • Ann Celine O'Hallaren Walsh, J.D.-Chicago Kent College of Law, 1998; admitted to the practice of law in Illinois, 1999. Ms. O'Hallaren Walsh is currenty the Supervisor of the Sex Crimes/Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Unit fo the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office (1999-present). Ms. O'Hallaren Walsh is an active member of the DuPage County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, DuPage Association of Women Lawyers and Illinois Prosecutors Association.

Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am the managing partner of a 16 attorney insurance defense firm in Chicago Southwest Suburbs. We have 4 partners and the balance of our attorneys are associates - many of which have been with us for several years. We are on a growth spree and need to hire more associates to handle client assignments. Associate hiring, mentoring, and training has always been a challenge for us and our clients are restricting us in the way we use associates on their files. I would appreciate your thoughts.

As a lawyer doing asbestos litigation for the Metro East firm Simmons Hanley Conroy, Karoline Carstens of Alton has honed her deposition-taking skills to a sharp edge. In the latest issue of ISBA's YLDNews, she shares some of her expertise with lawyers who have little or no experience deposing witnesses.

For example, she underscores the importance of knowing the applicable procedural rules."[I]f your case is filed in Illinois state court, read through the Illinois Rules of Civil Procedure, especially Rules 201-224 on discovery and depositions," she writes.

Also, Carstens advises, "[b]e aware that many courts have local rules and standing orders that address the deposition process. It is very important to know these rules. I often bring a copy of the standing order that governs many of my cases to depositions in the event a dispute arises."

And that dispute might oblige you to reach out to the judge, she writes. "Once in a great while, a disagreement may require the immediate intervention of the judge assigned to your case. It is beneficial to know whether your judge is agreeable to being called during a deposition. If so, keep the phone number handy just in case." Read her article for tips about handling objections, how and why to prepare thoroughly, and more.

Q. Can I compensate a fact witness for testifying in a civil trial?

A. Under Rule 3.4(b) a lawyer cannot “offer an inducement to a witness that is prohibited by law.” However, Comment [3] to that Rule makes it clear that it is not improper to pay a witness the reasonable expenses incurred in providing evidence, including reimbursement for the reasonable charges for travel, hotels, meals, child care, or the reasonable value of time spent attending a deposition or hearing or consulting with the lawyer.

ISBA members can browse past ISBA Ethics Opinions, access our Ethics Hotline, and other resources on the ISBA Ethics Page.

[DisclaimerThese questions are representative of calls received on the ISBA’s ethics hotline.  The information provided below is meant as an educational tool to highlight potentially applicable Illinois RPC or other ethics resources that might help the lawyer answer the question posed.  The information provided isn’t legal advice.  Because every situation is different, often complex, and the law is constantly evolving, you shouldn’t rely upon this general information without conducting your own research.]

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. In this episode he covers Maintenance in family law cases (Public Act 98-961), Condominium Property Act (Senate Bill 2664), Trusts and Trustees Act (Public Act 98- 946), UM/UIM insurance (Public Act 98-927) and Service of process (Public Act 98-966). More information on the bill is available below the video.

Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am the managing partner of a five attorney firm in Fort Worth, Texas. I am new to the managing partner role and am looking for a quick and dirty tool to examine our financial performance. Can you point me to a tool that I can use?