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Practice News

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the Director of Administrator in a 45 attorney law firm in Miami. Twenty of these attorneys are partners and 10 of the partners are in their late fifties and mid to late sixties. While we have a semi-retirement program in place it is not mandatory and many of our senior attorneys are unwilling to address issues pertaining to succession and transition of their practices. Do you have any thoughts or ideas you can share regarding creating incentives for senior attorneys to address and deal with the issue of retirement?

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed the Hon. Bradley J. Waller, currently Associate Judge of the 23rd Judicial Circuit, to Resident Circuit Judge of of the 23rd Judicial Circuit, DeKalb County. This appointment is effective July 28, 2014 and terminates on Dec. 5, 2016.

Q. I just sold my private practice, but now a friend wants me to serve on the staff of a legal aid clinic actively representing clients in our area. Can I?

Asked and Answered

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

Q. We are a three attorney personal injury plaintiff firm located in Los Angeles. We started the firm 15 years ago. Two of the three attorneys are equity owners. Our firm is a high volume/low case value practice - we currently have 500 open cases. A high percentage of our cases are settled without a law suit ever being filed. We are an advertising driven practice. While over the years we have effectively used a variety of advertising vehicles, we have never ventured into TV advertising. We are considering venturing into TV and would appreciate your thoughts regarding TV advertising.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman announced Monday the appointment of longtime Associate Judge Timothy J. Steadman to Resident Circuit Judge of Macon County in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. In this episode he covers the rewrite of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (House Bill 1452). More information on the bill is available below the video.

House Bill 1452, rewrite of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. (

Modification.  The general rule is that a motion to modify an order allocating parental responsibilities may not be made within two years of the order’s entry. There are three exceptions to this general rule.

(1) A court is required to modify a parenting plan or allocation judgment if necessary to serve the child’s best interests if the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence that:

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis announced on Thursday an application process for vacancies in the Fourth and Seventh Judicial Subcircuits of Cook County.

The Fourth Judicial Subcircuit vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge William J. Kunkle on July 2. Judge Kunkle had been a Circuit judge in Cook County since 2004.

The Seventh Judicial Subcircuit vacancy was created by the death of Judge Anthony L. Burrell on May 14. Judge Burrell had been a Circuit judge in Cook County since 2002.

In some high profile cases nationwide, jurors have used social media while they're impaneled and been punished by the court. In other cases, judges have resorted to draconian measures to prevent the practice from happening in the first place.

But a recent study by two Chicago judges and an associate at a large Chicago law firm suggests that such punitive measures are unnecessary. Of the nearly 600 jurors they surveyed, most said they were not tempted to use social media. And those few who were tempted said they understood and respected the judge's instructions not to communicate about the case by any means.

The study, spearheaded by U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve, who sits in the Northern District of Illinois, was conducted over three years by surveying jurors who heard civil and criminal cases in St. Eve's courtroom and those who heard criminal cases in the Chicago criminal courthouse before Cook County Circuit Judge Charles P. Burns, another study co-author. Michael A. Zuckerman, formerly a clerk for St. Eve and now an associate at Jones Day in Chicago, also participated in drafting the study's findings. Find out more in the July Illinois Bar Journal.

Q. Do my duties of confidentiality to former clients continue even after I leave my firm?

A. Comment 7 to IRPC 1.9 states that a lawyer changing professional association has a continuing duty to preserve confidentiality of information about a client formerly represented. However, this duty may not preclude a lawyer from using generally known information about that client. (IRPC 1.9, comment [8]). Comment [9] to the rule also allows for the provisions of 1.9 to be waived if the client gives informed consent. For a full understanding, please see IRPC 1.9.

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.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the sole owner of a four attorney general practice firm in Rockford, Illinois. I am 58 and realize that in the next few years I will need to begin implementing a succession and exit strategy by probably bringing in a partner. Two of the associates have no interest in partnership. However, the newest associate hired, who had his own practice for several years, does have such an interest. He is off to a good start as far as his production. However, I believe that he must be able to originate and bring in client business as well. So far his energy and focus has been totally on performing legal work. I want to get him started on the right track in order that I can make him a partner in a few years. Please provide any thoughts that you may have.