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Practice News

The Village of Chatham, Illinois, is seeking outside counsel to serve as its Village Attorney. Interested attorneys/law firms should submit a letter of interest, resume(s) and firm brochure outlining the candidates municipal law experience and retainer/fee  proposal. Please send 10 copies of requested documents. Responses should be sent to Jill Butler at the Village of Chatham, 116 Mulberry, Chatham, IL 62629. The submission deadline is May 12, 2015.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Leetaru v. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and Illinois State Treasurer v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and the criminal case People v. Barner

CIVIL

Leetaru v. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

By Alyssa M. Reiter, Williams, Montgomery & John Ltd.

Issues of sovereign immunity divided the Court in this suit by a doctoral student against the University of Illinois and one of its associate vice chancellors (Guenther). Leetaru filed a circuit court action to enjoin further action in connection with an investigation defendants were pursuing against him regarding allegations that he engaged in academic misconduct. Leetaru contended that defendants violated University rules and regulations in conducting the investigation, exceeded their authority, and deprived him of due process.

The circuit court dismissed the action, finding that the Court of Claims had exclusive jurisdiction. After the appellate court affirmed, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a 14 attorney firm in San Francisco and I serve on our associate compensation committee. Presently, associate compensation is based on a salary and discretionary bonus. I would like to see a stronger tie to performance. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for a Circuit Court vacancy in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

The vacancy is created by the retirement of Judge Scott H. Walden on June 30, 2015. Judge Walden has been a Resident Circuit Judge in the Eight Circuit since 1996.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Real estate claims in Cook County (Senate Bill 1487), Medical records’ fees (House Bill 3845), Foreign Language Court Interpreter Act (House Bill 3620) and Drug Court Treatment Act (Senate Bill 727) and (Senate Bill 844). More information on each bill is available below the video.

Real estate claims in Cook County. Senate Bill 1487 (Cunningham, D-Chicago) authorizes the Cook County Recorder of Deeds to establish a three-year pilot program that permits documents to be recorded against a property in foreclosure by judicial order only. It requires a judge to issue an order barring any “nonrecord claimants” from recording an interest on the foreclosed property without approval of the court. The order shall expire on the date the court confirms the judicial sale of the property under the judgment of foreclosure.

If a court order has been recorded under this section, a non-record claimant may not record a document regarding the foreclosed property the subject of the foreclosure action without a certified court order. A unit of local government is not required to obtain a certified court order under this subsection to record a document that is subject of a foreclosure action. Nor does it apply to a bank or financial institution that recorded the lis pendens notice of foreclosure. On third reading in the Senate.

ISBA President Richard D. Felice issued a Letter to the Editor distributed throughout the state and a statement responding to Gov. Rauner's comments on Tuesday critical of the Illinois judiciary.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:  _________________

This week, Gov. Rauner pointedly and unfairly attacked the integrity of the Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois’ entire justice system. He labeled the system “corrupt” and said he did not “trust the Supreme Court to be rational” in its decisions.

As lawyers, we know Gov. Rauner’s attack is without foundation. We read the opinions authored by the Supreme and Appellate courts. We know they are decided without bias, based on the facts and evidence presented and the applicable law. We respect them as intelligent, well-reasoned decisions even when we don’t agree with them.

We also know the hard work judges do every day on behalf of those who seek access to justice. We see the difficult cases they decide. We know Illinois’ judicial system is not corrupt and that judicial decisions are rational.   

Q. I would like to join the Board of Governors for my local Bar Association. Are there any rules I should be aware of before joining?

Two tech-savvy ISBA members, one a litigator and the other a transactional lawyer, describe some of their favorite iPad apps in the April Illinois Bar Journal. One top pick is TranscriptPad.

True to its name, TranscriptPad is designed to enable a litigator like Naperville lawyer Bryan Sims -- or anyone else, for that matter -- to work with transcripts. "I love this app," Sims says. "I use it all the time."

Because many apps are free and few cost more than $10, "people are going to think it's outrageously expensive at $90," says Sims, a member of the ISBA's Committee on Legal Technology. "But for what it does, that's a great price."

It's perfect for reading, annotating, and coding transcripts, he says. "If you just want to read your transcript, it's got a little play button, and you can let your transcript scroll by if you like. You can speed it up or slow it down."

Asked and Answered

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

April 21, 2015 Google Update May Impact Your Google Ranking

Q. I am the managing partner with a 14 attorney firm in Cleveland. A friend of my just advised me that Google was coming out with a change to their search engine that might impact our website. Have you heard anything?

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman and the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday announced amendments to a rule that will help lawyers properly dispose of unidentified funds in their trust accounts and generate revenue to support legal aid in the process. The changes to Rule 1.15 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, which regulates the safe-keeping of client property, creates a mechanism for lawyers to remove unidentified fund balances from their Interest on Lawyers Trust (IOLTA) Accounts. The amended rule takes effect July 1, 2015. A copy of the changes can be found at http://www.state.il.us/court/SupremeCourt/Rules/Art_VIII/ArtVIII_NEW.htm#1.15.