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ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Condominium Property Act (House Bill 2644), Decriminalization of cannabis (House Bill 218), Common-Interest Community Association Act (Senate Bill 1344), Personal Information Protection Act (Senate Bill 1833), Binding arbitration (Senate Bill 1229) and Juveniles in care of State (House Bill 3507). More information on each bill is available below the video.

Condominium Property Act. House Bill 2644 (Cassidy, D-Chicago; Steans, D-Chicago) deletes a provision in current law that allows unit owners to enforce a provision in a declaration that would otherwise be void and ineffective if at least 75% of the owners approve at a any time after the election of the first unit-owner board of managers. Governor Rauner vetoed this because he believes that this is an unnecessary restriction on the rights of condominium owners with respect to their property.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. We are a six partner litigation firm in Des Moines, Iowa. This year we hired two associates and they are our first. We have not provided them with the best mentoring or guidance - it has sort of baptism by fire. I would appreciate your thoughts on what we should be doing concerning performance management.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers New criminal law procedures (Public Act 99-413), Open Meetings Act (Public Act 99-402), Real estate claims in Cook County (Public Act 99-439), Ordinances affecting calls to police (Public Act 99-441) and Summary suspensions (Public Act 99-467). More information on each bill is available below the video.


New criminal law procedures. Public Act 99-413 (Lang, D-Skokie;  John Cullerton, D-Chicago) implements the crime victim constitutional amendment adopted in the 2014 general election. Reorganizes and modifies the rights of crime victims and establishes additional procedures for enforcing victims’ rights. Provides that the Act does not grant any person a cause of action in equity or law for compensation for damages or attorney's fees, nor does it create a ground for relief requested by the defendant in a criminal case. Provides that presentence reports shall be open for inspection to the victim of a crime as set forth in the Act.

Effective August 20, 2015.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride is seeking public comment on six attorneys who have applied to fill two vacancies in the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

The vacancies were created by the announced retirements of Circuit Judge Steven R. Bordner and Chief Judge James B. Stewart. Judge Bordner's retirement took effect August 20, 2015 and Chief Judge Stewart's retirement will take effect October 1, 2015

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Patricia S. Spratt as Circuit Judge of Cook County, 7th Subcircuit. This vacancy was created by the reitrement of the Hon. Anita Rivkin-Carothers. It is effective Sept. 8, 2015 and terminates on Dec. 5, 2016.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of a seven attorney litigation boutique firm in New York City. I am the only equity owner and the other six attorneys are associates. Currently all of the associates are paid a straight salary with raises given every year. I am considering freezing their salaries at current levels and putting in place an incentive bonus for individual revenue generation above a certain number. I am concerned that this approach might create an eat-what-you-kill mentality and destroy teamwork in the firm. Do you have any thoughts?

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced Tuesday that the Third Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Jennifer L. Hightower and Sarah D. Smith as associate judges of the Third Judicial Circuit.

Ms. Hightower received her undergraduate degree in 2005 from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Columbia, MO and her Juris Doctor in 2009 from Thomas Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI. Ms. Hightower is currently affiliated with Simmons Hanly Conroy, LLC in Alton; Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey and the Madison County State's Attorney's Office in Edwardsville.

Ms. Smith received her undergraduate degree in 1998 from Millikin University in Decatur, her Master's Degree from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA and her Juris Doctor in 2002 from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. Ms. Smith is currently affiliated with the Madison County State's Attorney's Office in Edwardsville.

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced Thursday that the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Ronald A. Barch as an associate judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Barch received his undergraduate degree in 1986 from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, and his Juris Doctor in 1992 from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Barch is currently affiliated with Cicero, France, Barch & Alexander PC in Rockford, IL.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Condominium Property Act (House Bill 2644), Decriminalization of cannabis (House Bill 218) and Body cameras (Public Act 99-352). More information on each bill is available below the video.

Condominium Property Act. House Bill 2644 (Cassidy, D-Chicago; Steans, D-Chicago) deletes a provision in current law that allows unit owners to enforce a provision in a declaration that would otherwise be void and ineffective if at least 75% of the owners approve at a any time after the election of the first unit-owner board of managers. Governor Rauner vetoed this because he believes that this is an unnecessary restriction on the rights of condominium owners with respect to their property.

Decriminalization of cannabis. House Bill 218 (Cassidy, D-Chicago; Noland, D-Elgin) imposes a minimum fine of $55 and a maximum fine of $125 for possession of 15 grams or less of cannabis. (2) Establishes a per se standard for Cannabis-DUI of 15 nano/milliliter of blood or 25 nano/milliliter of saliva in system instead of a trace of cannabis. (3) Allows for alternative ways to test for cannabis DUI using “any bodily substance” (including saliva) for testing. This is an expansion from current law of breath, blood, and urine. (4) Keeps ordinance and civil violation dispositions of minors confidential to reflect the intent of the Juvenile Court Act and limit collateral damage to minors.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a new partner in our law firm of six attorneys. I was an associate for seven years and was just made an equity partner and just received a copy of this month's income statement. The income statement shows the firm operating at a loss. I was startled and took a look at past years' statements as well. All are showing a small loss. Am I looking at these correctly? How can a firm operate at a loss for seven years in a row and still be in business. I would appreciate your comments.

A. My guess is that the firm is running all or a portion of equity partner compensation though as expense on the income statement. Other personal items may also be run through the firm as well. Check with the firm's bookkeeper or outside accountant to see if this is the case. If this is the case add the total paid to equity partners back to the net income or loss on the income statement. This will give a better picture of the actual "pie".

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