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Practice News

A press release from the Illinois Supreme Court highlights some of the most important changes wrought by the new Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. For example, the new rules "clarif[y] the earlier law and eliminate certain restrictions on the reasons for sale" of a law practice, "prohibit a lawyer from having sexual relations with a client unless a prior sexual relationship existed," and "[f]or the first time ... explicitly govern electronic [lawyer advertising] communications such as e-mail and websites." Here are the full highlights from the Illinois Supreme Court: 1. New Rules The Supreme Court of Illinois has adopted a number of ethics rules that have not appeared in any previously enacted conduct code. The new rules include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • a) New Rule 1.18. Describes important duties that lawyers owe to a prospective client arising from preliminary discussions before the creation of a formal lawyer-client relationship;
  • b) New Rule 2.4. Defines the duties of a lawyer who serves as a third-party neutral, such as a mediator or arbitrator;
  • c) New Rule 3.9. Articulates the duties of an advocate in a nonadjudicative proceeding, such as before a legislative body or an administrative agency;
  • d) New Rule 4.4(b). Addresses how a lawyer should respond when the lawyer receives a document that was inadvertently submitted to the lawyer;
2. Comments to the New Rules The new ethics rules contain comments that attempt to explain the rules, refer to court decisions relating to the rules and assist the lawyer in complying with the rules. The rules are authoritative; the comments serve as a guide.
Big, big news: the Illinois Supreme Court just announced new Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct that take effect next January. This is huge, and we'll have analysis for you as soon as we can pull it together, and for weeks -- and months and probably years -- to come.
Good question, according to the New York Times. "[M]any legal experts said that instead of setting forth clear new rules, the court’s decision left things as muddled as ever for the nation’s employers," Steven Greenhouse reports. Speaking of the Grey Lady, Times national legal correspondent Adam Liptak reviews the 2008 Supreme Court term on today's edition of NPR's Fresh Air. If you miss today's broadcast you can listen to the archived version in a day or two.

IBF Grants Committee Member Ann Hatch of Belleville presents a $15,000 grant to Kathleen O’Keefe, attorney for the Neighborhood Law Office.
IBF Grants Committee Member Ann Hatch of Belleville presents a $15,000 grant to Kathleen O’Keefe, attorney for the Neighborhood Law Office.
The Illinois Bar Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce a $15,000 grant to Catholic Urban Program's Neighborhood Law Office in East St. Louis, one of 32 grants awarded this year totaling $304,995. The Neighborhood Law Office works with residents of East St. Louis to create healthy, safe and strong neighborhoods to stabilize and revitalize a decaying city. NLO brings about demolition of unsafe, abandoned structures, pressures local government for prompt and universal property code enforcement, and saves homes from foreclosure under predatory bond-for-deed home loan practices. Since 1996, NLO has helped bring about the demolition of more than 1600 dangerous, vacant buildings and removal of illegally dumped trash from over 280 lots. As the charitable affiliate of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Foundation's mission is to ensure meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who can no longer support themselves due to incapacity. This past year, through the support of ISBA members, IBF distributed more than $425,000 to support these efforts.
Chief Judge Stephen J. Culliton announced June 25 that applications for the Office of Associate Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit of Illinois, DuPage County, have been received from the following people:
  • Terrence J. Benshoof, Glen Ellyn
  • Alan J. Brinkmeier, Elmhurst
  • Brenda M. Carroll, Winfield
  • Anthony V. Coco, Glen Ellyn
  • Kimberly A. Davis, Winfield
  • Robert E. Douglas, Carol Stream
  • Scott M. Hardek, Elmhurst
  • Michael R. Konewko, Winfield
  • Jeffrey N. Kowalkowski, Glen Ellyn
  • Paul A. Marchese, Wheaton
  • Frank J. Markov, Jr., Lombard
  • Sean M. McCumber, Warrenville
  • Robert S. McDonough, Wheaton
  • Ronald D. Menna, Jr., Wheaton
  • Robert A. Miller, West Chicago
  • Michelle L. Moore, Glen Ellyn
  • Michael A. O'Brien, Wheaton
  • James D. Orel, Westmont
  • John J. Pcolinski, Jr., Naperville
  • David E. Schwartz, Glen Ellyn
  • Alfred A. Spitzzeri, Naperville
  • Linda L. Stinauer, Hinsdale
  • Neal F. Thompson, Naperville
The vacancy is the result of the retirement of Associate Judge Kenneth A. Abraham. As part of the review process conducted by the Circuit Judges, Chief Judge Culliton invites public comment by letter before July 6, 2009:

Chief Judge Stephen J. Culliton 18th Judicial Circuit Court 505 N. County Farm Road, Room 2015 Wheaton, IL 60187

In a recent post, Solo in Chicago blawgger Peter Olson interviews fellow Chicagoan Russell Knight about his decision to go solo and the particulars of his practice (how he sets fees, attracts clients, etc.).  A twist on Knight's practice: he's fluent in Spanish.
Jayne Reardon
Jayne Reardon
The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that Jayne Reardon has been appointed as executive director of the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, a body established to improve civility between and among lawyers, their clients and judges in Illinois. Ms. Reardon, a University of Michigan Law School graduate who is an experienced Illinois lawyer and licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, has served as deputy director of the commission since 2006. During that time, she has been a key formulator of policy approved by the Commission and a facilitator of quality continuing legal education in the area of professional responsibility. Supreme Court Justice Robert R. Thomas initiated the concept of the Commission to improve professionalism among lawyers and judges, and the full Supreme Court established the Commission in 2005. The Commission has achieved its goals with limited staff and budget. No taxpayers dollars are involved as the Commission is funded by a small portion of the annual registration and licensing fees paid by Illinois attorneys.
Central Illinois blawgger Jeremy J. Richey conducted a revealing interview with Brian Pedigo, a California lawyer who found himself on a jury and thus saw the sausage being made (indeed, helped make the sausage). Here's a representative quote: "Jurors have their minds made up before they enter the deliberation room, even though they’re not supposed to.  It takes a very persuasive juror to change the mind of another. Also, jurors use common sense almost to a fault.  Sometimes their common-sense opinions are not relevant or related to the actual law." Read the whole interview here. Richey hosts The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog.
A revised version of the following jury instruction was just posted to the Illinois Supreme Court Web site: "110.04 Liability of Owner or Keeper of a Dog or Other Animal--Statutory Strict Liability."