Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership

Practice News

Juliet Boyd, of Boyd & Kummer, LLC, discusses a frequently asked criminal and traffic law question: How do you advise your client who was stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence? Watch the video below for eight helpful tips.

The Illinois Bar Journal recently covered what happens when attorneys baselessly accuse judges of improper conduct (http://bit.ly/2u4L5LU). But what about when a judge truly does something improper? Is there an obligation to report?

The simple answer is yes. An attorney's duty to report attorney misconduct under Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3 extends to judges as well (http://bit.ly/2u50X19). Rule 8.3(b) states, "A lawyer who knows that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority." Note, however, that Comment [3] to the Rule provides that a "measure of judgment" is required when a lawyer seeks to comply with the reporting requirement and that not all violations may trigger it.

Find out more in the August Illinois Bar Journal.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in an 18-attorney law firm in Jacksonville, Florida. Our business development committee requires all attorneys to submit annual personal business development plans. I have been thinking about writing a book. Is such a goal worth my time investment? I welcome your thoughts.

A. While writing a book is not terribly difficult, it takes time and commitment, and will consume some non-billable hours. However, as David Maister often states, “attorneys should consider their billable time as their current income and their non-billable time as their future.”  In other words, non-billable time is an investment in your long-term future. I believe that authoring a book is an excellent way of building your professional reputation and brand and it will pay dividends in the long-term. Authoring a book can create opportunities that could change your whole life.

When I wrote my book, I had 142 non-billable hours invested in the book and I had some content available from past articles that I had written over the years. Often a good starting point is to start writing articles around a particular topic/theme and later tie them together in a book. This is a good way of taking “baby steps.”

During the writing process, authoring a book may seem like anything but freedom. However, it is a trade-off. Work for the book now and it will work for you later.


We recently launched our new member benefit, Practice HQ. Organized by the lifecycle of a law practice, this one-stop microsite houses together high-quality practice information in one place.

Once you've opened your firm, developed a marketing and retention strategy to build your client base, learned the ins and outs of managing and protecting, the final stage of your firm's lifecycle is to ethically wind down. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to succession planning because practices close for many different reasons; sometimes it is planned while other times the circumstances are outside of our control. As a result, the Practice HQ resources geared toward winding down your practice are valuable to members at all stages of their career, whether you're nearing retirement or simply want to prepare for the future. After all, the planning for eventual succession takes place long before any transactions.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I serve on the management committee of our 16-lawyer firm in Columbus, Ohio. We do not currently have a strategic plan and have been discussing whether we should spend the time developing one. However, we are not sure what a strategic plan would do for us or why it is worth the investment. We appreciate any thoughts that you might have.

A. One of the major problems facing law firms is focus. Research indicates that three of the biggest challenges facing professionals today are: time pressures, financial pressures, and the struggle to maintain a healthy balance between work and home. Billable time, non-billable time or the firm’s investment time, and personal time must be well managed, targeted, and focused. Your time must be managed as well.

Today well-focused specialists are winning the marketplace wars. Trying to be all things to all people is not a good strategy. Such full-service strategies only lead to lack of identity and reputation. For most small firms, it is not feasible to specialize in more than two or three core practice areas.

Based upon our experience from client engagements, we have concluded that lack of focus and accountability is one of the major problems facing law firms. Often the problem is too many ideas, alternatives, and options. The result often is no action at all or actions that fail to distinguish firms from their competitors and provide them with a sustained competitive advantage. Ideas, recommendations, suggestions, etc. are of no value unless implemented.


Kerry Bryson reviews People v. Holmes, handed down Thursday, August 3. 

Round v. Lamb

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Petitioner Danny Round brought a complaint for habeas corpus, or, in the alternative, for an order of mandamus. Round’s present incarceration is the result of his serving his mandatory supervised release (MSR) term in custody because an acceptable electronic monitoring host site could not be identified. In the instant proceeding, Round sought immediate release, arguing that the sentencing order in his case did not include the 4-year MSR term on which he is presently being held; that even if that 4-year MSR term applies, it started to run when he completed his term of imprisonment on the count with which it is associated and not when he completed a longer, concurrent term of imprisonment; and that his sentence should have been amended to be no more than seven years total. because that was the maximum term he expected at the time of his plea.

It would be difficult to provide a more clear and succinct summary of the court’s analysis of each of Round’s contentions than that provided by Justice Garman, writing for the Court, at the conclusion of the opinion (¶¶ 28-30):


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of a five-attorney estate planning practice in Denver. I have four associate attorneys. Three have been with the firm for over 12 years. Last year, an associate that had been with me for many years left the firm and started his own practice. I thought I was paying him well by virtue of a competitive salary and a discretionary bonus in addition to other benefits. I do not want to lose other seasoned attorneys. What should I do to provide more incentives for associates to stay with the firm?

A. Experience and research by our firm and others has demonstrated that the following, in priority order, are the key drivers of associate attorney job satisfaction:

  1. Satisfaction with immediate manager or supervisor
  2. Opportunities for training
  3. Satisfaction with team and coworkers
  4. Opportunities for career growth
  5. Compensation
  6. Opportunities for promotion

While compensation often is considered the primary factor related to associate satisfaction, I often find that opportunities for career growth and promotion play a significant role. Associates do take pay cuts for career growth and promotion opportunities in other firms — or, in some cases, starting their own firm.

A recent court order (http://bit.ly/2rkz8A6), which amends the court's January 22, 2016 mandatory e-filing order, requires circuits with existing e-filing programs to switch to the statewide eFileIL system by July 1, 2018. The original order had not set a specific date, but said that one would be announced in the future.

Another change wrought by the amendment is that all courts must make their case documents and information available to a new statewide remote access system known as re:SearchIL. However, this does not mean that attorneys and the public will have immediate access to the new system. The high court has stated that implementation and access will progress at a pace that it sets.

Initial access will only be provided to judges, clerks, and court officials. The amended order says that attorneys and the public will ultimately gain access -- re:SearchIL "is designed to serve as an online remote access system similar to Pacer in the federal courts."

Before that can happen, "a remote access policy needs to be fully vetted and approved by the supreme court," Madison County Chief Circuit Judge David Hylla says. The high court's e-Business Policy Advisory Board, of which Hylla is chair, is working to recommend a policy, he says. He expects that re:SearchIL will be "available to the bar and the public soon after all or nearly all courts are integrated with the central [Electronic Filing Manager.]"

There will be a predetermined document access fee (much like Pacer). The amended order says that the fee will be paid in full to the circuit court owning the case documents-so long as the court has migrated to eFileIL.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a solo practitioner in upstate New York. I am 66-years-old, looking to retire, and trying to figure out what to do with my practice. My practice is a general practice and there is just me and one secretary. I welcome your suggestions.


Kerry Bryson reviews People v. Holmes, handed down Thursday, July 20.

People v. Holmes

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Prior to the Illinois Supreme Court’s issuing its decision in Aguilar, David Holmes was arrested at a Chicago beach when officers observed a revolver sticking out of his waistband. After his arrest, the police learned that he did not have a FOID card. He was charged with two counts of AUUW for carrying an uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible firearm and two counts of AUUW for carrying a firearm without a valid FOID card.

Those first two counts were nolle prossed by the state after Aguilar was decided. Prosecution of the no-FOID counts continued.

Holmes filed a motion to suppress arguing that the police lacked probable cause to believe he was committing a crime because the AUUW statute upon which his arrest was based was later held unconstitutional and thus was void ab initio (or, as if it had never existed). Holmes further argued that the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule did not apply where the police were enforcing an unconstitutional statute. The trial court allowed the motion to suppress, noting that it was “unfortunate” because the officer’s actions were not improper at the time. The appellate court affirmed, concluding that the void ab initio doctrine precluded application of the good faith exception.