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

Practice News

Jeff Salling, e-discovery counsel and director of business development at Complete Discovery Source, discusses how the ISBA Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program helped bridge the gap between law school and the practice of law. 


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a newly-elected managing partner of a 14-lawyer firm in San Diego. Although I was elected to this position, I feel disadvantaged because I don’t have a financial background. What metrics/measurements should I be looking at?

In the August Illinois Bar Journal, ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington summarizes legislation of particular interest to lawyers. In the weeks since the article first appeared, most of the bills described there have been acted on by Governor Rauner. Which did he sign? Which did he veto? Read the updated version, which includes links to the public acts and veto statements.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a non-equity partner in a four-attorney personal injury plaintiff law firm in Newport Beach, California consisting of the firm owner, two associates, and myself. The owner is planning on retiring and has provided me with a proposal to sell me his practice. How do I determine whether this is an opportunity or a potential curse? Your advice would be appreciated.

Justin C. Strane, partner at Ansari & Shapiro, LLC, provides three tips for handling residential real estate contracts and representing home purchasers.


When the Trump Administration published its executive orders regarding immigrants and refugees in January, attorneys became first responders, fanning out to the nation's airports to triage the legal needs of those ensnared in the travel ban. Shortly thereafter, the American Bar Association set up the website www.immigrationjustice.us to help coordinate pro bono service offers from the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Enterprising attorneys built www.airportlawyer.org, a site that tracks and registers immigrants' travel information and connects them with volunteer attorneys at their local airport if need be.

"These types of efforts are great examples of what lawyers can do with technology," said Chase Hertel, director of business development & partnerships at Chicago-based Road to Status (www.roadtostatus.com), a website that provides document-assembly-style federal forms and attorney referrals for immigrants. "Technology can be used to triage the legal needs of clients, connect with clients where they are - at the airport, or on the internet - deliver services in unique ways, and, most importantly, bridge the legal services gap."


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a 12-attorney firm in Houston. The firm has five partners and seven associates. We are a first-generation firm and we, the partners, have never practiced in other law firms. Currently, the partners have equal ownership interests and are compensated equally. We are experiencing issues with the present method of partner compensation and we are giving some thought to considering other approaches. One of the issues that we are trying to wrap our heads around is how to measure each partner's performance, value, and overall contribution to the firm. Do you have any suggestions? 

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.