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Practice News

Peter Rotskoff of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission shares tips on how to avoid fee disputes in criminal cases.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Thursday's top Illinois Supreme Court Criminal opinions in People v. Matthews and People ex rel. Alvarez v. Gaughan.

People v. Matthews

By Kerry J. Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

Following an unsuccessful direct appeal and post-conviction petition, Jerrell Matthews filed a petition for relief from judgment pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-1401, alleging that a State witness had committed perjury at his trial.  The circuit court dismissed the petition on the basis that it was untimely.

The proof of service that Matthews filed with the petition said that the petition was mailed to the State with “proper first-class postage”

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is a five attorney estate planning/administration practice located in Kansas City. Our estate planning work is handled on a flat fee basis for our clients. We collect one half of the fee upon acceptance of the signed engagement letter and the other half upon signing of the estate planning documents. This has worked well for us. However, we are not doing so well with our estate administration work. This work is time billed against a retainer. We do a good job collecting the initial retainer but then we fail to ask for replenishment retainers and when we bill for the remaining work we have collections problems. We have over six hundred and fifty thousand dollars in accounts receivable over 120 days old. We would appreciate your thoughts.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner with a fourteen attorney business litigation defense firm in Los Angeles. I am the member on our three member executive committee that is responsible for financial oversight. This year we put in place an 1800 annual (150 hours per month) billable hour expectation for associate attorneys. No one has ever reached 150 hours. Are our expectations unrealistic? What is our problem? I would appreciate your thoughts.

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced the certification of three new problem-solving courts in Kendall, Peoria and Tazewell counties. These problem-solving courts – the Kendall County Drug Court, the Peoria DUI Court and the Tazewell County Mental Health Court – are the first to go through the Supreme Court's application and certification process. The more than 100 problem-solving courts already in operation will also go through the process.

In November 2015, the Supreme Court adopted statewide Standards to bring uniformity, accountability and administrative oversight to problem-solving courts in Illinois.

Also known as specialty or therapeutic courts, problem-solving courts provide an alternative forum for certain individuals in the criminal justice system, such as those with mental illness or substance abuse disorders. Problem-solving courts utilize a collaborative, therapeutic approach with justice professionals partnering with community treatment providers to address an individual's underlying behavioral health issues.

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on November 18, 2016, during the November Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.


  • James Ryan Crowley, Northbrook

Mr. Crowley, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted in state court of possessing child pornography. He was suspended on an interim basis on July 6, 2016.


  • James Francis Bishop, Crystal Lake

Mr. Bishop, who was licensed in 1966, was suspended for thirty days. While representing the sellers in a commercial real estate transaction, he mismanaged $1,282.31 in funds that he had agreed to hold as an escrowee. The suspension is effective on December 9, 2016.


Metropolitan Airport Authority of Rock Island County Illinois, hereinafter referred to as the Authority, is located in Moline, Illinois. Its staff consists of approximately 80 regular full-time and part-time employees of the Authority and its wholly owned subsidiary, QCIA Airport Services, L.L.C.  Additional seasonal workers are employed during the summer and winter months. There is one bargaining unit representing public safety and non-public safety employees. Further information about the Authority’s government can be found at

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to obtain proposals from qualified law firms to provide employment and labor relations legal services for the Authority. The firm must have substantial experience in the area of employment law, including labor contract negotiation experience with public sector entities in Illinois.

Chief Circuit Judge Kathryn E. Creswell is pleased to announce that following a tabulation of ballots by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts in Springfield, the Circuit Judges of the Eighteenth Judicial Court, DuPage County, Illinois have appointed Joshua J. Dieden to the position of Associate Judge.

Mr. Dieden fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Judge Mary E. O’Connor.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the partner recently put in charge of marketing in our eight lawyer general practice firm. For years we have simply relied on referrals from past clients, lawyers, and other referral sources as our sole means of client development. A few years ago we invested in a website. We are now considering whether we should invest in social media. I welcome your thoughts.

Ethics education counsel at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Mary Andreoni discusses what attorneys need to know about succession planning.