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

Southern Illinois

What Your Dues Dollars Bring You

Reminder: Dues payments are due by Monday, August 31.

If you have already paid your dues, THANK YOU!   If you have not yet paid, you can do so online or by phone (call Ann at 800-252-8908); Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express are all accepted.  Members can also pay through our flexible automatic dues installment program, Membership Made Easy, which allows payments to be broken up into easily affordable increments.

As our membership renewal campaign comes to a close, we'd like to remind you of all the exciting programs and services the ISBA provides its members.  By renewing your membership you can:

Practice more affordably. The ISBA provides members with free online legal research through Fastcase, which contains a comprehensive 50-state and federal caselaw database, including IL statutes and IL-based federal district court cases.

Receive a $100 premium credit on your next policy renewal with ISBA Mutual for every member of your firm who attends the ISBA's 5th Annual Solo and Small Firm Conference. Click here to register for the conference, Oct. 22-24, 2009. There is an early bird discount for those who register by August 28, 2009.

There are no separate forms to fill out or submit to obtain your premium credit. All you have to do is attend the conference and your premium credit will automatically be applied on your next renewal. We believe that the ISBA Solo and Small Firm Conference offers useful up to date practice information that may help those attending avoid malpractice pitfalls. The premium credit for the Solo and Small Firm Conference applies to the 2009 conference only and may not be applicable to conferences in future years. Please note that this is a premium credit on the renewal of your professional liability insurance policy with ISBA Mutual, not a discount on the registration fee.

You will be receiving the brochure to register for the 13th Annual Risk Management Conference in early September. As usual, you will also qualify for a $100 premium credit on your next renewal by attending this conference. Attend both the ISBA 5th Annual Solo and Small Firm Conference and the 13th Annual ISBA Mutual Risk Management Conference and you will receive $200 in premium credit on your next renewal.

The dates for the Risk Management Conference this year are:

  • October 6, Collinsville
  • October 7, Bloomington
  • October 8, Oak Brook
  • October 9, Chicago

The Illinois State Bar Association's Lawyer Finder Service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays.  The Service makes referrals in a number of areas of law.  For the month of July 2009, the ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:

  • Administrative Law       8
  • Animal Law                  3
  • Bankruptcy                   19
  • Business Law               7
  • Civil Disputes               89
  • Civil Rights                   22
  • Collection                      22
  • Consumer Protection     21
  • Contracts                      8
  • Criminal Law                74
  • Education Law              10
  • Elder law                      2
  • Employment Law          99
  • Estate/Probate Law       26
  • Family                          111
  • Government Benefits     4
  • Health Law                   2
  • Immigration                   2
  • Insurance Disputes        9
  • Intellectual Property      10
  • Miscellaneous               2
  • Municipal Law              4
  • Personal Injury              92
  • Real Estate                   67
  • Social Security              12
  • Tax                              7
  • Workers Compensation  6

These numbers do not include additional referrals made through the online Lawyer Finder service.

Want to be part of the ISBA Lawyer Finder Service?  Call (800) 525-8908 and ask for the Legal Department, or visit

Clients should call (800) 922.8757.

Public Act 96-583 was signed into law on Tuesday, August 18. It does four things affecting the award of attorney's fees in family law cases: (1) limits the presumption in favor of summary hearings to prejudgment cases, (2) tolls the deadline for filing a final petition for fees in some instances and permits a stipulated deferral of one year for such a filing, (3) eliminates the requirement that the attorney must file billing statements in court if he or she is seeking a consent judgment, (4) and expands the applicability for fee awards for hearings that are prompted by improper purposes. Effective January 1, 2010.

Naperville lawyer, ISBA member, tech expert, and Solo and Small Firm Conference presenter Bryan Sims (aka The Connected Lawyer) says there are four must-have tools for sole practitioners: a smart phone, a laptop, a scanner, and a good backup system.

“Unless you’re going to be tied to your office, you should have some sort of smart phone,” such as an iPhone, a BlackBerry, or a PalmPre, Sims told Helen Gunnarsson in an interview for the yet-to-be-released September Illinois Bar Journal. “You need something that will allow you to get your e-mail, look at documents, and otherwise get some work done when you’re out of the office.”

As for laptops, Simms recommends buying a business class model directly from the manufacturer instead of the cheapest thing available. “If you’re using your computer for your law practice, you can’t afford to have it out of operation for a week,” he says.

A scanner will help you create a paperless and a portable office. “I recommend that you keep all of your documents in .pdf format. If you want to keep the hard copy too, fine, but scan everything,” Sims says. Scanned documents are easy to manage and disseminate.

Finally, you need a good backup system.