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Practice News

For about a dozen years after Kerry Lavelle founded his namesake law firm a quarter-century ago, he was based in the loop and took what cases he could find, enjoying steady success that enabled him to grow the firm to five lawyers, which he took pride in at the time.

About 13 years ago, he moved the firm to northwest suburban Palatine and undertook a change in direction aside from geography. "I took a very different approach: I built a business plan, and with the right discipline, we really grew the firm, and we now have 24 attorneys," says Lavelle, who will speak in Moline March 31 at the ISBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute on "Build It and the Profit Will Come: Simple Steps to Building Your Business Plan."

Lavelle didn't just throw himself into this exercise blindly. "I read a lot of business books, and I realized there's more to a business plan than just the pro forma financials," he says. "A business plan is a model to really touch on all the necessary elements of the business going forward. And if you stick to those goals and those truisms, you will be successful."

A business plan can help lawyers flesh out their ideas, and in some ways the journey is more enlightening than the destination, says Debbie Foster, partner at Affinity Consulting Group, who helps law firm clients put business plans together.

Asked and Answered

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

Q.  We have a 16-attorney business law firm in Cleveland, Ohio – six equity partners and 10 associates. The equity partners have been discussing putting in place an associate attorney career advancement program and outlining equity partner admission requirements. Can you share your thoughts on what we should be considering and how we should get started?

David Kupiec of Kupiec & Martin LLC discusses Illinois state and local tax issues.

Leading appellate attorneys review the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down Friday, February 17. The cases are Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative HearingsWardwell v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.Grimm v. Calica, and, from the criminal docket, People v. Fort, People v. Ayres, and People v. Shinaul.

CIVIL

Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative Hearings

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City of Chicago Dept. of Administrative Hearings, a limited scope Armageddon was expected to occur concerning a claim of unauthorized practice of law, but by a vote of 4 to 3 that battle was called off.  Stone Street Partners, LLC brought this action in the circuit court to obtain administrative review and other relief after discovering that a judgment had been recorded against one of its properties for failure to pay $1,050 in fines and costs imposed by Chicago’s department of administrative hearings for alleged violations of the city’s building code, such as installation of carbon monoxide detectors, removal of garbage and debris, and the installation of lighting and exit signage.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers a bill about judicial complaints, the Probate Act, the Insurance Code and arbitration, changing names under the IMDMA, guardians, the Jury Act, and criminal law and defense.

More information on each bill is available below the video.

Asked and Answered

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

Q.  We have a 12-attorney business litigation firm in Sacramento, California. I am one of three members on our technology committee. Our IT infrastructure consists of an in-house Microsoft file server, a separate Microsoft Exchange e-mail server, and document management and time, billing, and accounting software. Our documents are stored locally and managed by the locally installed document management software. Several of our partners have talked with other firms that are operating totally in the cloud. We would appreciate whether moving to the cloud is something that we should consider?

Springfield lawyer Barry Hines discusses the law governing boundary disputes in Illinois.

The ABA Futures Initiative and the association's Center for Innovation have created ImmigrationJustice.us, a portal for attorneys and others responding to President Trump's executive order on immigration (now stayed by a restraining order). People interested in volunteering legal or language expertise can sign up there to work on behalf of affected immigrants. Attorneys and others can also find information on the travel ban and other immigration-related issues, such as habeas corpus and detention. Find our more from the ABA Journal.

Another new website, Airport Lawyer, connects travelers affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban with free lawyers who can help them. The ABA Journal has more.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers administrative review, the Open Meetings Act, the Veterans and Servicemembers Court Treatment Act, collections, the Rent Control Preemption Act, the Guardians for Adults with Disabilities Article of the Probate Act of 1975, and the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act.

More information on each bill is available below the video.

LAND OF LINCOLN LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOUNDATION, INC.

NOTICE OF JOB OPPORTUNITY

POSITION: STAFF ATTORNEY at the Northern Regional Office of Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Representation of low-income persons in routine and complex family law litigation, particularly for victims of domestic violence, represent homeowners who need legal assistance to avoid foreclosure.

QUALIFICATIONS: Admission to the Illinois Bar and demonstrated commitment to the representation of low-income individuals. Prior legal services or clinical work experience strongly preferred.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation is a non-profit organization which provides free legal services to low-income individuals in central and southern Illinois.  The program has a strong history of high quality and innovative advocacy for its clients. The Northern Regional office is located in Springfield, Illinois.

SALARY: $45,000+ with license (depending on experience).  Excellent fringe benefits.

APPLICATIONS: Send resume, letter and writing sample to:

Lauren J. Pashayan, Managing Attorney

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc.

3085 Stevenson Drive, Suite 202

Springfield, Illinois 62703

217-529-8400

lpashayan@lollaf.org

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER