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Practice News

The Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals and groups in civil cases, is seeking a staff attorney at the Central Regional Office in East St. Louis.

The position includes representing clients in the areas of foreclosure and landlord/tenant law, and giving presentations to members of client population about their rights.

To be considered for this position, you must be admitted to practice law in Illinois and demonstrate a commitment to the representation of low-income individuals. Prior legal services experience is preferred.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a 14-attorney firm in Denver. We have six equity partners and eight associate attorneys in the firm. Our practice is limited to health care law. We represent many local hospitals. Our associates range from those who have been with the firm less than one year to those who have been with the firm for over 15. None of our associates have developed business development skills and none of them have ever brought in a single client. Most would be unable to retain existing clients if the partners left the firm. This is in part our fault. When we hired them, we told them that we had plenty of client work and their mission was to bill hours and service our clients. However, as we the partners age and consider the future of the firm, we are beginning to realize that this was a mistake. How can we turn this around?

The preparation for "E-Day" - January 1, 2018, the first day civil circuit court cases across Illinois must be filed electronically - was arguably the most momentous development for the Illinois legal system in 2017, unless something bigger emerges in the final month.

But there were plenty of other significant stories, from the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case arising out of Illinois that could have a major impact on labor law, to an Illinois Supreme Court case on the ability to tax charitable hospitals, to county lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies related to opioid abuse.

For example, starting in 2018, Illinois attorneys and firms that do not carry malpractice insurance will be required to complete a four-hour, interactive, online assessments of their firms' ethics and business practices under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756(e), as amended in January 2017.

Also, the interdisciplinary model of conflict resolution known as collaborative law will be formally codified here through the Illinois Collaborative Process Act, which takes effect January 1. 

And the Illinois legislature took a step aimed at ensuring that the formula to determine child support payments is fair and equitable when it passed Public Act 99-764, an amendment to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

Find out more about these and other 2017 developments in the December Illinois Bar Journal.

The 18th Judicial Circuit Court is accepting applications to fill a vacancy for the Office of Associate Judge. This vacancy is a result of the appointment of Hon. Jeffrey S. MacKay to Circuit Judge effective Dec. 1.

Any attorney who is a U.S. citizen, licensed to practice law in Illinois, and a resident of the 18th Judicial Circuit may apply by electronically filing a signed application with the director of the administrative office of the Illinois Courts on the form prescribed and furnished by the director. The instructions for submitting an application electronically are available on the Illinois Supreme Court website.

Applicants who cannot submit an electronic application must submit two (2) signed originals of the prescribed application with the director of the administrative office of the Illinois Courts at the following address:

Marcia M. Meis, Director
Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts
3101 Old Jacksonville Road
Springfield, IL 62704

Applications will not be accepted if submitted by facsimile. 

All applications must be received by Dec. 22, 2017.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the sole owner of a six-attorney energy law practice in Houston. I have had my practice for twenty years and have enjoyed the independence of being the boss, but I am tired of being solely accountable for the success of the practice, having to do all the management, and having all the worry and stress. I believe I have reached the point where I am ready for a partner or partners and I believe that the practice can be positioned for growth if I bring in a lateral partner, make a couple of my associates partners, or merge with another firm. I welcome any suggestions that you may have.

The Hon. Jeffrey S. MacKay, associate judge of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, has been appointed circuit judge of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, at Large, by the Illinois Supreme Court. The appointment will be effective Dec. 1 following the retirement of Hon. Kathryn E. Creswell. 

Hon. MacKay is a graduate of Kent College of Law, Chicago, 1992, and was admitted to the practice of law in Illinois in 1993.  Judge MacKay is currently an associate judge in the Misdemeanor Division of the 18th Judicial Circuit, having been appointed to the bench in April of 2013. He was in private practice for 12 years with the law firm of Ekl, Williams and Provenzale (2001-2013), and also served as an assistant DuPage County state’s attorney (1993-2001).  Judge MacKay is an active member of the DuPage County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association. 

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Nov. 21, 2017. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Lance Haddix, Chicago

Mr. Haddix was licensed in Illinois in 1967 and in California in 1989. The Supreme Court of California disbarred him for violating multiple probation conditions after he had been suspended for one year in favor of a five-year period of probation, subject to a 30-day period of actual suspension, and other conditions. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Beth Courtney Otero, Chicago

Ms. Otero, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred. She misappropriated over $20,000 that she had been holding in escrow from two real estate transactions and engaged in a conflict of interest by representing opposing parties in a real estate transaction. Additionally, Ms. Otero fabricated court pleadings and engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after her name was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys.

  • Jeffrey Lee Schlapp, Chicago

Mr. Schalpp, who was licensed in 2006, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated more than $600,000 from at least nine different clients who had filed claims against nursing homes.

Jeff Salling of Complete Discovery Source discusses the basics of e-discovery.


Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a six-attorney estate planning firm in Dallas, Texas. For many years, our primary marketing activity has been seminars that we put on for clients, prospective clients, and referral sources. These seminars have been put on solely by our firm, or in partnership with other organizations such as nursing homes, hospitals, etc. These seminars have been free of charge. We provide a lot of value at these seminars and have been wondering whether we should charge a fee. We would appreciate your thoughts.

Three generations of Illinois lawyers at the 3rd District ceremony
Three generations of Illinois lawyers at the 3rd District ceremony
Last Thursday, Nov. 9, 1,335 new attorneys were admitted to practice law in Illinois after taking the attorney's oath at five separate ceremonies across the state, bringing the total number of licensed attorneys in Illinois to approximately 98,000. Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court justices presided over the ceremonies.

ISBA staff members were in attendance at all five ceremonies to welcome the state's newest attorneys to the profession, take photos, and talk about the benefits of ISBA membership, which is free for one year for new admittees. Member benefits can be activated by filling out the New Admittee Membership Form

The photo galleries of highlights from the ceremonies are listed below:

1st District Admission Ceremony, November 2017

2nd District Admission Ceremony, November 2017

3rd District Admission Ceremony, November 2017

4th District Admission Ceremony, November 2017