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Practice News

"Do you ever find yourself frantic and frustrated at the time and energy you're wasting searching for a paper or file, maybe just before you have to have it for a client meeting or a court hearing?" Helen Gunnarsson asks in the August Illinois Bar Journal. "Have you forgotten someone's name at an inopportune moment? Do you watch others speak calmly and confidently without notes, and wish that you could do so as well?" If so you'll want to read Helen's interview with memory expert Paul Mellor and -- more importantly, and please don't forget -- make plans to attend ISBA's Solo and Small Firm Conference in October, where Mellor is a plenary speaker.
Chief Judge Stephen J. Culliton has announced that the Court is accepting applications to fill a vacancy for the Office of Associate Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, DuPage County. This vacancy is a result of the retirement of Associate Judge Mark W. Dwyer. Applications to fill this vacancy will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2009. Applicants must be a United States citizen, licensed to practice law in this state and a resident of DuPage County. Two original applications, submitted on the prescribed application form, must be filed with: Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Director Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts 3101 Old Jacksonville Road Springfield, IL 62704-6488 Applications can be obtained from the Chief Judge's Office, the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts or from the Supreme Court's website: Applications may not be submitted electronically or via facsimile.
I had the wrong effective date for a new public act in today's E-Clips. PA 96-111 takes effect on Oct. 29, 2009. I had it down incorrectly as April 1, 2010. It does the following: Mortgage foreclosure. (1) Requires new owners of mortgaged real estate—a holder or purchaser, receiver, or mortgagee-in-possession—to give notice to known occupants of “dwelling units” of changes in ownership after a judicial sale. For mortgagees-in-possession it allows the occupant to retain possession of the rented property for whichever is shorter: (a) 120 days after the notice of the hearing on a properly served supplemental petition; or (b) the duration of the lease. If the duration of the lease is less than 30 days from the date of the order, the order must allow the occupant to stay for 30 days from the date of the order. (2) Requires a receiver to accept all rental payments from an occupant and any payments from a third party or any rental-assistance program. (3) Prohibits a receiver from increasing the rent without leave of court. The court must find by a preponderance of the evidence that the increase is necessary to operate and conserve the real estate. No hearing or notice is necessary for approval for an increase in a specific unit if the occupant agrees to the increase. Makes other changes.
Public Act 96-108 took effect July 30, 2009. It amends judgeships in the following circuits: 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 19th, and 22nd. It also creates some new judgeships. Click here for more information.
The Fourth District of the Illinois Appellate Court is accepting applications for the vacancy of Appellate Court Clerk. Resumes (original and 7 copies) directed to the Presiding Judge must be received by the Clerk's Office no later than 5 p.m. on Aug. 14. The court has expressed a strong preference to fill this position by an attorney with appellate experience licensed to practice in the State of Illinois. Send resumes to: Clerk's Office 201 W. Monroe Street Springfield, IL 62701
Whew. Lawyers scrambling to create identify-theft policies to comply with the August 1 implementation deadline for the FTC's "Red Flags Rule" can breathe a little easier. It's been pushed back to November 1. The ABA Journal and the Blog of Legal Times have more.
If you represent a veteran or have family members who are veterans, the Governor signed about 22 bills affecting them over the weekend. They may be found at this link, Public Acts 96-79 through 96-101.

If you've been hired to bring a lawsuit and you commit malpractice by, say, blowing a statute of limitations, it's conceptually easy to calculate actual damages, authors Kenneth J. Ashman and Neal D. Kitterlin observe in the July General Practice, Solo & Small Firm newsletter. "If the defendant had the money to pay the damage award and...the client would have succeeded in his suit against the defendant but for the attorney’s malpractice, the client suffered actual damages—that is, real loss—as a result of the attorney’s neglect."

So what if a defense lawyer commits malpractice and loses as a result, but the defendant-client doesn't have the money to pay the judgment? Has he suffered actual damages? Yes, ruled the Illinois Appellate Court in Fox v. Seiden: "[T]he existence of the judgment alone is sufficient to constitute actual damages," Ashman and Kittlerin write. Read their analysis.

Earlier this month the ISBA Board of Governors approved advisory ethics opinion 10-01, the digest of which is as follows: "A law firm’s utilization of an off-site network administrator to assist in the operation of its law practice will not violate the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct regarding the confidentiality of client information if the law firm makes reasonable efforts to ensure the protection of confidential client information." Read the opinion.
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier announced today that an application process has begun for a Circuit Court vacancy in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. The at-large Circuit vacancy is being created by the announced resignation of Circuit Judge John Coady, effective October 3, 2009. Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court holds the authority to fill interim judicial vacancies. Justice Karmeier uses an application, evaluation and interview process to make recommendations to the Court for vacancies in the Fifth Judicial District. Notice of the vacancy has been posted in courthouses throughout the Fourth Judicial Circuit. Applicants must submit a cover letter with the Requested Information of an Applicant Form to: Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, Supreme Court of Illinois, P.O. Box 266, Nashville, IL 62263. The form may be obtained from the office of Chief Judge Gene Schwarm of the Fourth Judicial Circuit; the presiding judge or circuit clerks of the counties within the Fourth Circuit or from Justice Karmeier. Applicants' cover letter and completed form must be received in Justice Karmeier's office no later than Monday, August 17, 2009. The person appointed to fill the vacancy will serve until the position is filled through the November, 2010 general election. The appointment will terminate December 6, 2010. To be eligible for appointment, a person must be a resident of the Fourth Judicial Circuit at the time of the appointment. The Fourth Judicial Circuit is comprised of nine counties: Clinton, Marion, Clay, Jasper, Effingham, Fayette, Shelby, Christian and Montgomery.