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Hon. Craig H. DeArmond, Chief Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, has been assigned as an Appellate Court Justice in the Fourth Judicial District. The assignment  takes effect on September 1, 2017, and will continue until further order of the Court.

"I am pleased to announce the assignment of Judge Craig DeArmond to the Fourth District Appellate Court. Judge DeArmond has many years of experience that have amply prepared him for the work of the appellate court," Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman said. "His background includes eight years as Vermilion County State’s Attorney and several years in private practice representing criminal defendants and clients in civil matters. He was elected in 2015 to serve as Chief Judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Judge DeArmond has served on the Supreme Court Committee on Education for several years and is a frequent presenter at judicial education programs. He will make a fine addition to the appellate court."

Democrats and Republicans. Cubs fans and Cards (or White Sox) fans. Oxford comma devotees and detractors. Is that how it is in your workplace?

Well, score one for the Oxford comma contingent. As Rex Gradeless put it in the May issue of The Public Servant, newsletter of the ISBA Government Lawyers Committee, a "recent federal appellate court decision may put the cost of a single missing comma at $10 million." Gradeless reminds us that the Oxford comma is "placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually 'and' or 'or') in a series of three or more terms. For example, a list of three Illinois counties might be punctuated either as 'Hardin, Pope, and Calhoun' (with the Oxford comma), or as 'Hardin, Pope and Calhoun' (without the Oxford comma)."

In the case in question, Maine truck farmers argued that they were included in a statute requiring overtime payments, while the Oakhurst Dairy argued they were excluded. The overtime statute excluded employees involved in "[t]he canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of [food products]."


Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Our law firm is a 16-attorney intellectual property firm in Tampa, Florida. We have 10 partners and six associates. I am a member of our three-member executive committee and I have been given charge of looking into the pros and cons of having a firm retreat with all of our partners and associates. We have not had a retreat before and we would like your thoughts concerning the benefits that a small firm can receive from a retreat.

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to senior and low-income individuals in central and souther Illinois, seeks two staff attorneys at its Northern Regional office.

Senior staff attorney responsibilities will include representation of senior citizens in civil cases and transactional matters involving critical legal needs in 12-county service area. Position includes travel to senior centers on a regular basis and participation in community legal education and outreach.

Staff attorney responsibilities will include representation of low-income in routine and complex family law litigation, particularly for victims of domestic violence and representation of low-income clients in other litigation involving critical legal needs.

To qualify, applicants must be admitted to the Illinois Bar and demonstrate commitment to the representation of low-income individuals. Prior legal services or clinical work experience strongly preferred. 

Salary is approximately $45,000 with license, depending on experience, and includes excellent benefits, including medical, dental, and vision.

Interested applicants should send a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to:

Lauren J. Pashayan
Managing Attorney
Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc.
3085 Stevenson Drive St. 202
Springfield, IL 62703
(217) 529-8400
lpashayan@lollaf.org


Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Our firm, a 14-attorney litigation firm in Sacramento, California, is planning on merging/acquiring a three-attorney firm in the area. We have completed our due diligence and both firms have agreed on the terms of the merger. What type of agreement and legal documents do we need to effect and implement the merger?

In his bestselling book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, physician and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande argues that checklists are essential to reducing errors and increasing efficiency. He points to the airline industry's reliance on flight-related checklists - and its remarkable safety record - as evidence of the power of checklists to make processes work, and argues that the medical profession should expand the use of checklists to save lives and improve outcomes.

"The natural extension to the legal field is that lawyers must use checklists as much as possible," writes Kerry Lavelle in the June issue of The Bottom Line, newsletter of the ISBA Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics. "For example, why not have a definitive checklist for a residential real estate closing? A commercial real estate closing? An asset purchase agreement? Stock purchase agreement? Commercial lease review?"

Nor is the value of checklists limited to transactional processes, Lavelle writes. "Imagine having a compelling and detailed checklist, or litigation handbook, specific to your firm's [litigation] 'process' encompassing the local rules where every new attorney and attorney thereafter would need to understand in the process for litigation," he writes. Find out more in the July Illinois Bar Journal.

The United States Attorney Office for the Northern District of Illinois is accepting applications for assistant United States attorney (AUSA) openings in its Criminal Division in Chicago, Illinois. The applicant selected will represent the U.S. Government as an AUSA in a wide range of unique and complex cases. The application deadline is Friday, September 1, 2017.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have at least 2 years post-J.D. experience. United States citizenship is required. Preferred qualifications: Excellent academics, significant litigation experience, criminal law experience (for our Criminal Division), strong legal writing skills, and a demonstrated commitment to public service.

Pay is administratively determined based, in part, on the number years of professional attorney experience. The range of basic pay is $52,329 to $136,874, plus applicable locality pay.

Interested persons should send a cover letter referencing Vacancy Announcement: AUSA-NDIL-17-1 and detailed resume to:

Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan Stack
Office of the U.S. Attorney
219 S. Dearborn Street, 5th Floor
Chicago, Illinois
No telephone calls please.

More information is available on the Department of Justice website.


Kerry Bryson reviews People v. Ringland, handed down Thursday, June 29. 

People v. Ringland

By Kerry Bryson, Office of the State Appellate Defender

In these consolidated cases, the defendants were subjected to traffic stops on I-80 in LaSalle County, with each stop resulting in the discovery of a controlled substance. Those stops were initiated by a team of special investigators appointed by then LaSalle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne pursuant to Section 3-9005(b) of the Counties Code allowing State’s Attorneys to appoint special investigators. Towne named the team the State’s Attorney’s Felony Enforcement unit (or SAFE). The specific purpose of SAFE was to act as a drug interdiction team on I-80.

The defendants filed motions to suppress, challenging the investigators’ authority to conduct traffic stops, as well as the adequacy of the procedure by which they were appointed. The circuit court granted the motions on the basis that statutory procedural requirements for appointment of special investigators had not been met. The appellate court affirmed but on the basis that the investigators lacked authority under Section 3-9005 (b) to conduct the traffic stops in question. The Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court.

Section 3-9005(b) provides that the state’s attorney has the authority to appoint special investigators to: (1) serve subpoenas, (2) make return of process, and (3) conduct investigations which assist the state’s attorney in the performance of his or her duties. The supreme court agreed with the appellate court’s observation that this is an exclusive list.


Asked and Answered 

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

Q. Four of my partners and I just split off from a large law firm in Phoenix, Arizona, and started a litigation boutique firm with five associates. As we staff our nine-attorney firm, we are planning on hiring someone to handle our accounting and manage our finances. What type of position should we create and what level of experience should we be looking for?