Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Will County State's Attorney Race Features Two NIU-COL Grads

The race for Will County State's Attorney is heating up  I live in Kendall County, so I will spare you my opinions on this race.  I just wanted to forward the attached article which talks about the impact of the Drew Peterson and Christopher Vaughn cases on the election.  The article also points out that the candidates, incumbent James Glasgow and challenger Dave Carlson, both earned their law degrees at NIU.

Will County state’s attorney race - Joliet Herald News

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Vegas Strip Steak Patent

A group of food scientists from Oklahoma State University have applied for a patent for an entirely new cut of steak.  They call it the Vegas Strip Steak.  This is a brilliant marketing strategy that I wish I would have thought of first.  The idea that some savvy business people could patent a cut of beef that has existed inside cattle for millennia intrigues me.  I love a good steak, but I like making a buck even more. 

I'm not an intellectual property lawyer, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I don't know if they'll actually get their patent.  I did a little reading on the process, however.  If you're interested, there are good articles on and  

They have their own website for the steak HERE and the picture makes my mouth water a little.   I am a tad bit skeptical, however, because people have been slaughtering beef cattle for a long time.  If no one has isolated this particular steak yet, I'm guessing that is probably better utilized as hamburger, like it has been for hundreds of years.  But, like I said, more power to the innovators who are trying to capitalize.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Free Illinois Court Forms

I just came across a website called  The website contains over 2,000 Illinois legal forms, usually categorized by county. It also has bankruptcy and Federal Court forms.  All of the forms open in Microsoft Word, so they are easily filled-in or modified.  You must register to access the forms, but registration is free.  It looks like a pretty useful site.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Illinois Supreme Court Adopts Electronic Filing Standards and Principles

The Illinois Supreme Court has approved Standards and Principles for electronic filing that will apply statewide beginning on January 1, 2013.  Each county will be authorized to develop e-filing procedures, and they will largely be left on their own to do so, but all counties must comply with these statewide standards and principles.

HERE is a copy to the press release, which contains the Standards and Principles as an attachment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dreyer Foote's New Website

My firm revised its website today.  There are a few minor corrections still being made, but the site is substantially complete.  Check it out HERE.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Referee Malpractice Lawsuits

The football fans out there will remember the controversial call at the end of the Packers-Seahawks game earlier in the NFL season.  Most Packers fans blame that loss solely on a referee's blown call.  I follow football and basketball year round, so I've seen my share of missed or blown calls throughout the years. But the referees have been in the news more than usual lately, so that got me thinking --Can a referee be sued for malpractice?

I did some legal research and found an interesting case from the Iowa Appellate Court.  Jim Bain was a Big Ten basketball referee during the 1980s.  He was reffing the Iowa vs. Purdue game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on March 6, 1982.  During the final seconds of that game, Bain called a foul on an Iowa player that gave Purdue two free-throws in the closing seconds.  Purdue hit the shots to win the game, knocking Iowa out of contention for the Big Ten championship.  Most Iowa fans blamed Bain for the loss, asserting that the call was clearly blown.

John and Karen Gillispie operated a sports memorabilia store in Iowa City.  Shortly after that game, the Gillispies began selling "Jim Bain Fan Club" t-shirts.  The shirts had the picture of a man with a rope around his neck.  Upon learning of these t-shirts, Jim Bain sued the Gillispies for an injunction to prohibit future sales of the shirts and for actual and punitive damages.

The Gillispies counterclaimed for referee malpractice.  They claimed that Bain's conduct in officiating the Iowa-Purdue game was below the standard of competence required of a professional referee.  The Gillispies claimed that Bain's malpractice cost Iowa the Big Ten title, and, as a result, destroyed the market for Big Ten championship memorabilia at their store, costing them more than $175,000 in future profits.

The Court found that Bain did not owe any duty of care to the Gillispies.  Their damages for lost profits were not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of Bain's acts as a referee.  The Court held that referees are in the business of applying rules to athletic contests, not creating a marketplace for others.  It was therefore beyond the scope of Bain's duties as referee to make calls at all times with the profits of businesses worldwide in mind.

This is obviously a very limited holding that basically says fans can't sue referees.  However, what if the University had sued Bain because Iowa did not make the NCAA tournament?  Surely, that is a foreseeable consequence of a blown call by a referee.  What if the Iowa player who was called for the foul had sued?  What if that loss cost him a spot in the NBA draft or money on his first NBA contract?  Aren't NBA rookies paid more money if they were Big Ten champions in college?  

I don't represent any sports franchises or universities, so I have not done this research. My next research project will be whether I can file a coaching malpractice case against Lovie Smith the next time he wastes a timeout on a horrible challenge.  

HERE is a link to the Bain case.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Congratulations to the Glassman Law Offices

I just found out that Eydie Glassman ('02) has started her own firm in Rosemont, Illinois. The Glassman Law Offices focuses its practice in municipal/government law, civil rights, labor and employment, personal injury, family law, and general contract disputes.

Eydie formerly practiced at Johnson and Bell, Ltd. in Chicago until starting this new venture. Good luck to Eydie.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Cosentino Law Firm is Hiring

The Cosentino Law Firm LLC is currently accepting applications for the position of associate attorney. The attorney will work primarily from the firm's DeKalb location and should have an interest in bankruptcy and collections. 

Interested candidates should submit resumes by U.S. Mail ONLY to the firm at 213 South 2nd Street, DeKalb, IL 60115, and direct them to the attention of "April".

Friday, October 12, 2012

Two New Job Postings

I became aware of two new job openings today:

Codilis & Associates in Burr Ridge is looking for a full time real estate attorney within 3-5 years experience in residential real estate closings.  Experience in a high volume closing environment and a strong title background is necessary.  Interested candidates should email resumes, including salary requirements, to

Also, Woodruff Johnson & Palermo in Aurora seeks a plaintiff's personal injury/work comp lawyer with 1-5 years experience.  Send resumes to Linda via fax (630-585-2327) or email (

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Drew Peterson case just got interesting.

Drew Peterson's new lawyers just filed a Motion for a New Trial Based on the Ineffective Assistance of Attorney Joel Brodsky, a complete copy of which is embedded below.  This motion is full of juicy stuff.  The allegations of ineffective assistance are contained on pages 5 and 6. Among them:

  • Joel Brodsky had never tried a felony jury trial before this one, much less a murder case.
  • Joel Brodsky refused to file a speedy trial demand for Drew Peterson, which lead to a 3 year delay and allowed the State enough time to enact "Drew's Law."
  • Joel Brodsky assured Drew Peterson that they would both make money from the pretrial publicity.
  • Joel Brodsky threatened to reveal confidential information if Drew tried to fire him.  (I wonder what confidential information he was talking about...???)
Attached as exhibit to the motion is a letter written to Joel Brodsky by Steve Greenberg.  This letter is GREAT!!  It contains many more juicy allegations than are contained in the body of the motion.  I highly suggest that you spend 5 minutes reading it.  

(h/t @facsmiley)

Drew Peterson Ineffective Counsel Motion against Joel Brodsky

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mortgage payments following bankruptcy

A bankruptcy debtor can decide to surrender or keep their house in a Chapter 7 (assuming that the house has little or no equity and the trustee does not want to sell it for the benefit of creditors).  If the debtor decides to surrender, the lender will probably file a foreclosure and the debtor can walk away scot-free.  

If the debtor decides to keep the house, he basically has two options, only one of which is supported by the Code.  Technically, if a debtor wants to keep the house, he has to reaffirm the debt under Section 524.  Reaffirmation agreements are hardly advisable, however, because a debtor rarely will want to sign back on the line for hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure a house with little or no equity, especially since he just went through the time and expense to wipe out that very same liability.  

Practically speaking, there is another option.  A lot of debtors choose to "retain and pay" where they just keep making the payment even though their personal liability has been discharged.  The hope is that the lender will not want to foreclose as long as they are getting regular payments.  With this option, the debtor can still decide to walk away at any time in the future at no risk because he has not reaffirmed the debt.

The problem, however, is that mortgage lenders are not easy to deal with following a bankruptcy.  Most lenders will stop sending mortgage statements to the debtor.  They will also terminate any online access to the account that the debtor had set up.  I always thought that the lenders feared violating the discharge injunction because sending a statement could be viewed as an attempt to collect a discharge debt.

That is not possible, though, because Section 524(j) says that lenders can take steps in the normal course of business to seek or obtain periodic payments in lieu of in rem relief to enforce their lien.  In plain English, they can still send statements if they want to collect payments instead of filing foreclosure.  Now, I guess that the reason they are difficult to deal with is that they want to force the debtors to reaffirm.  

Monday, October 8, 2012


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tailgate Party with the Dean
11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
NIU Law Tent - Alumni Village (Near Huskie Stadium)
Join NIU Law alumni, faculty, staff and students at our Homecoming Tailgate Party. We will have a tent in Alumni Village just off Annie Glidden Road and Stadium Drive with FREE food and drinks.

Buffalo vs. NIU
Kick Off: 2:30 p.m.
Purchase tickets in the NIU College of Law section for $8 each. Tickets are limited and available on a first-come basis.


Please help us plan accordingly. To RSVP for tailgating and/or purchase football tickets, contact Melody Mitchell at or (815) 753-9655.

Northern Law Blog hits 100,000 Page Views!!

As I write this post, the Northern Law Blog has 99,987 page views.  I hope I'm not jumping the gun, but I'm pretty confident that we'll get to 100,000 sometime today.  This Blog has come a long way in the past 3 years.  In my opinion, this is just the beginning.  We need to keep producing quality content and pretty soon we'll hit a million!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Don't Write Law Review Articles; Blog Instead

I read an excellent article on yesterday.  It was titled "Don't Waste Your Time Writing Law-Review Articles."   It was written by Matthew R. Salzwedel, a practicing attorney in Minnesota, a former clerk for the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and the former lead managing editor of the Minnesota Law Review.  

Mr. Salzwedel points out that the trend in legal scholarship is short, focused columns and blog posts.  He points to the dramatic decline in law-review subscriptions and argues that short, narrowly focused articles written for local newspapers and online publications (read, "blogs") are now the preferred way to improve your legal writing skills and market your practice.  He argues that lawyers shouldn't write law-review articles because it is a long, tedious, and exhausting process that probably will not equate to a single new client.  He points out that he has never obtained a single client lead from a law-review article, much less an actual paying client.

I wholeheartedly agree.  I have been pushing this exact message, although much less eloquently, for many years.  I would never even consider writing a law-review article.  I turned down the opportunity to "write on" to the law-review in law school.  I could not imagine a bigger waste of my valuable and limited time while living on a college campus. (Insert winky-faced emoticon here.)  To even consider writing a law-review article as a practicing lawyer is absurd.  Who are you trying to impress?  The three, 23 year-old editors who are only reading it to pad their own resumes?

On the other hand, my practice has benefited greatly from this blog.  I have obtained dozens of paying clients through this blog.  It is amazing how often I hear from clients that one of my blog posts turned up in a Google search and lead to a a phone call to my office.  I have heard the exact same thing from other contributors to this blog.  In fact, the two most-read posts ever on this blog were not written by me.  Where would you rather find your name nowadays?  On Google or on the dusty shelf in the basement of a law library?  If you choose the former, rather than the later, you can get full access to the blog by emailing me HERE.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

West's Headnote of the Day

Driver approaching intersection is not bound to look in all directions simultaneously, nor need he swivel his head like ventriloquist's dummy in order to be free of contributory negligence.

Bascelli v. Bucci, 368 A.2d 754 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1976)