As part of the yearly registration process, new Rule 756(g) also requires that lawyers provide the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission with the following information (1) an address, email address, and telephone number; (2) a residential address; (3) a list of other states in which the lawyer is licensed to practice law; (3) the type of entity at which the lawyer practices, the number of lawyers in that organization, the lawyer’s principle areas of practice; and (4) whether the “organization has established a written succession plan.” The information required by (2)-(4) above will remain confidential.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Illinois has recognized limited scope representation for a long time. In 1983, an Illinois State Bar Association opinion (here) approved the preparation of pleadings for a pro-se litigant in a dissolution of marriage proceeding. But the real impetus behind unbundled legal services came with the adoption of Rule 1.2(C) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct in 2010. Rule 1.2(C) specifically authorizes the provision of discrete legal services: “A lawyer may limit the scope of representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.”
Several sample limited scope retainer agreements are available. The Chicago Bar Association offers one here. The ABA provides templates here. These and other sample agreements nicely define the scope of representation through a “check-the-box” format. But the forms do not directly address the requirement of Rule 1.0(e) that to obtain informed consent a lawyer must explain the “material risks” and “reasonably available alternatives” to the limited scope representation. While each case has its own particular risks and alternatives, it seems that the usual alternatives to be discussed include (1) the client handling the entire case without counsel; (2) full representation by counsel; and (3) the possibility of representation by a legal aid or pro bono attorney. Material risks might include that the lawyer’s factual and legal investigation will not be as complete as when the lawyer provides full representation and that the client’s lack of understanding of laws, rules, and court procedures may adversely affect the client’s ability to introduce evidence; explain his position to the court; present and respond to pleadings, notices, and motions; understand court rulings; and properly evaluate settlement offers.
Best practices would seem to dictate that the limited scope retainer agreement contain at least a summary of the alternatives and material risks discussed with the client.
Friday, May 8, 2015
Criminal defense attorney Samuel Partida, Jr. publishes a tremendous criminal law blog and podcast located at Illinoiscaselaw.com. He's also a great follow on Twitter (here).
One of last week's podcasts analyzed whether a police officer would have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop if a driver made a u-turn to avoid a DUI checkpoint. The podcast was inspired by the Illinois criminal court case People v. Timmsen, 2014 IL App (3d) 120481.
The answer may surprise you. I don't practice DUI or criminal law, so I don't know how this typically plays out in the real world, but I'd be willing to bet that 100% of the people who try to avoid checkpoints get pulled over even though the vast majority should not.
Samuel's podcast is timely in light of the article in this morning's Tribune about DUI checkpoints (here). It turns out that the large majority of roadside checkpoints are conducted in areas populated mostly by minorities, whereas predominately white communities actually have higher rates of drunken driving accidents and fatalities. The Tribune article states that Chicago's policies regarding the location of DUI checkpoints probably violate federal guidelines. I'd be very interested in a Tribune investigation into improper traffic stops for legal u-turns in front of roadside checkpoints.
Anyway, Samuel is blogging and podcasting about plenty of other fascinating issues for criminal law practitioners. His website is also approved for MCLE credit by the Illinois Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board, so if you still need any CLE hours check out his website here.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
A class action lawsuit was filed today against Manny Pacquiao and several of his promoters for failing to disclose the fighter's alleged shoulder injury prior to the fight. The complaint alleges fraudulent concealment and violations of Nevada's consumer fraud act. The plaintiffs allege that defendants committed deceptive trade practices when they failed to disclose a material fact in connection with the sale of goods or services.
I'm not too sure this one is going to fly. I don't think it was material whether Manny's shoulder was at full strength. If Manny was going to fight, everyone was still going to purchase the pay-per-view. But maybe if he would have disclosed the injury, the boxing commissioner would have cancelled the fight and everyone would have got their money back. I don't know.
The complaint also cites a section of the Nevada statute which prohibits "false representations" in consumer transactions. I saw other news reports today that the Nevada Athletic Commission is considering perjury charges against Pacquiao for failing to disclose the shoulder injury on a pre-fight medical questionnaire. That count may have a little more traction if Pacquiao's people did sign a document under oath. However, I still think this lawsuit fails because the general public was not privy to that medical questionnaire and could not have relied upon it when deciding to purchase the pay-per-view. As usual, I will continue to monitor this case and I will keep you apprised of any interesting developments.