The landing page for Re:SearchIL, the state judiciary’s remote-access platform. On Monday, the service opened access to attorneys and legal service providers for several types of cases. – Marc Karlinsky

State courts expand remote-access eligibility

Remote access to Illinois court documents took another step forward this week, as the court expanded the Re:SearchIL service to lawyers and legal service providers for certain matters in most counties.

Bill would secure ‘right to repair’ farming equipment

SPRINGFIELD — Legislation backed by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group would require farming equipment manufacturers to make software required for repairs available to consumers for purchase.
CDEL 3-1-21,ph01

CDEL honors its innovative volunteers

The Center for Disability and Elder Law held its annual Light Up the Loop benefit Wednesday, honoring community members who stepped up to help those severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dickerson Award winners talk justice, legacy

The Chicago Bar Association honored four attorneys at its annual Earl B. Dickerson Awards ceremony on Wednesday, recognizing individuals who have advocated for racial justice in their legal careers.

Pritzker signs criminal justice reform bill

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker signed a criminal justice omnibus bill backed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Monday, abolishing cash bail, overhauling police certification and reforming use-of-force standards among numerous other provisions.

Madigan resigning from House

SPRINGFIELD — State Rep. Michael J. Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who virtually set Illinois’ political agenda as House speaker before he was ousted last month, announced Thursday that he is resigning his seat in the legislature.

Survey: Workers yearn for offices; like remote flexibility

One year into a nationwide shutdown of many offices in response to COVID-19, a new law firm study indicates a majority of remote workers are anxious to return to the office.

SCOTUS raises bar for some immigrants to avoid deportation

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday made it harder for longtime immigrants who have been convicted of a crime to avoid deportation.

Diabetic CTA worker’s ADA suit survives dismissal attempt

A diabetic electrician can move forward with his disability discrimination suit against the Chicago Transit Authority, a federal judge ruled last week.

Man cleared of double murder sues Chicago over torture confession

A man who received a certificate of innocence after spending 33 years in prison in the 1987 death of his mother-in-law and her mother has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago, his lawyer said Monday.

Courts & Cases

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Trial Notebook


Consumer can sue over variable rate plan

Lured by visions of lower prices for natural gas, Becky Burger signed a contract with Spark Energy, an alternative retail natural gas supplier or “AGS.” But when the fixed-rate introductory period expired and the company switched her to a variable-rate plan that said her bills “may vary according to market conditions,” Burger allegedly wound up paying an average of 305% more than her local utility would have charged. In a class action complaint that contends the jacked-up prices weren’t based on market conditions — and that Spark charged an administrative fee that wasn’t disclosed in the terms of service — Burger alleged violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, breach of contract (express and implied) and unjust enrichment.

Legal History


March 4

See if you know what happened on this date in Legal History with Karen Conti.

Professionalism on Point


To bridge polarization, the legal field must lead toward civility

The recent political cycle seemed to separate people to opposite corners of a boxing ring, interacting only to hurl punches at those with differing viewpoints. While many may agree that this polarization isn’t healthy for our democracy, our relationships, or our well-being, we are unsure how to bridge the gap.

Legal History


March 3

See if you know what happened on this date in Legal History with Karen Conti.

Opening Statement


Making us laugh is essential work

Congratulations, America! It looks like our yearlong pandemic nightmare may finally be coming to an end.

Lex Sportiva


The plot thickens in players’ defamation suit over PEDs report

When a professional baseball player is accused of using performance-enhancing drugs (“PEDs,” inclusive of hormones for purposes of this article), the implications can be catastrophic.

Opening Statement


Impeachment trial wouldn’t work on stage

A few weeks back I wrote that if you were longing for exciting live theater, you would find it in the upcoming televised impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

Sports Marketing Playbook


Sports world found silver linings amid turmoil

It goes without saying that 2020 proved to be a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic upended the sports world, forcing leagues and governing bodies to shut down in March and cancel or delay their events and entire seasons.

Opening Statement


Magician brings the wonder in Hulu doc

A few weeks ago I wrote a column about an online magic show I found disappointing.

Social Scene


ABA hosts judicial trailblazers

The American Bar Association held a panel discussion, “Judicial Trailblazers and the Hills They’ve Climbed: A Discussion with Preeminent African-American Judges and Their Challenges and Triumphs,” on Friday, part of a series marking Black History Month. The panelists were former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Dennis Archer, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Bernice Donald, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Roger Gregory, Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Carl E. Stewart, U.S. District Judge for the District of South Carolina J. Michelle Childs, and former 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ann Claire Williams. Howard University School of Law Dean …

Legal ethics on TV

A panel looked at the lawyering by famous fictional attorneys during a virtual CLE program Thursday, “Legal Ethics and Professionalism of Your Favorite TV Shows, Yada, Yada,” hosted by Clifford Law Offices. The panel included Jayne Rizzo Reardon, executive director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism; Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel B. Shanes, chair of the Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees; and James P. Doppke, a partner at Robinson Stewart Montgomery & Doppke LLC and a former ARDC litigator. The panel was moderated by Robert A. Clifford. Screenshot provided by Clifford Law Offices

CBA panel on motion practice

The Chicago Bar Association hosted a CLE program, “Motion Practice in Cook County Circuit Court’s Law Division,” on Jan. 14 over Zoom, moderated by. Sarah F. King and Charles R. Haskins of Clifford Law Offices. Law Division Presiding Judge James P. Flannery talked about the pandemic’s impact on the division; Circuit Judge John H. Ehrlich addressed remote case management; Circuit Judge Christopher E. Lawler shared details on remote pre-trials; Circuit Judge James E. Snyder offered tips on the commercial calendar and Circuit Judge Lorna E. Propes explained Zoom jury selection and trials. Screenshot provided by Clifford Law Offices

Vaughan takes 5th District Appellate Court seat oath

Illinois Supreme Court Justice David K. Overstreet (right) administers the oath of office to 5th District Appellate Court Justice Barry L. Vaughan on Jan. 4. Vaughan, who was a 2nd Judicial Circuit Court judge, is on temporary assignment until the 2022 election. Photo provided by Barry L. Vaughan

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