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  • January 12, 2022 4:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Authors: Nathan M. Ciulla and Gabriel Evelyn

    As a new year begins, a popular tradition for many people is making resolutions, goals that we hope to attain to better our lives in the new year. Although these can be hard to keep (as can be seen by the dwindling number of people in gyms from January to the following months), they are much easier to make happen if those goals are something you are truly passionate about. As we make new year career goals for ourselves, there are also collective goals that we can accomplish as a legal community. One worthy goal is to keep in mind the under-resourced communities that do not have equal access to justice and to find ways to help make equal access more of a reality.

    As legal professionals, we see the gaps in justice that keep certain communities of people from accessing the resources they need. Although we ourselves often feel helpless, there are many organizations throughout Chicago that are already doing work to provide resources to these communities. While change doesn’t happen overnight, even small successes are worth the effort and worth celebrating. By making the effort to work towards resolving even one issue, we can start to close those gaps. Your effort, passion and resources are important to doing this work and can be the difference that people need. Although working towards equal access to justice may seem daunting at first, there are key ideas that we can remember to ensure that we continue to strive for this ideal.

    First, know what your passionate about. Even in equal justice, there are many groups of people that need to have access to resources that we can help. Groups such as immigrants, minorities, senior citizens, and the LGBTQIA+ communities often have experienced gaps in justice. To attempt to help all these groups would seem like a task too tall to tackle. Thinking about one group that you are passionate about serving, however, can help narrow your focus and encourage you to start the fight. For example: as people of color, we’re passionate about helping minority groups, who have been traditionally under-resourced. If you’re particularly close to a grandparent, perhaps seeking ways to help senior citizens would suit you well.

    Second, never stop learning, regardless of how far along you are in your career. The more you learn, the better resource you can be to people and the more you will see where these gaps lie. Look around you and find resources you already have access to that you may not have known about previously.  Are there people in your office who are already working with social justice organizations? Will your supervising attorney cover the costs of taking a webinar or CLE on pro bono work? You may be surprised by how many attorneys are willing to support non-attorney legal professionals who desire to help others.

    Third, partner with people to find ways to help. Trying to do this on your own will leave you much more likely to feel overwhelmed and give up. Partnering with people or groups that are working in these communities will not only encourage you to start action, but it will also help to ensure that what you are doing is making the kind of difference that people need. At the Chicago Paralegal Association, our Pro Bono director seeks partnerships with organizations around the Chicagoland area that serve many different types of community groups. Our members can contribute to those organizations’ causes by volunteering for them through the CPA. In the days of “Googling,” a simple search can help you find many organizations that are working to help under-resourced communities and why that change is needed.

     Fourth, listen to those in need. Set up meetings with people in marginalized communities and listen to the struggles they’ve had when it comes to equal access to justice. First-hand accounts of where these gaps exist are essential to create effective, lasting change. You can also talk to leaders of nonprofit organizations and hear about what they’ve learned and experienced, as well as where the difficulties are in creating change. Listening is one of the best resources you have when it comes to doing pro bono work.

    Last, but definitely not least, remember that we all are human. We all go through ups and downs trying to build up communities and their resources. At times, this work can feel draining and discouraging, and we can start to feel a sense of hopelessness when faced with seemingly insurmountable issues. While we are passionate about the causes we choose to champion, we also must give ourselves the grace to work through our emotions; acknowledge them as valid; accept them as a part of the struggles of change; and ultimately continue persevering with our labor. We must remember to be intentional about not only our work, but also our hope and belief that said work will lead to change. Change, especially within the legal world, can be slow, but with a positive, hopeful intention and the perseverance to match, change will not only come, it will eventually flourish.

    We hope that you are inspired to consider your passion when it comes to social justice work and serving people who are being marginalized. Listening, learning, discovering your passion, and partnering with those in the field are invaluable in getting started and following through. You are a change maker, and your effort can make a difference in one person’s life. Your expertise, drive and effort are needed. Equal justice depends on it.

  • November 16, 2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    By: Nathan M. Ciulla, CPA Director of Marketing

    As paralegals, we understand why it’s so important for attorneys to market themselves and network with colleagues. In my role at my firm, I’m responsible for helping our attorneys keep their bios up to date, promote speaking events and create engaging presentations. It’s vital to the future of our firms that our attorneys continue to connect and learn from each other. Many of the legal staffers that I talk to do much the same for their firms, but have not considered how they market themselves, and this means that the legal field is losing out on a wealth of knowledge from an important resource: paralegals.

    There may be several reasons you haven’t considered the importance of self-branding. Perhaps you feel like you don’t have time, you don’t believe that what you have to say is important or you don’t even know where to begin. These are just a few of the reasons I’ve heard people give for not networking, and in the past, I would have felt the same way. I hope to help show you that all the reasons are misconceptions, and that you can successfully grow your network and share your brand.

    As paralegals, we must start to see ourselves as a vital resource and that networking is important. Networking provides a way for us to share and learn from each other. While our days often seem full and tend to fly by, carving out some time for networking makes a big difference. Prior to joining the Chicago Paralegal Association, I did not belong to any professional organizations aimed at helping paralegals. Joining the CPA has made a huge difference for me and my career. The opportunity to share knowledge, to interact with others who know what it’s like to be in the same field and to just have fun together has made my work even better. Since joining the association, I’ve been able to have many candid conversations with our members and find volunteer opportunities to use my skill in a way that helps to resource neighborhoods that are traditionally under-resourced. I now feel like I have a more fulfilling career.

    Before you can consider putting yourself out there, you must believe that your story matters. Knowing that what you’ve learned in life and in your career is worthy of being shared with others. As the producer of a podcast aimed at sharing stories of leaders in the Chicago region, I’ve learned that everyone’s story really does have value. The successes, challenges and lessons you’ve learned along your path are important and need to be shared. There is a high chance that if you’ve been through it, someone out there is currently going through a similar situation. Sharing our story can motivate, inspire and give hope to people who are in the middle of a tough time.

    Sharing my story was something that I wasn’t very comfortable with for a good portion of my life. As someone who often felt very different than the others I saw around me, I didn’t think that my voice would matter as much as theirs. Many times I didn’t feel educated enough, old enough or skilled enough to contribute. It was actually the attorneys at the law firm I work at that encouraged me to use my voice to share my life lessons with others as a way to encourage and inspire others who may also feel different. Since then, I’ve had countless people reach out and share how hearing my story has helped them in some small way.

    I know that it can seem daunting to think about how to start marketing yourself. Writing articles, attending events or joining a committee may not seem like something you can do. Like many other things we do, starting small is often best. Joining an organization like the Chicago Paralegal Association is a great place to start, because it gives you an opportunity to be as involved as you are comfortable, while sharing your brand with others. It’s like dipping your toes in the water: it feels safe but is also a step in the right direction. You will have the chance to attend several events, share your knowledge on a discussion board, attend webinars to learn more about the legal field, and plug into a larger legal community. As you grow, your involvement with the organization can grow, too. You can join a committee, write an article, or even join the Board of Directors! At the CPA, we value all our members and want to hear from you, we believe the more voices we hear, the better we all are.

    I truly hope that you are inspired to share your voice and to join us in making our association an even better resource. If you feel like your voice doesn’t matter anywhere else, we can promise you it will matter here. We know paralegals are multitasking, wealth of knowledge royals and we value the time you give us. I would love to hear your stories, please share your story loud and proud with me at marketing@chicagoparalegals.org!


  • November 16, 2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous member

    From: InfoTrack

    There is no doubt that social media is permeating every facet of our society. Now it is increasingly making its mark on our legal system too. There is a growing trend of service of process being accomplished through social media and other electronic communications.

    What does this mean for the legal profession and the future of process service? While personal service is still the overwhelming norm, there are still circumstances where service by social media is the best option. Legal professionals who understand this trend can better advise their clients and achieve their legal objectives.


  • November 16, 2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous member

    From: 2Civility

    With the legalization of certain amounts of cannabis in Illinois beginning on 1/1/20 and new ways to clear criminal records, the Illinois Supreme Court has published a suite of court forms tailored to cannabis expungement.

  • November 12, 2021 7:04 AM | Anonymous member

    As we reported back in September, a recent decision by the Illinois Supreme Court found that the Cook County Circuit Clerk’s standard HIPAA Qualified Protective Order is contrary to the Privacy Rule of HIPAA (section 165.512(e)(1)(v)) because it a.) does not prohibit insurer from using and disclosing PHI outside of litigation; and b.) does not require the insurer to return or destroy PHI at the end of the litigation.

    On November 5, 2021, Judge Flannery, Presiding Judge of the Law Division, entered GAO 21-3, providing an updated approved format. 

    We have not seen the court websites updated yet, but Chicago Paralegal Association members can access GAO 21-3 and the new form/template in our Resource Center.

  • October 20, 2021 3:36 PM | Anonymous member

    From: Cook County Circuit Court

    Cook County Circuit Court Only

    eFileIL will be unavailable for the Civil, Law, Divisions 1 – 6 and Chancery Divisions TENTATIVELY on Monday, October 25, 2021, 8 p.m. through 8:00 a.m. [CDT] on Monday, November 1, 2021

    Conventional filing will be available for these divisions during normal business hours of the clerk from 8:30am CDT to 4:30pm CDT on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 through Friday, October 29, 2021.

    eFileIL Changes For Cook County

    For All Civil Locations - If you are scheduling a motion on any Civil case you will now be required to select a Motion Type in the Filings Section of your eFiling envelope if you would like to schedule a court date for the motion you are filing. Failure to pick the correct Motion Type will result in the inability to schedule a court date. Please select the one that fits the case type or motion type you are filing. Select Motion Hearing-Type Not Listed if none of the other options fits your filing.

    PLEASE NOTE: that this also applies to scheduling a date for all post judgment matters.

    For Law Division District 1 [Calendars 1, 3, and 5] and Law Districts 2 thru 6 [Calendars G, K, L, O, and P]will also allow motion scheduling for eFiling.

    For Chancery Division, the motion type will no longer be selected in the Case Cross Reference section. It will now be selected in the Filings section. Select your motion related filing code and then select your motion type in the dropdown box below the filing code. There will be more motion codes than before, please select the one that fits the case type or motion type you are filing. Select Motion Hearing-Type Not Listed if none of the other options fits your filing


  • October 06, 2021 1:03 PM | Anonymous member

    From: Matt Masterson, WTTW

    Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett will stand trial on felony disorderly conduct charges this November, nearly three years after he allegedly orchestrated a hoax attack against himself outside his Streeterville apartment.

    Cook County Judge James Linn on Tuesday said jury selection in the high-profile case will begin Nov. 29.


    Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson | mmasterson@wttw.com | (773) 509-543


  • October 05, 2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous member

    From: Cook County

    As a result of Governor Pritzker's September 17, 2021 Executive Order, Judge Evans entered an Order today rescinding the statewide moratorium on residential eviction proceedings, effective October 3, 2021,

    Cook County G.A.O. 2021-02 regarding residential eviction proceedings is no longer in effect and "[t]he time period in which eviction orders (orders of possession) expiring on or before October 3, 2021, must be enforced pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/9-117 is extended 120 days from said expiration date, but not later than February 1, 2022."


  • September 28, 2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous member

    From: Illinois Supreme Court

    A recent decision by the Illinois Supreme Court found that the Cook County Circuit Clerk’s standard HIPAA Qualified Protective Order is contrary to the Privacy Rule of HIPAA (section 165.512(e)(1)(v)) because it a.) does not prohibit insurer from using and disclosing PHI outside of litigation; and b.) does not require the insurer to return or destroy PHI at the end of the litigation. The Cook County HIPAA Qualified Protective Order “acts as an obstacle to accomplishing and executing HIPAA’s full purposes and objectives.” The Court held that the Cook County HIPAA Qualified Protective Order is preempted by the Privacy Rule and is not shielded by the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

    The standard HIPAA Protective Order was revised January 2, 2018. The Cook County Law Division distributed an updated format to include “the December 15, 2017 memorandum order and opinion issued by Circuit Court Judge John H. Ehrlich in Shull v. Ellis, 15 L 9759, and the transcripts of proceedings in that matter dated August 8, October 11, November 13, and November 28, 2017.”

    Be aware of HIPAA requirements. Not all court-approved standard templates necessarily comply.

    The opinion in Haage v. Zavala was filed September 23, 2021 and a copy is available in our member Resource Center.


  • September 27, 2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous member

    Cook County Circuit Court's GAO 2020-07 (eff. 9/24/2021), was recently amended to update section 9(d) stating, "[e]ffective October 5, 2021, outside of the court's regular business hours on weekdays, weekends, and holidays, petitions for emergency protective orders shall be heard by the on-call judges assigned to hear said petitions; to schedule a hearing on a petition for an emergency protective order, a petitioner, advocate, or attorney shall call (toll free) 1-877-863-6338 (Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline).

    Take note of the specific documents and forms. If they are not included with a petition for an emergency protective order, it will not be considered complete. A copy of GAO 2020-07 can be found in our member Resource Center.

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