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  • April 01, 2021 7:26 AM | Anonymous member

    From: Illinois Supreme Court

    Illinois justice stakeholders continue to analyze and discuss the massive criminal justice reform bill passed by the General Assembly in January and signed by Governor Pritzker on February 22, 2021. For the courts, the primary focus is on the Pretrial Fairness Act contained within this legislation which abolishes the use of cash bail in pretrial release decisions (effective January 1, 2023) and establishes new processes for pretrial release and detention decisions. 

    While this legislation has elicited a wide range of responses, there are some things on which everyone can agree: (1) the Pretrial Fairness Act is historic – we are the first state to explicitly prohibit the use of money in pretrial detention decisions and (2) all eyes nationally are on Illinois.

  • March 23, 2021 4:01 PM | Anonymous member

    From: Arizona Courts

    Arizona has created a limited legal practitioner program called Legal Paraprofessional. 

    An LP is a professional with specific education and experience who is licensed to provide legal services in limited practice areas. This professional is often compared to a nurse practitioner in the medical field.

    If you are interested in the program, check this short video to learn how the program works.

  • February 24, 2021 7:39 PM | Anonymous member

    Cook County Circuit Court to resume jury trials this spring, with multiple precautions against coronavirus spread.

  • February 22, 2021 6:58 PM | Anonymous member

    From: DuPage Bar Association

    Jury Trials to proceed March 1, 2021; Bench trials to proceed In-Person effective immediately; All Law Division courtrooms will be closed to attorneys and litigants, except for trials.

    Matters set for status, case management, prove up, hearing and conferences will proceed remotely. Participation in these proceedings may be accomplished in one of two ways: a). By submitting an agreed order electronically (instructions below). or b). By videoconference using Zoom. The Zoom links will change daily, and you will be able to link to your court proceeding directly from the Clerk’s Office website at Watch the February 8, 2021 Q and A Session with Hon. Robert Kleeman regarding the March 1, 2021 resumption of jury trials. 

  • February 22, 2021 8:19 AM | Anonymous member

    From: U.S.District Court-Northern District of Illinois

    Due to the significant health risks generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has been required to restrict certain aspects of its operations, such as jury trials. To conduct in- person operations safely, the Court will adopt a testing protocol to help ensure that those who work in the Courthouse do not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other Courthouse workers or visitors to the Courthouse.

  • February 10, 2021 7:30 PM | Anonymous member

    From: The Estrin Report

    Is there a bright future for Paralegals?

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics is out with their 2020 Occupational Outlook for Paralegals and Legal Assistants.

    Bottom line – it’s not a bad time to be in, or to be getting into, a paralegal or legal assistant position*.

    Consider these findings:

    o Median annual pay is $51,750, compared with $39,800 for all occupations in the US.

    o 80% of paralegals and legal assistants earn between $32-82,000.

    o The federal government, finance, and insurance sectors pay the most, with a median income above $84,000 per year.

    o Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 10% over the next 10 years, much faster than the 4% for all occupations in the US economy.

    States with the most paralegals are CA, FL, NY, TX, and IL. The highest pay for paralegals and legal assistants is in DC, CO, CA, MA, and WA.

    Bottom line – it’s not a bad time to be in, or to be getting into, a paralegal or legal assistant position.

    If you’d like to “just get away,” consider these top-paying non-metropolitan areas for paralegals and legal assistants:

    o Alaska

    o Northwest Colorado

    o Central New Hampshire

    o North Coast of California

    o Hawaii/Kauai

    Or, the non-metropolitan places where there are the most jobs:

    ● Kansas

    ● North Carolina Piedmont area

    ● Central Kentucky

    ● Southwest Montana

    ● Southeast coastal North Carolina

    The life of the paralegal is not all rosy, of course; here are a few cautions:

    o Stress – The American Bar Association has recently discussed stress as a significant issue for paralegals. Unfortunately, stress among paralegal staff is not as well addressed as attorney stress. Good tools, such as a cloud-based matter management system, can significantly reduce stress among paralegals, especially those expected to bill by the hour.

    o Limited ceiling – you very likely never will be the boss of a law firm if you do not have a law degree.

    o Respect - routine tasks like repetitive data entry, invoice preparation, entering client and billing information, filing, and document management often fall upon paralegals. A cloud-based document management system can virtually eliminate these repetitive tasks and increase the time you have for higher profile matters.

    If you are considering an exit strategy, the US Department of Labor has identified related positions that do not require a JD degree that offer greater compensation, including claims adjusting, mediating and conciliation services.

    In the meantime, you can build both your expertise and job satisfaction by becoming proficient in a cutting edge technology, and/or gaining a new certification. Whichever direction you’re headed, the future looks bright for the paralegal profession.

    By Aline Martin O’Brien!

    Aline Martin-O’Brien has a Masters in Theory and Practice of Procedural Law from the University of Paris: Panthéon–Sorbonne. After practicing as an attorney for many years, she now lives and writes in Florida for Smokeball.

  • January 12, 2021 9:04 AM | Anonymous member

    From: Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

    The start of 2021 will bring the third release of CompFile, which means completely digital e-filing and case management for Illinois workers' compensation. Be on the lookout for the instructional materials for Release 3 of CompFile and start visiting the CompFile Implementation webpage regularly to check for the latest announcements and updated resources. 

  • December 31, 2020 12:47 PM | Anonymous member

    From: Illinois Supreme Court

    The Illinois Supreme Court has announced the appointment of Judge Sanjay T. Tailor as an At-Large Cook County Circuit Judge. Judge Tailor was appointed to fill the At-Large vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Diane Gordon Cannon, who passed away on October 31, 2020. The appointment is effective January 4, 2021, and will conclude December 5, 2022, following the November 2022 general election.

  • December 22, 2020 11:30 AM | Anonymous member

    From: Circuit Court of Cook County

    When eviction cases and consumer debt cases are allowed to commence as directed by the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, any plaintiff initiating a new eviction or consumer debt action in any of the districts of the Municipal Department of the Circuit Court of Cook County shall include a notice of the ERP with the summons in English, Spanish, & Polish. The notice shall be attached to a copy of the summons filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The notice of the ERP is included with this General Administrative Order.

  • December 22, 2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous member

    From: Circuit Court of Cook County

    Most courthouses in Cook County are now equipped with “Zoom Rooms,” with computers that allow litigants to safely monitor court proceedings, Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans said on Friday.

    The rooms serve litigants who do not have access to phones or computers, and thus have difficulty tuning into court sessions on Zoom. In response to the surge in coronavirus cases, the Circuit Court has ordered that all hearings be held via teleconference whenever possible. The rooms contain multiple computers, and are located in rooms previously used as jury rooms or children’s rooms.

    “During this public health crisis, we want the public to continue to have access to justice while keeping safe,” said Chief Judge Evans. “These Zoom rooms have been equipped to allow litigants who may not have adequate technology at home to participate in teleconference hearings.”

    Litigants should note that hearings can be accessed by phone as well as by computer. 

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