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  • 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. 

  • December 09, 2020 2:39 PM | Anonymous member

    From: Illinois Supreme Court

    Chief Justice Anne M. Burke and the Illinois Supreme Court announced today the approval of new Rule 14, which will facilitate the expansion of text messaging in Illinois courts by authorizing any Illinois court or county clerk to implement a text message notification program. New Rule 14 is effective immediately.

    “The pandemic has forced courts to innovate more rapidly than ever before to develop new efficiencies while also maintaining the health and safety of court users,” Chief Justice Burke said. “This new rule provides guidance to courts throughout the state for consistent adoption of this program, which has worked successfully in several jurisdictions.”

    New Rule 14, first proposed by the Illinois Judicial Conference’s Court Access and Dispute Resolution Task Force (Task Force), is intended to provide statewide consistency regarding electronic communication. Illinois circuit courts using text messaging programs to communicate with litigants include Cook, McHenry, Winnebago, and several other counties.

    The jurisdictions in Illinois who have initiated text messaging programs report reductions in failure to appear rates. The new Rule was also proposed with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mind as a method by which courts can communicate with patrons safely without person-to-person contact. “This new Supreme Court Rule provides an additional method courts will use to communicate with patrons safely without person to person contact using a simple tool: the cellphone,” Task Force Chair and Fourth District Appellate Court Clerk Carla Bender said. “By adoption of this Rule, the Supreme Court is facilitating electronic communication through an inexpensive intervention which will serve to assist people in getting to court and avoiding the serious repercussions of failure to appear.”

    Text messaging programs are a supplement and not a substitute for any notification required by Supreme Court Rule and any failure to participate in a text messaging program will not be considered or used as evidence against the person in any court proceeding. Participants will be afforded the ability to opt out of the program at any time. 

  • December 08, 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous member

    From: LawSites

    Twenty executives of legal technology companies and organizations signed on to a letter delivered this morning to Speaker Nancy Pelosi in favor of legislation that would eliminate the PACER paywall and modernize access to federal court records.

  • December 07, 2020 8:19 PM | Anonymous member

    From: Chicago Sun-Times

    With a historic win, Iris Martinez was recently sworn in as the first Latina Cook County Circuit Court clerk, promising a “new beginning" and encouraging fellow Latinas to "dream big."

  • December 05, 2020 9:50 AM | Anonymous member

    From: Cook County Legal Aid

    As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the livelihoods of many, residents in Cook County may find some relief with the recent launch of Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD). The county-wide initiative focuses on helping residents resolve eviction, foreclosure, debt, and tax deed issues.

    Evictions, foreclosures, and unresolved debt issues can have a long-lasting, negative impact on your future. Call the Early Resolution Program (ERP) to speak with a lawyer and get connected to other resources. This program is available to all residents of Cook County free of charge. You do not need to have a case in court to get help.

    Call 855-956-5763 or apply online to get help today.

    You Can Use the Program If

    • You are a renter and your landlord is trying to evict you;
    • You are a landlord who is not represented by a lawyer;
    • You are a homeowner who has fallen behind on your mortgage payments or property taxes;
    • You were sued by someone who wants to collect an unpaid debt (for example a credit card company trying to collect unpaid charges); OR
    • You need to sue someone who owes you money and do not have a lawyer.

    The Early Resolution Program (ERP) includes free legal aid, mediation services, and connections to other resources including rental assistance. Mediation is a chance for a landlord and tenant, or debtor and creditor, to resolve issues with the help of a knowledgeable and neutral person.

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