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"The Brief" - The ALA Blog

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  • May 22, 2024 12:28 PM | Walker Mondt (Administrator)

    NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA FEDERAL COMMUNITY DEFENDERS, INC.

    The NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA FEDERAL COMMUNITY DEFENDERS, INC. (NDIFCD), is accepting applications for a full-time appellate attorney. The NDIFCD provides legal representation to individuals charged with federal crimes and related matters who are financially unable to retain counsel. The organization is funded by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

    The appellate attorney will draft briefs, present oral arguments in the Seventh Circuit, seek certiorari when appropriate, and provide advanced research and writing assistance to the trial attorneys in select cases. In addition to being a skilled appellate advocate, this attorney will proactively assist trial attorneys in developing legal strategies and occasionally appear in district court for proceedings relating to pretrial motions. However, the attorney’s primary employment responsibilities will involve appeals. The successful candidate must have the experience and ability to work independently. However, collaboration with the trial attorneys will be required at times. The appellate attorney will also give continuing legal education presentations on developments in the law.

    Applicants with significant appellate experience and/or judicial clerkship are encouraged to apply. The NDIFCD offers a competitive salary and benefit package. A lawyer applying for this position must be admitted to practice law of any state or the District of Columbia and be willing to apply for admission in the Northern District of Indiana and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The successful candidate will not be permitted to engage in the private practice of law.

    The NDIFCD has offices in the Hammond, South Bend, and Fort Wayne Divisions of the United Stated District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. This position is located in the Hammond Division which is approximately 30 miles from downtown Chicago. However, partial remote work may be available for the successful candidate under specified, negotiable parameters.

    Application for this position is made by sending a cover letter, resume, references, and a writing sample, compiled in a single PDF, in that order, to: Sherrie_Horan@fd.org. This position will remain open until filled.

    NDIFCD IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

  • April 17, 2024 4:28 PM | Paul Coogan (Administrator)

    The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has issued notice of proposed modifications to Circuit Rules 31, 34, 40, 47, and 60. It is also providing an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes until May 13, 2024. Any comments should be sent to:

    Advisory Committee on Circuit Rules, c/o Clerk of Court

    219 South Dearborn Street, Room 2722, Chicago, IL 60604

    USCA7_Clerk@ca7.uscourts.gov

    A redlined draft of the proposed rules changes can be viewed here.

  • April 04, 2024 11:06 AM | Paul Coogan (Administrator)

    The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is hosting its annual "Future Is Now: Legal Services Conference"  on April 18, 2024. The conference will be held virtually from 12-4:30 p.m. 

    Through speaker talks and interactive town hall discussions, the conference will explore issues of access to justice, allyship, attorney mental health and well-being, the practical and ethical use of AI, incivility in the courtroom, and more. 

    The speaker lineup includes: 

    • Illinois Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Rochford
    • Legal entrepreneur Jazz Hampton (of TurnSignl)
    • Cook County Circuit Court Judge Barbara Flores
    • Sixth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Matthew Lee
    • Legal technologist Damien Riehl (of vLex)
    • Legal ethicist Trish Rich
    • Best selling author on diversity and inclusion Michelle Silverthorn

    Four hours of professional responsibility CLE credit is available, including one hour of diversity and inclusion and one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE. 

    To register visit: thefutureisnow.2civility.org 

  • March 19, 2024 10:20 AM | Paul Coogan (Administrator)

    The First District of the Illinois Appellate Court's Legal Research Division is seeking new graduates and experienced attorneys with a passion for legal writing and a strong interest in appellate and criminal law for the position of Appellate Court Research Attorneys provide necessary and crucial assistance to the justices of the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court. Responsibilities in general include researching and analyzing applicable law and preparing draft orders, and other legal documents in matters before the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court. 

    EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: Applicants must be graduates of a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Applicants must possess excellent research, case analysis, and writing skills. Practicing attorneys and recent graduates are encouraged to apply.

    PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: This position requires the ability to sit for extended periods of time. This is a professional office working environment requiring telephone and computer usage and the ability to process written documents.

    Interested individuals are asked to submit a resume, writing sample, an official or unofficial law school transcript (initially to be used as an assessment of the types of classes taken by candidates), and a letter of interest stating how the candidate’s experience and qualifications connect with the required and preferred credentials, characteristics and priorities expressed in the position profile, via e-mail, to courtemployment@illinoiscourts.gov no later than April 5, 2024.


  • March 04, 2024 11:09 AM | Paul Coogan (Administrator)

    The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice is pleased to announce that six Illinois Supreme Court form sets have been posted for public comment. We ask for your feedback and suggestions to improve these draft forms, which are available on the IL Courts’ website. The draft forms are:

    • Petition for Leave to Appeal
    • Answer to Petition for Leave to Appeal
    • Notice of Election
    • Appellant’s Brief
    • Appellee’s Brief
    • Appellant’s Reply Brief  
    All form sets are available for public comment for 21 days which ends on March 22, 2024.  Your input is invaluable in refining these draft forms. You may submit comments through the website or directly to forms@illinoiscourts.gov.  After the public comment period ends, the feedback or suggestions received will be reviewed and necessary revisions made by the Appellate Forms Subcommittee before the forms are formally approved and published on the IL Courts’ website. 


  • February 16, 2024 2:54 PM | Paul Coogan (Administrator)

    The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is accepting applications for a full-time United States Magistrate Judge position in the Eastern Division, with the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse at Chicago, Illinois as the duty station. The deadline for the submission of completed applications is 5:00 p.m. on March 6, 2024. Applicants that applied to the recent U.S. Magistrate Judge position that closed on February 2, 2024, will be automatically considered for this vacancy. Filling this U.S. Magistrate Judge position is contingent upon the confirmation of a current U.S. Magistrate Judge as a U.S. District Judge and approval of the Seventh Circuit Judicial Council and of the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System. The candidate selected will be appointed only upon the successful completion of a Federal Bureau Investigation and Internal Revenue Service background check.


  • February 07, 2024 11:32 AM | Walker Mondt (Administrator)

    Justice William E. Holdridge of the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, is seeking a Judicial Law Clerk/Administrative Assistant for an opening in his chambers in Peoria, Illinois. This is a remote position with in-chambers presence only as needed. Applicant must be able to work independently. Illinois residency is required or willingness to obtain upon job offer.

    ESSENTIAL DUTIES:  The Judicial Law Clerk/Administrative Assistant will conduct legal research and draft memoranda, orders, and opinions for the Justice. Duties also include reviewing and editing the work of fellow clerks and administrative duties.

    EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:  Graduation from an ABA-accredited law school and licensed to practice law. Law review/journal experience and prior experience as a judicial law clerk and/or appellate lawyer is strongly preferred. Applicants with an outstanding academic record in core courses and superior research, analytical, and writing skills preferred.

    PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:  This position requires the ability to sit for extended periods of time. This is a professional office working environment requiring telephone usage and the ability to process and read large volumes of written documents in electronic formats.

    To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, one writing sample, law school transcript, and two references to holdridgeoffice@illinoiscourts.gov.  The position will remain open until filled.

  • January 26, 2024 3:52 PM | Paul Coogan (Administrator)

    Justice Mark M. Boie of the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District, is seeking a Judicial Secretary/Law Clerk for an opening in his chambers in Anna, Illinois. This is a remote position with in-chambers presence as needed. Illinois residency is required or willingness to obtain upon job offer. The salary for this position is $91,761 per year. 

    ESSENTIAL DUTIES:  The Judicial Secretary/Law Clerk will conduct legal research and draft memoranda, orders, and opinions for the Justice. Duties also include reviewing and editing the work of fellow clerks and administrative duties.

    EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:  Graduation from an ABA-accredited law school and licensed to practice law. Law review/journal experience and prior experience as a judicial law clerk and/or appellate lawyer is welcomed. Will consider all applicants with an excellent academic record in and superior research and writing skills.

    PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:  This position requires the ability to sit for extended periods of time. This is a professional office working environment requiring telephone usage and the ability to process and read large volumes of written documents in electronic formats.

    To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, writing sample, law school and undergraduate transcripts, and two references to courtemployment@illinoiscourts.gov. The position will remain open until filled.


  • January 26, 2024 3:18 PM | Paul Coogan (Administrator)

    This post was authored by Carson Griffis. Carson is counsel in the Litigation and Investigations group at Croke Fairchild Duarte & Beres, where his practice focuses on complex commercial litigation in both trial and appellate courts.

    In the age of e-filing, the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision in Waukegan Hospitality Group, LLC v. Stretch’s Sports Bar & Grill Corp., 2024 IL 129277, offers appellate practitioners several crucial lessons. First, it is important to confirm that a notice of appeal is being e-filed in the correct format under the local rules to reduce the likelihood that it will be rejected. Second, practitioners may want to consider submitting a notice of appeal for e-filing with enough time to resubmit the notice of appeal before the deadline in case it is rejected. Finally, if a notice of appeal is rejected after the deadline, practitioners should follow the appropriate procedures to create a record showing good cause or a reasonable excuse for the late filing.

    Waukegan Hospitality Group, LLC, initiated an eviction action in the Lake County circuit court. After a bench trial, the circuit court entered judgment in favor of the tenant on March 1, 2021. According to Waukegan Hospitality, it submitted a notice of appeal for e-filing on April 1, 2021, which the clerk rejected on April 6, 2021. Waukegan Hospitality resubmitted the notice of appeal the same day, which the circuit court clerk accepted.

    The appellate court dismissed Waukegan Hospitality’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction because its notice of appeal was untimely, and the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The Court emphasized that two potential avenues for relief exist if a notice of appeal submitted for e-filing is rejected after the relevant deadline has passed. First, under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 9(d)(2), “[i]f a document is rejected by the clerk and is therefore untimely, the filing party may seek appropriate relief from the [circuit] court, upon good cause shown.” Second, under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303(d), a reviewing court “may grant leave to appeal” on “motion supported by a showing of reasonable excuse for failure to file a notice of appeal on time, accompanied by the proposed notice of appeal and the filing fee, filed in the reviewing court within 30 days after the expiration of the time for filing a notice of appeal.”

    Although the Court did not lay out a specific test for what may constitute a “reasonable excuse” or “good cause,” it offered two examples of situations that might satisfy those standards. First, citing Bank of Herrin v. Peoples Bank of Marion, 105 Ill. 2d 305 (1985), the Court stated that it had found a “reasonable excuse” under Rule 303(d) when an attorney recorded the incorrect date of a final judgment and, after discovering the honest mistake, immediately did everything possible to correct the error. Second, the Court stated that the circuit court clerk’s erroneous application of local rules in rejecting a notice of appeal likely would be a “compelling case” of “good cause” or “reasonable excuse.”

    In Waukegan Hospitality’s case, however, it did not seek relief under Rules 9(d)(2) or 303(d), so the documents supporting its position were not in the record on appeal. Instead, Waukegan Hospitality simply included them in the appendix to its opening brief. Because they were not in the record, the Court disregarded them under the longstanding principle that materials outside the record may not be placed before a reviewing court in an appendix.

    Finally, the Court left open the question of whether Rule 9(d)(2) is a proper method of establishing appellate jurisdiction, noting the split of authority on that issue. Compare O’Gara v. O’Gara, 2022 IL App (1st) 210013, ¶¶ 46-47 (Rule 9(d)(2) may be used establish appellate jurisdiction) with Waukegan Hospitality Grp., LLC v. Stretch’s Sports Bar & Grill Corp., 2022 IL App (2d) 210179, ¶ 15 aff’d 2024 IL 129277 (Rule 9(d)(2) “may not apply to a notice of appeal” because circuit court loses jurisdiction 30 days after final judgment). Because Waukegan Hospitality had not sought relief under Rule 9(d)(2), its applicability to a notice of appeal was not before the Court.


  • January 25, 2024 9:54 AM | Paul Coogan (Administrator)

    This post was authored by by ALA Board Member Kimberly Glasford.

    When the trial court denies a defendant pretrial release under the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act (SAFE-T ACT), he may appeal under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(h) (eff. Sept. 18, 2023). Additionally, “[t]he appellant may file, but is not required to file, a memorandum” in support of the appeal. Id.

    In People v. Duckworth, 2024 IL App (5th) 230911, the defendant appealed the denial of pretrial release by filing the notice of appeal form approved by the Illinois Supreme Court. The defendant checked the boxes setting forth issues for appeal. He did not, however, elaborate on the grounds for relief in the spaces provided for that purpose. The Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD), which was appointed to represent the defendant, subsequently filed a notice indicating that he did not intend to file a memorandum under Rule 604(h).

    The State moved to dismiss the appeal, arguing that the notice of appeal was deficient given that defendant had merely checked the boxes. In response, the defendant, through OSAD, argued that checking the boxes was sufficient to show his desire to appeal and the notice itself conferred jurisdiction on the appellate court. OSAD further argued that the defendant’s arguments could be ascertained in a matter of minutes by reading the transcript.

    The appellate court found that the timely-filed notice of appeal was sufficient to invoke the court’s jurisdiction. Id. ¶ 5. That being said, the court rejected OSAD’s argument that the defendant was not required to provide arguments supporting the issues raised on appeal. Id.

    The reviewing court observed that Rule 604(h) requires a defendant’s notice of appeal to describe the relief requested and the grounds for that relief. Thus, some form of argument was required. Additionally, the reviewing court is not a depository into which the defendant may dump the burden of research and argument. Duckworth, 2024 IL App (5th) 230911, ¶ 6. “To presume, as contended by OSAD, that this court would present arguments on behalf of the appellant and then issue a ruling on those same arguments is both incredulous and contrary to well-established Illinois Supreme Court rules governing appeals.” Id. ¶ 7.

    The reviewing court found that the defendant failed to comply with Rule 604(h)’s requirement that the notice of appeal describe the grounds for the relief requested. Id. ¶¶ 6, 8. The defendant had also failed to cite evidence in the record or make any legal argument to support his claims. Id. ¶ 8. Furthermore, OSAD had declined to rectify these deficiencies. Id. Accordingly, the appellate court concluded that the defendant forfeited the issues raised on appeal, warranting dismissal. Id.

    Duckworth shows that while Rule 604(h) does not itself require a defendant to file a supporting memorandum, a defendant’s duty to present a proper argument nonetheless does require him to file one if his notice of appeal did not otherwise adequately develop his claims.


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