"The Brief" - The ALA Blog

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  • December 09, 2013 4:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For almost two years now, the Illinois Supreme Court has been implementing its e-filing initiative. On October 21, 2013, the Association presented a luncheon program in Chicago that focused on updates to the e-filing system. The program featured Illinois Appellate Court Justice Ann B. Jorgensen (Second District); Clerk of the Illinois Supreme Court Carolyn Taft Grosboll; and Chief Deputy Clerk Melissa Roth.

    Justice Jorgensen updated the members and guests with the e-filing program in the counties. Deputy Clerk Roth also provided a live e-filing demonstration. Clerk Grosboll addressed the Association by discussing a brief history on the position of the Illinois Supreme Court Clerk and the operations of the Supreme Court Clerk’s office. Grosboll noted that her father was the last elected Clerk of the Supreme Court and served from 1968 to 1975. Clell Woods was the first appointed Clerk, and Juleann Hornyak served the office for more than 28 years before her retirement. Grosboll has been the Clerk since January 2011.

    In addition to tracking the Court’s case filings, Grosboll’s office maintains the master roll of attorneys, processes the licensing of all attorneys in Illinois, and oversees the registration of the law firms doing business in Illinois.

    With respect to the e-business initiative in the courts, Grosboll explained that the Supreme Court began the e-filing pilot project in January 2012. After the pilot program was successful, the Court expanded e-filing of all cases on the Court’s general and MR dockets. Grosboll noted that, since the Clerk’s office began the program, it has successfully e-filed approximately 1,200 documents. The Clerk’s office is also in the process of creating a new case management system for all of the Illinois courts of review. Grosboll anticipated that the new system will go live in March 2015 in the Supreme Court, and the entire process will be completed in 2016.

  • December 09, 2013 4:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the second consecutive year, the Association co-sponsored an appellate practice seminar with Southern Illinois University School of Law. Held on October 23, 2013, the afternoon seminar followed a morning session of oral argument of the Illinois Appellate Court of Illinois, Fifth District, at the law school in Carbondale.  

    The seminar focused on "Professionalism and Appellate Practice." SIU School of Law Dean Cynthia Fountaine began the seminar with comments on the challenges faced by the profession. A panel discussion on ethics immediately followed. Past ALA president Bill Hardy, of Hinshaw & Culbertson, L.L.P., moderated a panel that gave perspectives from the appellate court, the circuit court, and the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. Justice Richard P. Goldenhersh of the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District; Judge Christy W. Solverson of the First Judicial Circuit Court; and Peter Rotskoff, Chief of Litigation & Professional Education for the ARDC, participated in the panel discussion.

    Thereafter, past ALA President J. Timothy Eaton, who currently serves as president of the Chicago Bar Association, lectured on "Tips on Appellate Practice: From the Notice of Appeal to Petition for Rehearing." The seminar concluded with a judicial panel discussion on appellate practice. ALA President Brad Elward, of Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C., moderated the panel.  Justices Judy Cates, Melissa A. Chapman, and Bruce D. Stewart of the Illinois Appellate Court of Illinois, Fifth District, served on the panel along with the Clerk of the Court John J. Flood.
  • December 09, 2013 4:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On December 2, 2013, the Association sponsored the "Illinois Supreme Court Criminal Law Update" brown bag luncheon. The event offered guests an opportunity to gain insight and hear colorful commentary on recent developments in criminal law from justices on the Illinois Appellate Court and experienced appellate practitioners.


    Justice Daniel L. Schmidt answers a question during the Illinois Supreme Court Criminal Law Update brown bag luncheon held in Chicago.

    ALA President Brad Elward welcomed guests and thanked Jenner & Block for hosting the event. President Elward then turned to ALA Secretary and Illinois Solicitor General Michael Scodro, who moderated the panel. Scodro introduced the distinguished panel, which included Justice Patrick J. Quinn of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District; Justice Daniel L. Schmidt of the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, and Patricia Unsinn, Deputy Illinois Appellate Defender. 

    The panel discussed a range of issues related to criminal law, including the second amendment, double jeopardy, mandatory life sentences for juveniles, searches and seizures under the fourth amendment, direct criminal contempt, and corpus delecti. The panel discussed developments related to double jeopardy in light of the United States Supreme Court's holding in Evans v. Michigan, 133 S. Ct. 1069 (2013), that a midtrial acquittal resulting from a trial court erroneously adding an additional statutory element resulted in jeopardy attaching. The panel also discussed People v. Martinez, 2013 IL 113475, where the court held that jeopardy did not attach when charges against the defendant were dismissed after a directed verdict finding where the State presented no evidence against the defendant to support a conviction.  With respect to direct criminal contempt, Justice Quinn discussed  People v. Geiger, 2012 IL 11318, where the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the appellate court's determination to uphold the imposition of a 20-year sentence on a defendant who refused to testify as a State's witness during a murder trial. Justice Schmidt, who was on the appellate court panel, graciously shared his thoughts while offering witty commentary resulting from his years serving as a police officer in Peoria. 

    The ALA thanks the panel members for an insightful and detailed discussion. 

    DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.
  • December 09, 2013 4:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Each year, the Association gathers during the first weekend in November to host its annual moot court competition. The competition furthers the ALA's tradition of fostering and encouraging the highest professional and ethical standards in appellate advocacy by providing law students an opportunity to write an appellate brief and to present oral arguments before distinguished reviewing court jurists and appellate practitioners.  


    A participant addresses the bench during the Association's annual moot court competition.

    This year's competition kicked off on Friday, November 1st at the Dirksen federal building in Chicago. As in the past, the competition drew teams from Texas to New York, as well as from many local schools. During the preliminary rounds, participants presented oral arguments before ALA members, who served as judges. After the preliminary rounds, Sidley Austin LLP generously hosted a reception. Association President Brad Elward provided welcoming remarks while ALA members and participants mingled over cocktails and hor d'oeuvres. Thereafter, the moot court committee announced the teams advancing to the semi final round.

    The competition continued the next day, in which Florida Coastal School of Law bested Benjamin N. Cardozo in the final round. Justice William E. Holdridge of the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, presided over the final bench.  Justice Donald Hudson of the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, and Illinois Solicitor General and ALA Secretary Michael Scodro joined Justice Holdridge.


    Justice William E. Holdridge presiding over the final argument.

    The problem asked the participants to argue, from both the appellant's and appellee's perspective, a complex problem involving the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Specifically, the issue involved whether an employee acted “without authorization” when he accessed confidential and proprietary business information from his employer’s computer that he had permission to access, but then used that information in a manner inconsistent with the employer’s interests, and where the employee intended to use the information in that manner at the time of access. Participants also argued whether the electronic discovery costs were recoverable by the prevailing party under Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, when those costs included electronic data storage, extracting metadata, hard-drive imaging, file conversion, and other e-discovery.

    The ALA congratulates all students who participated in the program; and thanks the Appellate Court justices and ALA members who served as judges, the competition's sponsors, and the moot court committee for another successful competition.
  • December 09, 2013 4:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At his installation last June, ALA President Brad Elward outlined his vision of increasing the number of Association events held outside of Chicago so appellate practitioners downstate would have more opportunities to attend our programs. Toward that end, on November 13, 2013, the Association teamed with the Winnebago County Bar Association for a luncheon at the Forest Hills Country Club in Rockford.

    ALA President Brad Elward welcomed Presiding Justice Michael J. Burke, Justices Kathryn E. Zenoff, and Joseph E. Birkett of the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, and thanked the WCBA for its efforts in organizing the event. Presiding Justice Burke brought the audience up to date on the state of e-filing in the appellate court. Justice Zenoff, whose chambers are in Rockford, recognized many practitioners in attendance. She discussed and explained the Illinois Supreme Court Rules regarding briefs and oral arguments. Keeping with the cordial atmosphere of the luncheon, Justice Birkett joked that, to attorneys who do not practice appellate law, the rules and sections of the Code of Civil Procedure  - “Rule 303, 308, 341, section 2-619, hike” - were similar to football plays that made no sense. Justice Birkett went on to explain the rules regarding interlocutory appeals.

    The Association thanks Holly Nash and the Winnebago County Bar Association for its assistance in organizing the luncheon.


    DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

  • February 20, 2013 3:02 PM | Deleted user
    This blog will be a place where members can post their comments and ask questions of colleagues. Please keep the tone of this blog professional.
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DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

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