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Yes, it's true. The Illinois Supreme Court has (finally) officially approved its Rules of Evidence.

I remember my first encounter with the Illinois Rules of Evidence. Although I practice in Illinois, most of my legal education was in Florida. Overall, where you get your legal education doesn't matter, but when I moved here, I just thought all states have their own state rules of procedure and evidence. Then when I was practicing here, one of my colleagues broke the news to me. I was crushed. Apparently, here in Illinois, you have to search case law to determine what it is acceptable in the realm of evidence.

But no more! Now Illinois has its own Rules of Evidence. As of January 1, 2011, when the Rules go into effect, our lives will be that much easier. (ps: good for clients too because it means less research for us = less cost to clients ? )

Major changes include:

  • Revising Rule 101 to clarify that the rules do not intend to abrogate or supercede any existing statutory rules of evidence;
  • Temporarily reserving Rule 407 which dealt with remedial measures taken in product liability cases until the Supreme Court rules on a pending case, Jablonski v. Ford Motor Co.
  • Revising Rule 702 to affirm that Illinois remains a state adhering to the core principles of the Frye test for admissibility of scientific evidence as set forth in Donaldson v. Central Illinois Public Service Co., 199 Ill. 2nd 63 (2002).
  • Reserving Rule
...
What's truly the difference between an 'elite' school and a 'third tier' school? Who is smarter? A cum laude graduate of said third tier school or a Harvard Law graduate who barely made it?

Professors from UCLA and Brooklyn Law Schools have analyzed data from studies and concluding that yes, law school grades are more of an indication of a successful legal career than attending an 'elite' school.

Not surprisingly, the indicator of 'success' in a legal career was income. Which begs the question? What determines if a lawyer is successful? The part that is unclear to me is that there are many factors in the legal career itself that determine income. Corporate attorneys inherently make more money than say, a criminal defense attorney working for the government. They could be equally intelligent and legally savvy. How is that factored in higher-income=better-attorney formula? Or what if an attorney is really good at being a lawyer, but not very business savvy (if s/he is running a practice that is?)

Since I'm relatively new to the legal community (aside law school), I'm curious to hear from attorneys (or clients) the profile of what they consider to be a successful attorney.

Good Luck, Bar Examiners!

When you read the words 'Board of Bar Examiners,' what comes to your mind? For me, it's a bunch of old, white (mostly bald, some overweight) men wearing grey suits sitting at a long oval table in leather chairs with mean, scary looks. I picture them trying to come up with various ways to torture the scared-to-death recent JD's.

I admit I'm not so scared anymore these days. I've been there, done that. I'm taking the Florida bar next Tuesday. I'll be one of the calmer ones, but it wasn't always like that. I remember the first time I took the bar exam and what an awful day it was- the way I wandered around Chicago trying to find the building (the address was hidden above the door). I found a small UPS store where I cried and asked to use their computer to access mapquest. I made it finally about 5 minutes before I was due. And that was the just the beginning.

In any case, after 2 days, 10 grueling essays, and 200 multiple choice questions (and a 5 hour energy drink), I passed the exam. And here I am once again.

Thankfully, the Florida bar exam is faaaar more redundant than the Illinois bar (based on my observation of the study guides provided by the Board). I admit I am taking a far more nonchalant and calm attitude. I've read so many essays, they're falling out of my ears and I'm starting to ...

Litigation Attorneys for the Win?

One of the attorneys I work with saw all the work I was doing for an upcoming trial and said 'once you're done with this, you'll want to be a transactional lawyer.'

Interestingly enough, a part of me enjoys litigation. Yes, the documents and information can be overwhelming at times, but believe it or not, I think it's worth it. So far at least. It's — I dunno — more fun? I feel like I would get bored with just doing transactional work. I guess only time will tell.
The internet has been around in the mainstream since the early 90's... but cyberlaw- hmm, not so much. Finally, governments are catching on the reality of this beast called the internet. Specifically, cyber attacks, cybercrimes, and cyberbullying have been a huge fear as of late. As our world becomes more wired and interdependent, the smallest wrench in the system can cost billions of dollars as well as the loss of extremely valuable information. The internet also could easily be used as a tool to harm innocent persons.

The fear of cyberattacks specifically prompted the US to consider passing the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (also known as the 'internet kill switch'). China, to combat dissent, is creating an 'Internet real name system' to reduce anonymity on the internet. I am not advocating suppressing dissent or freedom of speech, but it's interesting to analyze the ways countries are handling the unique situations that the internet presents. For example, it is much easier to ruin someone's reputation on the internet than in print media. On print, it costs a lot more money to re-print an article and once the news is old, it is stored somewhere in a corner on a microfilm. The internet is another story. Information could be easily copied and pasted and Emailed and posted. Defamatory content could spread all over the internet in minutes. And when that news is old, it is easy google-able by employers, friends, and pretty much ...