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Bar Leader Weekly

Issue 214 | July 29

Highlights from Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Bar Foundation Task Force Report

Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Bar Foundation Task Force Recommends Regulatory Reforms
Last week, the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law and Innovation released recommendations for several reforms but stopped short of endorsing nonlawyer ownership of law firms. One notable recommendation, according to The American Lawyer, is to establish an "intermediary model" in which solo practitioners and small firms could affiliate with larger networks for branding and ancillary services such as administration and technology. Bloomberg Law delves further into the technology aspect, explaining that if this recommendation were approved by the Illinois Supreme Court, lawyers and nonlawyers could co-own operations that would then become "Approved Legal Technology Providers." Also, at his BOBservations blog, CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves shares his thoughts on innovation, the legal market, and why he thinks regulatory reforms are needed.

Bar Exam News: Louisiana Allows Diploma Privilege, Illinois Shifts to Remote Format
Recent developments in two states have further reshaped what would have been the July 2020 bar exam: Last week, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued an order permitting diploma privilege for certain qualified candidates, and the Illinois Supreme Court announced that the in-person Illinois bar exam that had been rescheduled to September will now be a remote exam in October. A press release from the Louisiana Supreme Court indicates that, along with other requirements, applicants who are granted diploma privilege must compete 25 hours of continuing legal education and the Louisiana State Bar Association's Transition into Practice mentoring program, both by December 31, 2021. The Illinois decision follows the court's recent rejection of a petition by many bar applicants who sought diploma privilege instead. The Chicago Tribune has more information.

Does Your Bar Have a Crisis Communications Strategy? Here's How to Build One
What's the largest uninsured asset for your bar or your law firm? Its reputation, according to Bruce M. Hennes, crisis management and communications expert. Particularly with today's 24/7 news cycle and ever-present social media, he writes at the National Law Review, an ineffective response to a crisis (such as sexual misconduct, malfeasance, data theft, or layoffs) can seriously damage that reputation. Hennes, a frequent faculty member at the ABA Bar Leadership Institute, outlines why your organization needs a crisis communications strategy, how to build a good one, and how to ensure that everyone knows how to use it effectively.

Virtual Court Is in Session, But How Well Does It Work for Everyone?
When physical courthouses across the country closed, many state and federal courts began conducting their business remotely. This has included conducting hearings and, in some cases, trials via videoconferencing and teleconferencing. Pragmatic as this may be, it's had some serious consequences, according to a report released last week by the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. Among the two biggest issues identified in the report are the digital divide (varying levels of internet access and technical skills) and due process (in that one or more parties may not be fully heard because critical information and nonverbal cues are lost). What are the other concerns this organization raises about "Zoom courts?" Find out at Ambrogi's LawSites blog.

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