FALL 2011 NEWS ARCHIVE
ILLINOIS ESTATE TAX EXEMPTION HEADED FOR INCREASE | GOV. HELPS DECEASED FAMILIES OBTAIN MEDICAL RECORDS
On the Governor's Desk: Increase in Estate Tax Exemption
_Some argue that the increase is folly in the face of a state desperately in need of revenue. However, the federal estate tax exemption, currently at $5 million, may be decreasing in the coming years and there's discussion about the federal government crediting some of the collected estate taxes back to the states if the decrease goes into effect. First, the Governor must sign the bill. Though death and taxes are certain, when and how much are always questionable. So stay tuned...
_The program, "Understanding the Illinois Civil Union Act," will air on Chicago Access Network Television, Channel 21.
Gov. Quinn Helps Family of Deceased Loved Ones
Illinois citizens who once had to go through the arduous and costly process of probate to obtain the medical records of deceased loved ones, can now do so in a simpler, faster way. Governor Pat Quinn signed SB1694 that allows family members to obtain by written request the medical records of deceased family members. Family members requesting documents must be "authorized," i.e., a surviving souse, adult son or daughter, parent, or adult sibling. An Authorized Relative Certification must also be signed and the statutory fee paid. Still, the fee is not as much as the costs that would be incurred in opening probate. Hat tip: Colleague, Stephen L. Hoffman.
Catholic Charities Concedes to Civil Union Law
We reported earlier, that Catholic Charities refused to recognize the Illinois Civil Union Act that was passed in June 2011. The organization argued that it was exempt from the law because of its religious convictions and thus, should be able to place children where it wanted. This placement, of course, excluded the placement of children in loving, same-sex couple homes. Governor Quinn responded that if Catholic Charities refused to abide by the law, then it would lose its Illinois contracts, which require all organizations contracting with the State of Illinois to abide by state law. A legal battle ensued until November 15, 2011 when Catholic Charities conceded and decided to no longer pursue contracts with the state.
America's Largest Income Base Is Decreasing
The New York Times recently published an article about a new report indicating that traditional and predominantly middle class neighborhoods were shrinking. It's unsure why editors would find that this report news because those of us in the middle class, the largest income class in America, have known about this for quite some time. In fact, it is one of the reasons behind the reason for The Law Offices coming into being.
Rising from America's middle class are teachers, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, mid-level managers, retailers, basically all those folks who manage to keep this country's engines running. So, this class more than any class needs legal services to help it protect its families and its interests. The Law Offices' doesn't toot its horn too often in public, but this report and the recent news about the slashing of federal funding for legal aid clinics is why we believe that providing affordable, basic legal services to the middle class is so important and are proud to do so.
We Held a FREE Seminar for Single Moms!
The CBA Alliance for Women Supports Local Efforts to Address Domestic Violence
Tuesday, October 25, 2011, Dawn Dalton, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Battered Women's Network will be speaking at the Chicago Bar Association about the organization's Domestic Violence Court Watch program. Ms. Dalton will be speaking at the Alliance for Women Committee meeting from noon until 1:15 PM at the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL. Completing the second year of observations, Ms. Dalton will release the organization's findings compiled from volunteer observations in both the criminal and civil courts.
A Suggestion to Combine the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office with the County Clerk's Office
Combining the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office, where property records, tax liens, etc. are kept with the County Clerk's office, where records of birth, death, and marriage are maintained, is being considered. Cook County Commissioner, John Fritchey, asserts that the move would save the County at least one million dollars. County Clerk, David Orr, has the suggestion under advisement. One issue that should also be considered is the jobs that may be lost as a result of this move.The full story is available here.
ABA Section of International Law International Human Rights (IHRC) Committee Member Seeks to Help Women and Children Suffering in Haiti's Camps
Royce Murray, a member of the ABA's Section of International Law IHRC started a personal campaign in September 2011 to provide lights for women in the camps for displaced in Haiti. After the earthquake of 2010 thousands of Haitians were placed in camps because of the destruction wrent upon their homes. However, many of these camps proved to be dangerous for women and girls who were routinely raped and victimized at night. Murray's campaign, "Royce's Lighting Hope for Haiti" seeks to raise funds to provide solar flashlights for women and girls in an effort to address the violence. Nominal donations make a large difference. For more information and to make a donation, visit Royce's campaign page.
ABA's IHRC Kicks Off Its Human Trafficking Series
Human trafficking is a horrific crime that transcends national boundaries whose web weaves throughout the United States, affecting women, girls, and men. The American Bar Association's Section of International Law International Human Rights Committee, is holding a 4-part series addressing the issue.
The first program in the series, Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery on a Global Scale, took place Friday, October 14, 2011 from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. GMT in Dublin, Ireland.
The second program, Human Trafficking: Is Its Solution Beyond the Scope of Domestic Mechanisms, was held Thursday, October 27, 2011 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. ET in Washington D.C.
Programs three and four will take place next year in Chicago and New York, respectively. Stay tuned for information on those programs.
Cook County Bar Association Foundation's Legal Clinic Provides Free Services to Those In Need
On Saturday, October 29, 2011, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, the Cook County Bar Association Foundation sponsored a legal clinic at the Apostolic Church of God, 6320 S. Dorchester Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Licensed attorneys, including The Law Offices were on hand for initial consultation and counseling on various legal matters. Contact the CCBA Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org 0r 312.759,1212 for more information.
Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago (BWLA) Kicked Off Its Roundtable Series September 22
The BWLA Roundtable Luncheon Committee in conjunction with Al Kola & Associates present the first roundtable of its 2011-12 series: "Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions: The Effect of Padilla v. Kentucky on Your Practice." Topics will include steps defense attorneys can take to comply with Padilla and consequences immigrants face because of criminal offenses.
The Honorable Camela Gardner of the Illinois Department of Human Services will moderate. Panelists include:
The Illinois State Bar Association Helps Protect Seniors
During the month of September, the Illinois State Bar Association is airing programs to provide information on how seniors can avoid scams particularly targeted toward them and identity theft. Chicago attorney Gilda Hudson-Winfield will be participating, among others. The programs will be aired on Chicago's Cable Access Network Television (CANTV Channel 21), Tuesdays September 6, 13, and 20 at 10:00 PM.
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