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Sexual Orientation and National Origin - Investigation

Question: Does the law prevent federal law enforcement officers from investigating someone because of their sexual orientation or national origin? Answer: Under the Justice Department's new guidelines, federal officers are banned from racial profiling based not only on race and ethnicity but also on religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. The new rules were designed to eliminate discrimination without hindering federal probes. Local or state police would need to abide by the rules only if they are working on a joint task force with federal officers. For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org.

Renewing your Driver's License as a Senior Citizen

Question: Can an elderly person be denied a driver's license due to age? Answer: If an elderly person has a safe driving record, then he or she can renew their driver's license for four years between the ages of 69 and 80. Up to the age of 86, they can renew for two years, and after 87 years, the license needs to be renewed annually. Drivers who are 74 or older at the time their current driver's license expires generally are required to renew their license in person at a local driver's license facility rather than opting for the safe driver renewal. For additional information visit the Secretary of State's website at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/. For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org.

Jury Pay Under Illinois Law

Question: How much money do jurors get paid for performing their civic duty? Answer: Under a new Illinois law effective in 2015, jurors will get an increase in pay to $25 for the first day and $50 for each additional day. Previously, Cook County paid $17.20 per day, with other Illinois counties paying a minimum of $4 to $10 a day. The law also reduces the number of jurors in civil cases from 12 to six. For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org.

Illinois Law Answers - Children and Medical Marijuana

Question: Under the state's new medical marijuana law, will children be allowed to use the drug? Answer: Children who reside in Illinois and have a qualifying medical condition will be allowed access to the drug. Those younger than 18 will need permission from a parent or legal guardian and must receive approval from their treating physician and a second doctor. Children may be given only marijuana-infused products such as food or liquid drops. For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org.

Hiring a Qualified Contractor - ISBA Answers

Question: One of our New Year's Resolutions is to pursue some remodeling projects in our home. How can we be sure we're hiring a qualified contractor? Answer: Get references, check backgrounds and verify credentials. Once you select a contractor, get everything in writing before the work begins. In Illinois, contractors doing home repairs or remodeling work for more than $1,000 must, by law, state the total cost, as well as a description of the work to be performed, a detailed list of materials, an explanation of how changes in orders will be handled, starting and estimated completion dates, a schedule and method of payment, and any written guarantees. For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org.

Webcast on the Ethics of Conflicts of Interest

On Thursday, February 19, 2015, Clifford Law Offices will sponsor a free two-hour continuing legal education program called "The Ethics of Conflicts of Interest" in the eighth annual Clifford Law Offices Continuing Legal Education Series. The program will provide attendees advice on the following questions:

Clifford Law Offices named on U.S.News-Best Lawyers list of 2015 Best Law Firms

U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, for the fifth consecutive year, announce the 2015 "Best Law Firms" rankings and Clifford Law Offices of Chicago ranked a Tier 1 in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Plaintiffs' Personal Injury Litigation and Plaintiffs' Product Liability Litigation. It ranked a Tier 2 in the area of Plaintiff's Medical Malpractice Law. Firms included in the 2015 "Best Law Firms" list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. "For 30 years, U.S. News has provided consumers with accurate, in-depth information and rankings of a wide range of institutions," said Tim Smart, Executive Editor of U.S. News & World Report. "Law firms are an integral part of our rankings and a natural accompaniment to the law school rankings." The 2015 rankings are based on the highest number of participating firms and highest number of client ballots on record. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the U.S. More than 17,000 attorneys provided almost 600,000 law firm assessments, and almost 7,500 clients provided more than 40,000 evaluations. "For five years, we have combined massive amounts of hard data with peer reviews and client assessments to develop our law firm rankings," said Steven Naifeh, CEO and Co-Founder of Best Lawyers. "Increasingly, clients tell us that ours are the most thorough, accurate, and helpful rankings of law firms available anywhere." Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity. Awards were given in 74 national practice areas and 120 metropolitan practice areas. One "Law Firm of the Year" is named in 73 of the nationally ranked practice areas. The 2015 "Best Law Firms" list will be featured in two publications, distributed later this month. The national first-tier rankings will be featured in the second edition of the "Best Law Firms" Legal Issue, which will be distributed to over 30,000 C-level executives. National and metropolitan first-tier rankings will be featured in the "Best Law Firms" General Counsel Publication, which will be distributed to more than 30,000 in-house counsel and in digital format to more than 60,000 private practice lawyers worldwide. The 2015 "Best Law Firms" rankings can be seen in their entirety by visiting bestlawfirms.usnews.com.

Bob Clifford Writes Article about Picking and Talking to a Jury

Senior Partner at Clifford Law Offices, Robert A. Clifford, wrote an article for GP Solo, a publication of the American Bar Association (ABA), "How to Pick and Talk to a Jury: Plaintiff Perspective." In the article, Clifford goes into detail in regards to the jury. He discusses the role of the jurors, the ethics of voir dire, the importance of juror questionnaires, and more. He even provides several real-life examples of jurors in the courtroom. In his ABA article, Clifford advises to acknowledge the jurors and thank them, as they took time from their personal, daily lives to be part of the jury. He says, "Coming across as professional and prepared goes a long way toward establishing your credibility. This means your command of the process has a direct impact on your impression. To this end, have a full understanding of how your judge conducts voir dire." Robert A. Clifford has had extensive firsthand experience with the American Bar Association. He served a nine-year term as the Illinois State Delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates. He was inducted in 2005 and completed his third and final three-year term this year. To read the ABA article in its entirety, please visit: http://bit.ly/1zB1ULV.

Robert Clifford Teaches at Fred Lane's ISBA Trial Technique Institute

On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices, was one of the "celebrity" instructors at Fred Lane's ISBA Trial Technique Institute. Clifford lectured on the subject of opening statements. The institute, sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association, focuses on improving trial skills by hands-on learning. The students, who are practicing attorneys, practice trial techniques that are consistent with the Federal Rules of Evidence and Illinois' Rules of Evidence. Fred Lane, a respected trial attorney and author, has been teaching these programs for years. His program qualifies for a total of 54 hours MCLE credit, including 54 hours PMCLE credit. To learn about Fred Lane's ISBA Trial Technique Institute, click here. To learn more about Robert A. Clifford, click here.

Housing Law For Service Pets

Question: My condominium rules prohibit unit owners from keeping pets unless they are service animals or for medical reasons. What constitutes a "medical reason?"   Answer: Under the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, condominium boards must allow a reasonable accommodation for trained service animals or emotional support animals. While emotional support animals do not have to be trained, an applicant - in order to keep one in his or her unit - typically must show proof of a mental impairment that substantially limits his or her major life activities. Often this requires a written statement from a mental health professional.   For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com. If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org.

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