ISC Rules Committee to hold hearing on proposed changes

The Madison County Record Jan. 23, 2008, 6:41am

The Rules Committee of the Illinois Supreme Court will hear comments at a public hearing next week on several proposals, including the regulation of attorneys licensed outside of Illinois who want to appear in a specific proceeding in Illinois.

The Illinois Supreme Court issued a press release Wednesday with details.

Other proposals would allow corporate house counsel, inactive and retired Illinois attorneys to perform pro bono legal services; establish procedural and other rules with regard to municipal ordinance violations; set word limits on the filing of legal briefs in Illinois appellate courts; allow a judge in a civil trial to distribute copies of the legal instructions in a case to each of the jurors; and clarify the time limits for filing briefs in appellate cases.

The hearing is scheduled at 10 a.m., Monday, Jan. 28 at 160 N. LaSalle St., Room C-500.

According to the release, the proposal to allow attorneys licensed in other states or countries to appear in isolated proceedings in Illinois establishes a strict application procedure and requires a nonrefundable $250 application fee.

The application would be reviewed by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, and the commission's administrator would forward a report to the judge or agency which would make a final decision.

The new regulations are embodied in a new Rule 707.

The current Rule 707 is entitled Pro Hac Vice and consists of a single sentence, giving a court discretion to allow participation in a case by an attorney not licensed in Illinois. The proposed rule is entitled Permission for Foreign Attorneys to Appear in Isolated Proceedings and consists of several pages.

The new proposal also would require an Illinois-licensed attorney to appear as co-counsel in the proceeding.

The proposal is based on a model rule adopted by the American Bar Association in 2002, said Jerome Larkin, administrator of the ARDC which proposed the change.

Larkin is scheduled to testify in support of the proposed rule at the hearing.

The proposed rule to authorize house counsel, inactive and retired attorneys to offer free legal services to persons of limited means through a not-for-profit legal services organization is offered by the Chicago Bar Foundation.

Currently, retired attorneys and those on inactive status are prohibited from practicing law in Illinois. The proposal amends Rules 756 and 716.

A new set of rules offered by a committee of municipal attorneys would set procedures in proceedings involving municipal ordinances. They would be embodied in new rules numbered Rule 570 through Rule 581.

Wayne Karplus, prosecutor for Normal, said the proposals are an attempt to apply existing case and statutory law uniformly among all municipalities in the various circuits.

Additional members of the committee were prosecutors from Downers Grove, Peoria, Urbana and Champaign.

A proposal by the Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions in Civil Cases would amend Rule 239 to allow a judge to distribute a written copy of the legal instructions in the case to each juror and permit each juror to take the written copy into the jury room for deliberations.

Kent Heller, former chair of the committee, said that under the current practice, only one copy of the instructions is generally sent to the jury room.

The text of all of the proposed rules are posted on the Supreme Court website at To view the proposals, select the tab titled "Courts" on the home page and click on "Supreme." Next, click on the subsection titled "Supreme Court Committee Public Hearings."

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