More ISBA tidbits

October 3, 2008
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From IL reporter Michael Hoskins:

Five newer faces on the federal bench (or at least, ones in relatively new roles) came together Thursday afternoon at the ISBA annual meeting. They were Magistrate Jane Magnus-Stinson, selected about two years ago to replace retired Magistrate V. Sue Shields; Judge William T. Lawrence, who's been recently elevated from magistrate in the Southern District; Magistrate Debra McVicker Lynch, who has been chosen by the Southern District to replace Lawrence and hopes that can happen by Dec. 1 following an ongoing FBI check; Judge Joe Van Bokkelen in the Northern District, who took his judicial seat last year; and Judge John D. Tinder, who's been promoted to the 7th Circuit from the Southern District. The group talked about their new roles and what they like and don't like to see from lawyers.

Judge Lawrence quoted one of his colleagues on a question he often receives: What's the best path to becoming a judge? He and Judge Sarah Evans Barker say, "The best path to a judicial career is the one you see in the rearview mirror."

Judge Tinder noted how transportation is the biggest challenge so far in his new role, since he's expected to be in Chicago for arguments roughly 35 days of the year. He’s tried different modes of transportation, and it all equates to time lost traveling. The 7th Circuit hears more arguments than any of its sister appellate Circuit Courts, and with all the other duties he has (such as reviewing rehearing petitions in about 25 percent of all cases), Judge Tinder says it's all a challenge he hadn't anticipated.

Judge Van Bokkelen shared that magistrates in his District handle all settlement matters, and judges don't even see most cases until the discovery process is complete. Judge Lawrence noted how common settlement negotiations are in the lower District, and also encouraged state appellate attorneys to cross over into the federal arena more often, especially since the federal courts use case management plans that state appellate level does not.
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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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