Jayne Reardon, September 2019 CALL Business Meeting Featured Speaker

September 2019 Business Meeting with Jayne Reardon

Jayne Reardon, September 2019 CALL Business Meeting Featured SpeakerWe held our September 2019 business meeting at Wildfire with Jayne Reardon, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.

Ms. Reardon shared concerns about changes in the legal profession, both for lawyers and access to legal services. She also discussed proposed rule updates for professional conduct around fee sharing and finding clients.

September 2019 CALL Business Meeting at WildfireSeventy-one people registered for this meeting, which was sponsored by Law Bulletin Media and Deal Point Data.

Peter Mierzwa and Michael Bunting introduced Lawyerport, Law Bulletin Media’s new online platform that, in essence, puts everything it does in one place.

Tom Quinn and Adrian Easterbrook discussed their platform, Deal Point Data, which emphasizes person-focused (rather than AI- and big databased) transactional research.

Inviting Stakeholders

At this meeting, we also introduced an initiative to invite stakeholders from outside of law librarianship to our business meetings.

Mike Bologna, Bloomberg BNAOur first such stakeholder was Mike Bologna, a reporter for Bloomberg. Mike has written for Bloomberg for 25 years. He currently covers tax news in Illinois and around the nation. He noted that this previous year’s state legislature was the most productive he has seen in the time he has covered it. Prior to this, he was based in New York and Nairobi.

Featured Speaker

Jayne Reardon, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

Jayne Reardon is an advocate for professionalism in the legal profession. She works to promote civility among practitioners, inclusiveness in the profession, and increased service to the public.

Impact of Professional Conduct Rules

Her discussion focused on how legal innovation has come to implicate certain rules of professional conduct in limiting the efficiency of attorneys. She discussed how this impacts a variety of stakeholders, including librarians, the general public, and other professionals.

Jayne specifically pointed to rules that cover the restriction of fee sharing with non-lawyers, restrictions on referral fees, and the unauthorized practice of law.

All of these together lead to a system in which certain members of the public lose the opportunity to pursue legal matters. This is especially counter-intuitive when one looks at the legal practice and research tools that we now have access to.

What is Legal Work?

Over time, attorneys have come to spend more time, managing parts of the practice that aren’t what have traditionally been thought of as legal work. When they spend less time on legal work, it decreases their reach.

Allowing increased collaboration with other professionals may allow attorneys to work with more people. This is especially true for solo practitioners, who are more likely to work with low-income clients, the people who could most benefit from legal technology innovation.

With a booming legal technology industry, access to legal services should be increasing, but that hasn’t proven to be the case. Various groups have taken this on as a cause, including the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers.

Regulatory Reform

Some states, including California, Arizona, and Utah are at various stages of recommending and implementing regulatory changes to ease the burdens of providing legal services, and Illinois is looking at attorney-client matching services and is set to recommend to the Supreme Court to allow for-profit matching companies.

As legal work becomes increasingly unshackled from time and place, information professionals and other stakeholders could become more involved with attorneys and their decision-making processes. With these blurred lines, we need to make sure ethical regulations allow us to provide the kind of service we would anticipate from the advancement of legal technology.

Q&A with the Speaker

 Q: Large firms may be concerned about working with large accounting firms. If the rules are relaxed, what prevents accounting firms from taking over that work?

A: It’s not the accounting firms, but the attorneys who work there. The ethical rules should be in place to help people, and putting walls between firms is not a valid reason for blocking increased effectiveness.

Q&A with Jayne Reardon
Q&A with Jayne Reardon

Q: Have you thought about existential threat of machine learning for simple tasks? Providing access to moderate-income people would be good, but this could eliminate some bread-and-butter tasks of certain attorneys. What if we have Legal Zoom at a much higher level?

A: The real question is not whether people get legal services from machine or lawyers; it’s whether they get legal services at all. As for Legal Zoom, it still needs attorneys, especially to help scale to the level you suggest.

Q: Regarding access-to-justice and the over concentration of attorneys in urban areas, is anyone looking into loan forgiveness for public defenders in both urban and rural areas?

A: Some ABA committees have looked at this, but it hasn’t gone anywhere. It has also been looked at in the medical field, but I’m not sure if it has been successful.

Q: Why is it ethical for a service to charge a referral fee? If a doctor recommends an oncologist, he doesn’t get a fee.

A: It’s not about individual referrals so much as it is about matching platforms. People find each other online these days, and fee-based platforms should be allowed to meet this reality.

Committee Updates

Nominations and Elections

Clare Willis noted that the call for nominations would be coming soon. She is happy to talk about potential candidates for vice president, treasurer, and director.

Continuing Education

Tom Keefe mentioned the webinar on Tuesday, September 17 about nailing your AMPC proposal. Presenters will be Shari Berkowitz Duff and Diana Kopang. More information is available in a September 12 post on the CALL website.

Community Service

Nan Norton announced that donations are to the Alliance for the Great Lakes. There will be a day of service on September 28, which will involve a beach cleanup at Montrose beach. The cleanup is scheduled for 9:00, and weather permitting there will be a 6:45 birdwatch.

Scott Burgh legislative updateScott Burgh followed up on the amendment to House Bill 106. While records from the coroner’s office are currently $5 per page, the coroners came up with a recommendation for a flat fee of $15 for records 20 years or older. There will be a veto session later in the fall. When the time comes, Scott would like people to sign witness slips in support at the next Rules Committee hearing where it is discussed.

Mentorship & Leadership Development

Sally Holterhoff for Mentorship & Leadership DevelopmentSally Holterhoff announced that the committee will maintain a list of publications and presentations. If you have anything you would like included, please send it to Lyo. Sally also noted that the mentoring form allows to note your interests, which may help the matching process.

Lastly, Sally mentioned the October 1 tour and lecture at the federal court library. This is a joint venture with Continuing Education and Government Relations. It will feature a talk from Gretchen Van Dam. More information is available in a September 18 post on the CALL website.


Eugene Giudice for Meetings CommitteeEugene Giudice announced the Autumn Happy Hour on October 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 at Taste 222 (222 N. Canal). Robert Martin will be there, so this will be a great opportunity to catch up with him.


Joe Mitzenmacher for Grants CommitteeJoe Mitzenmacher announced that they are accepting grant applications for 2019-2020. He noted that grants can be for any professional development opportunity, not just the AALL Annual Meeting. Further, travel needn’t be involved in the cost.

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