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LIVE - ISBA's Solo & Small Firm Conference 2024: Empowering Attorneys with Practice and Technology Tools

Presented by the Illinois State Bar Association
Sponsored by the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company

I Hotel and Illinois Conference Center
1900 S. First Street, Champaign
Thursday, September 19, 2024 – Friday, September 20, 2024
Thursday: 9:45 a.m. – 6:10 p.m. (reception to follow)
Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. Friday (Complimentary breakfast served prior)

Attend live onsite and earn up to 11.5 hours MCLE credit, including 10.0* hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit in the following categories:
  • 1.0 hours Diversity/Inclusion
  • 9.0 hours Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention

Can’t attend onsite?
Pre-order the 15-Hour On-Demand SSFC Bundle at a special reduced price!
Pre-order the SSFC Bundle and get access to the complete conference via our On-Demand Catalog no more than four weeks after the conference to earn 15 hours MCLE credit, including Professional Responsibility MCLE credit.

ISBA’s two-day Solo and Small Firm Conference gives you the opportunity to earn CLE credits while enhancing your knowledge and networking with colleagues!

Join us in Champaign for ISBA’s two-day Solo and Small Firm Conference that gives you the opportunity to earn CLE credits while enhancing your knowledge and networking with colleagues! Topics include:
  • The importance of creating diversity in the legal profession;
  • How to use technology as an effective client communication tool;
  • How to build and grow a successful law firm team;
  • How to transform your account receivables into receipts to boost your income;
  • How to avoid email compromise and wire fraud;
  • An overview of the new electronic notaries and digital signatures options and requirements;
  • How to use open source techniques for Google and social media research; and
  • Much more!

Thank You to Our Sponsors!
Diamond Sponsor – ISBA Mutual Insurance Company

Book your room at the I Hotel before August 18, 2024, for the special ISBA room rate!
  • If you reserve your room at the I Hotel online, our Group Code is ISBA24 and the password is c2eV#
  • If you wish to call to make your reservations, please call 217-819-5000 and reference Group Code ISBA24

ISBA will be providing members with the opportunity to have a FREE business portrait taken on Thursday, September 19, 2024. More information coming soon!


Be sure to complete the exhibitor game card for a chance to win a ScanSnap Scanner and other great prizes!

Thursday, September 19, 2024


9:45 – 10:00 a.m. Welcome and Introduction
Sonni Choi Williams, ISBA President 2024-25
Jeff Strand , ISBA Mutual Insurance Company, Chicago
Diana C. Servos, S.T. Legal Group, Deerfield

10:00 – 11:05 a.m. Beyond Bias: Strategies for Inclusive Legal Leadership
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Diversity & Inclusion credit
Lawyers are leaders in society and the workplace. As such, we must ensure we're creating a workplace environment that is both productive and inclusive. Learn how to identify biases and stereotypes with this in-depth discussion on why it’s important to create diversity in the legal workplace and how to implement the leadership strategies you need for a bias-free future workplace.
Moderator: Diana C. Servos,S.T. Legal Group, Deerfield
Julia Roundtree Livingston
, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, Chicago

11:05 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. Breakout Sessions
  • Marketing Your Practice with the Assistance of Artificial Intelligence
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
Moderator: Genevieve E. Miller, Singewald Law Firm, Chicago
Andrew G. Vaughn,Deviant Marketing, Chicago

  • Employment Law Basics for Managing Your Office
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit

Get the employment law basics you need to manage your office with this informative segment. Topics include: the 1099 changes you need to be aware of, the parameters for people working for free, and what you need to know about Form W-2.
Moderator: John Locallo, Amari & Locallo, Chicago
Jerri Adams Belcher,Engelmeier & Umanah, Minnesota

12:10 – 12:30 p.m. Break with Exhibitors

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch and Recognition of RPI Donors and Fellows

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
Moderator: Diana C. Servos,S.T. Legal Group, Deerfield
Christina Jack , VLex, Wisconsin

2:10 – 3:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions
  • Using Technology as a Client Communication Tool
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
This session provides practitioners helpful tips and tricks for incorporating the latest legal technology into everyday practice. Learn about virtual and cloud-based practice management options, engaging clients through client portals, creating and using automated templates to streamline communication, and security considerations of communicating with clients using these tools, including how to respond in times of crisis. Communication by texting and voice mail is also addressed, along with tips for setting boundaries.
Moderator: Rachel N. Hernandez, Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions, St. Charles
Michael Brennan, The Virtual Attorney, Lake Villa
Michael P. McCready , McCready Law, Chicago

  • Best Practices for Successful Client Management
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
This segment offers the best practice tips you need to build and maintain successful client management. Topics include: intake, termination, and communication.
Moderator: Genevieve E. Miller, Singewald Law Firm, Chicago
Melissa Smart , Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, Chicago

3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Paws for a Break and Break with Exhibitors
Wind down and destress with onsite therapy dogs as you visit with exhibitors during break.
Sponsored by PawPrint Ministries

3:30 – 4:35 p.m. Breakout Sessions
  • Time Management Technology Tools
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
Moderator: Genevieve E. Miller, Singewald Law Firm, Chicago
Jeffrey Schoenberger , Affinity Consulting Group, Ohio

  • Building and Growing an Effective Team and HR Management Issues
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
This presentation offers a look at how to build and grow an effective team while overcoming HR management issues. Topics include: how to address the hiring challenges you may face (such as competing with government and not-for-profits), building relationships, the generational issues to be aware of (and how to address them), and tips on how to make a profit.
Moderator: John Locallo, Amari & Locallo, Chicago
Amy Gardner, Apochromatik, Chicago
Keith Sbiral, Apochromatik, Chicago

4:40 – 6:10 p.m. Top Tips and Table Clinics
1.50 hours MCLE credit
Complimentary beer and wine beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Capture some of the best ideas to incorporate into your practice during this fast-paced session. Get top tips in ten minutes from several of our speakers, followed by the opportunity to ask specific questions regarding their topics. During the table clinic session, attendees may switch tables every 15 minutes for a broad learning opportunity.
Top Tips in 10 Minutes: 4:40 - 5:10 p.m.
  • 1. Avoiding Malpractice Claims
  • Jeff Strand, ISBA Mutual Insurance Company, Chicago
  • 2. Notaries and Digital Signatures
  • David Finnigan, Director of the Index Department, Illinois Secretary of State, Springfield
  • 3. Artificial Intelligence, Billing Issues, and Ethics
  • Mark C. Palmer, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, Champaign
Table Clinics: 5:10 - 6:10 p.m.
  • 1.The Corporate Transparency Act
  • Kelly McGinnity, Schlack & McGinnity, Chicago
  • 2. Employment Law and Your Team
  • Jerri Adams Belcher, Engelmeier & Umanah, Minnesota
  • Amy M. Gardner, Apochromatik, Chicago
  • Keith K. Sbiral, Apochromatik, Chicago
  • 3. Overcoming Client Management Challenges
  • Melissa Smart, ARDC, Chicago
  • 4. Making Quick Videos to Promote Your Firm
  • Chandler Caswell, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Chicago
  • 5. Guilt Free WiFi: The Importance of a VPN and How to Set It Up
  • Bryan M. Sims, Sims Law Firm Ltd., Naperville
  • 6. Multi-Factor Identification Check Up
  • Aaron Brooks, Brooks Law and Consulting, LLC, Naperville

6:10 – 7:10 p.m. Reception with Exhibitors
Sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association and the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company

7:15 p.m. Dine-Around Dinners – Houlihan’s, Biaggi’s Italian Restaurant, or Baxter’s American Grill
(Optional Event – Not Included in Registration Fee)
Sign up at ISBA Registration Desk by 4:00 p.m.

9:00 p.m. Drinks and Networking - Houlihan’s
(Optional Event – Not Included in Registration Fee)
End the first day by gathering with conference attendees, speakers, and ISBA leaders for an informal networking event!


Friday, September 20, 2024

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Complimentary Breakfast

8:30 – 9:35 a.m. Breakout Session
  • Microsoft 365 Tips and Tricks
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
Discover the best tips and tricks available in your Microsoft Office suite, including features you never knew existed and the hottest releases for Microsoft 365 subscribers. Topics include: how to ramp up your efficiency by getting your settings right and dictating emails and documents; preventing embarrassing errors in your documents by ensuring that your Word settings are spell-checking everything you type; processing email faster with rules, quick steps, and other Outlook tips and tricks; letting Excel enter and manipulate data for you and get control over printing from Excel; how to animate bullet points in PowerPoint to keep your audience (a jury, a board room, or your client)engaged; presenting professionally with presenter view; using One Drive to securely share files; and how to use the Microsoft app suite to schedule meetings efficiently, stay on top of your tasks, manage your matters, improve internal communication, and ramp up your client in take form.
Moderator: John Locallo , Amari & Locallo, Chicago
Jeffrey Schoeneberger, Affinity Consulting, Ohio

  • Systems and Processes
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
Moderator: Rachel N. Hernandez, Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions, St. Charles
Speaker: TBD

9:35 – 10:05 a.m. Break with Exhibitors

10:05 – 11:10 a.m. Breakout Sessions
  • Tech Essentials and Basics for the Law Office: Finding the Balance for Your Small Firm
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
Join us for a comprehensive look at some of our hardware and software recommendations to help balance the needs and budget of your solo or small law firm practice. Learn about essential hardware (including computers and other tech accessories), networking options, and software to make your solo or small firm run efficiently without breaking the bank.
Moderator: Bryan M. Sims, Sims Law Firm Ltd., Naperville
Kimberly A. Hilton , Fish Potter Bolanos, P.C., Chicago

  • Transforming Receivables into Receipts: A Practical Guide for Small Practitioners to Boost Income
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
This segment offers practical tips and strategies for enhancing your ability to collect legal fees, while simultaneously maintaining a good relationship with your clients.
Moderator: John Locallo , Amari & Locallo, Chicago
John Hoevel, Hoevel Collection Attorneys, Chicago

11:10 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Plenary Luncheon: Artificial Intelligence and Your Investigations
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
As technology continues to advance, artificial intelligence has emerged as a powerful tool for law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and investigators. Don’t miss this presentation that explores the transformative role of artificial intelligence in the modern investigative process, while providing you with a better understanding of how it can enhance and influence various aspects of investigations.
Moderator: Diana C. Servos, S.T. Legal Group, Deerfield
Michele Stuart , JAG Investigations, Arizona

12:45 – 1:00 p.m. Final Break with Exhibitors
Be sure to complete the exhibitor game card before 2:05 p.m. for a chance to win a Scan Snap Scanner and other great prizes! Prizes awarded during the break; must be present to win.

1:00 – 2:05 p.m. Breakout Sessions
  • Open Source Techniques for Google and Social Media Research
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
In today’s digital age, proficiency in online information retrieval is a critical skill. This segment offers you the knowledge and techniques you need to conduct thorough and precise searches on Google and various social media platforms and enhance your ability to find accurate and relevant information efficiently.
Moderator: John Locallo , Amari & Locallo, Chicago
Michele Stuart , JAG Investigations, Arizona

  • Avoiding Business Email Compromise & Wire Fraud
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
Scams and hackers become more sophisticated every year, with business email compromise and wire fraud being among the most common cyber insurance claims today. Every lawyer needs to understand the duties, challenges, and appropriate methods for using technology. Join us for a look at what you can do to prevent business email compromise before it happens, the signs that your firm is under attack (and what you can do immediately to minimize harm), your ethical responsibilities following a business email compromise attack, and the best practices that everyone in your firm needs to follow to protect your clients from wire fraud.
Moderator: Sarah Toney , The Toney Law Firm LLC, Chicago
Mat Kresz, Attorney & Counselor at Law, Chicago

2:10 – 3:15 p.m. Darwinian Awards for Ethically Challenged Lawyers
1.0 hour MCLE credit, including 1.0 Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit
You mother always told you: you can learn things the easy way or the hard way! This segment allows you to learn legal ethics the easy way. By reviewing the mistakes other lawyers have made, from advising clients to putting a sign up in their yard announcing illegal activity was going on inside the house, to lawyers getting opposing counsel drunk just to score some points with the jury, this class hands out the Darwinian Awards. Charles Darwin had a theory that only the fittest survive. Well … you can be among the fittest by adjusting your behavior to avoid the behaviors of these lawyers.
Moderator: Diana C. Servos, S.T. Legal Group, Deerfield
Joel Oster, Comedian of Law, Kansas

3:15 p.m. Conference Adjourned


Pricing Information

From time to time at ISBA CLE events, the ISBA, it’s vendor partners, or others may take photographs or video of participants, attendees, and guests for use in their marketing or promotional materials or news publications. By registering for this event, you are consenting to the use of your, and your guests’, photograph, video-recorded likeness, and name without compensation. Any photographs or video taken will be the sole property of the ISBA or entity taking the photograph.

  • Early Bird Registration Fees (On or before August 30):
    • ISBA Member - $399
    • Non-Member - $599
    • New Attorney Member (within the first five years of practice) - $199
    • Law Student Member - $150
    • Guest of Attendee - $399
      • Paid guests are welcome to attend Thursday evening's reception, Friday's continental breakfast, Friday's Plenary Luncheon, and all Breaks with Exhibitors.
      • Please call the CLE Department at 800-252-8908 to register a Guest.
  • Regular Registration Fees (Starting August 31):
    • ISBA Member - $499
    • Non-Member - $699
    • New Attorney Member (within the first five years of practice) - $199
    • Law Student Members - $150
    • Guest of Attendee - $399
      • Paid guests are welcome to attend Thursday evening's reception, Friday's continental breakfast, Friday's Plenary Luncheon, and all Breaks with Exhibitors.
      • Please call the CLE Department at 800-252-8908 to register a Guest.
  • Onsite Registration Fees (At the Program):
    • ISBA Member - $599
    • Non-Member - $799
    • New Attorney Member (within the first five years of practice) - $250
    • Law Student Members - $150
    • Guest of Attendee - $399
      • Paid guests are welcome to attend Thursday evening's reception, Friday's continental breakfast, Friday's Plenary Luncheon, and all Breaks with Exhibitors.
      • Please call the CLE Department at 800-252-8908 to register a Guest.
  • Pre-Order the On-Demand SSFC Bundle ($299 member value/$599 non-member value) - Coming Soon!
    • ISBA Member - $199
    • Non-Member - $399
    • New Attorney Member- $99
    • Law Student Members - Free

  • Cancellation Policy-
  • A full refund is available up to 7 days prior to the program, less a $50 administrative fee. No refunds are available after Friday, September 13th.