The Authority of Illinois Lawyers to Settle Their Clients' Civil Claims: On Principles Not Quite Settled
Parness, Jeffrey A.
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The Illinois laws guiding lawyer civil claim settlement authority are not well settled and should be reexamined to provide lawyers with clear standards when they agree to a settlement on behalf of their clients. A comprehensive rule making initiative pursued by the Illinois Supreme Court is the best vehicle to settle the principles of lawyer conduct. In undertaking such an initiative, the Illinois Supreme Court should clarify issues of actual authority, apparent authority, burdens of proof, and open court presumptions. Furthermore, the Illinois Supreme Court should address other laws directly impacting upon, but unrelated to, lawyer settlement authority, including laws regarding choice of law, separation of powers, required writings, compelled attendance and judicial enforcement issues. The principles governing civil claim settlements will become clear and settled only after such a comprehensive revision is complete.