How to Hire an Attorney

When faced with a legal question, many people are unsure about where and how to start. Selecting a lawyer for your needs and becoming acquainted about legal issues can be a daunting task. I often compare selecting an attorney to selecting a physician. You need to do some research, interview them or have an initial consultation, and evaluate if they are a good fit for you and your needs in order to make an informed decision. The stakes are high, both personal and financial.

Legal Tips Before You Hire

  1. First ask yourself if you need an attorney, or if you can you resolve the matter yourself. An experienced lawyer provides advice and guidance to help you understand the complexity of the laws, guardianship, contested wills or special needs planning. Lawyers can help protect their clients from situations that might later turn into an emotional and financial hardship.
  2. Don’t Delay! We are not invincible and, as time creeps up on us, there might be unexpected events or injuries that create unforeseen problems. If you are getting remarried, now is the time to revisit your will and estate plan. If you have a loved one that is experiencing cognitive issues, consider a legal review of all important documents and care plans. Your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease may have some very lucid moments, but we know from experience that their decisional capacity can change overnight.
  3. Find an attorney that meets your needs. I suggest first reviewing the attorney’s practice area and determining if that attorney practices in the areas in which you need assistance. How long have they practiced in this area and have they handled similar situations? Another approach is to search for an attorney by a life event, such as getting married or divorced, buying a home or caring for aging parents. Next, consider location and where the attorney is licensed to practice. Do they have office locations that are convenient for their clients?
  4. Case Management. When you retain legal services, your attorney will discuss possible strategies, potential obstacles, expectations, how long the process will take, how much it will cost and potential outcomes. Be sure you understand the billing process and the frequency of billing plus any billable expenses. Keep an open line of communication with your attorney and share your expectations.
  5. Understand Legal Fees. Often people shop for an attorney based on fees. Hourly rates are the most common fee structure. The hourly rates vary depending on experience and location. Flat fees are all-inclusive and are quoted when the services provided are more predictable, such as preparing estate planning documents. A contingency fee means the attorney earns a percentage of the settlement or judgment. Retainer fees are advanced payments/deposits based on an hourly rate. The retainer money is deposited in a special account and the attorney’s fees are deducted as services are completed.
  6. Know what kind of shopper you are! Do you grocery shop at multiple stores to obtain the cheapest deal in town? Do you shop for an orthopedic surgeon that has the lowest cost knee replacement or do you shop for THE BEST surgeon so you have THE BEST possible outcome? Do you shop for price or do you shop for value and experience? When considering to hire an attorney, don’t compare them like apples and oranges. It’s important to hire an attorney who has the skills and experience to provide you close personal attention, courtesy and commitment.

Kerry R. Peck concentrates his practice in Trust and Estate Litigation, Estate Planning, Administration, Guardianship and Fiduciary Litigation, Special Needs and Alzheimer’s disease Planning.  Mr. Peck is past President of the 22,000-lawyer Chicago Bar Association and was retained by the City of Chicago Department of Aging to rewrite the State of Illinois Elder Abuse and Neglect Act. He co-wrote the book Alzheimer’s and the Law, published by the American Bar Association, and frequently teaches attorneys and healthcare professionals across the country.

Peck Ritchey, LLC, proud to be a sponsor of Judge’s Night 2016

Register for Judge’s Night 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016
The National Hellenic Museum
333 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL
5:30pm – 8:30pm

The last three years were SOLD-OUT!!! And we expect the same this year!

Over 600 Federal Court, Illinois Supreme, Appellate and Circuit Court Judges of Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties are invited for an evening of fun and networking.  This night is a great opportunity to meet the judiciary and mingle with your peers.  It’s a casual evening of “mezethes” (hors d’oeuvres), cocktails and conversation.  With the bouzouki music and the backdrop of the Chicago skyline, the Rooftop Terrace of the National Hellenic Museum will be the place to be onJune 9th. Let’s hope the gods will be in our favor on that night and grant us good weather. Calamos Hall in the museum has also been reserved in case of inclement weather or we exceed the rooftop capacity.  So don’t get left out! Register TODAY!

Please go to today to register for the event and pay.

Until June 1, 2016, registration fees are:

  • members $100
  • non-members $125
  • Judges – complimentary

If the event does not sell out by June 1st, late registration will be offered after June 1st:

  • members $125
  • non-members $150
  • Judges – complimentary

In order to secure your reservation for the evening, payment must be made in full at the time of registration.  No payments will be accepted at the door.

Lastly, but certainly not least, we thank our very generous sponsors for underwriting this event.  We thank the following individuals for reaching out to their firms to make this event a possibility:

Platinum Sponsorships

Michael Demetrio, Corboy & Demetrio, P.C.
Georgia Demeros, Thompson Coburn LLP
Dean Maragos, Maragos & Maragos Ltd.
Jeffery G. Chrones, Johnson & Bell, Ltd.
Frank Andreou, Andreou & Casson Ltd.
Eleni Kouimelis, Winston & Strawn LLP

Gold Sponsorships

Angelo Spyratos, SpyratosDavis LLC

Bronze Sponsorships

Ares G. Dalianis, Franczek Radelet P.C.
Anastasios Foukas, Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, Ltd.
Mark Hassakis, Hassakis & Hassakis P.C.
Evan Mammas, Mammas Goldberg
Kerry Peck and Peter Coorlas, Peck Ritchey, LLC
Matt Karchmar, Cannon Lambert, Ted Diamantopoulos, Karchmar & Lambert, P.C.
Nicholas Faklis, Faklis & Tallis, P.C.
Steven Zaris and Demetre Lambropoulos, McCarthy Duffy LLP
Spyridon Demakis, Cunningham, Meyer & Vedrine P.C.
Regas, Frezados & Dallas LLP

All levels of sponsorships for the evening are still available.  To become a sponsor, go to or contact Jeff Chrones at Johnson & Bell, Ltd. at (312) 984-3420 or

Looking forward to seeing you on June 9th!

CEU Event this Thursday at Ronald McDonald House on Ethics – Questioning Capacity

This Thursday, April 28th, at 5:15 pm, Jesse Footlik, 2016 Super Lawyer from Peck Ritchey, LLC, will be speaking at a CEU Event at the Ronald McDonald House. The topic of his talk is “Ethics- Questioning Capacity: How do you determine if an individual is capable of making decisions?”

You can learn more about this event by clicking here.

Elderly Americans victims of family financial abuse

There are currently three known cases of identity theft in Tazewell County, IL alone in which the accused stole thousands of dollars from their elderly parents.

Many older individuals trust their grown children to handle their finances responsibly and use their savings to pay for medical care and nursing home expenses. Unfortunately, responsible decisions are not always made. For example, 37-year-old Tina Roten used her mother’s Social Security information and name to open a credit card, on which she charged over $10,000. Her mother found out about the charges only after her credit tanked. In the other cases, family members have discovered financial abuse after their loved one’s bank accounts were drained to only a few dollars. If convicted, those accused could face up to 15 years in prison.

Sadly, older Americans are prime targets for identity theft, and far too frequently are victims of their own family members. If you or another member of your family has been a victim of elder financial abuse, contact the lawyers of Peck Ritchey, LLC, at (855) 328-5787 so we can help end the abuse.

Kerry Peck to speak at Lincolnshire Police Department “Are You the Next Victim?” event

Attorney Kerry Peck of Peck Ritchey, LLC, is scheduled to speak at the Lincolnshire Police Department’s “Are You The Next Victim?” event on Thursday, April 14. This event is aimed at helping individuals protect themselves against identify theft, fraud, and scams. The event will be held at Eddie Merlot’s, 185 N. Milwaukee Avenue, in Lincolnshire from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm (registration will begin at 11:00 am).

Individuals interested in attending this important event should RSVP by April 11th to Sergeant Kim Covelli at (847) 913-2345 or

Ron Webb to present to the Illinois Federation of Teachers on estate planning

Ron Webb is presenting to the Illinois Federation of Teachers on March 3, 2016 on Estate Planning. He will discuss wills, powers of attorney probate, how to avoid probate, joint tenancy, trusts, Illinois estate tax, and the IRA Inheritance Protection Trust.

Nursing home blamed for failure to protect in lawsuit

According to a report by Cook County Record on February 5, Wilene Jones, a resident of Cook County, is accusing South Suburban Rehabilitation Center LLC and Central Street Management LLC of failing to protect her from abuse committed against her by her roommate. The lawsuit was apparently filed on February 3 in Cook County Circuit Court and accused the two companies of negligence under the Nursing Home Care Act.

Details from the lawsuit reveal that Jones was a patient at South Suburban Rehab from January 2014 until December 2015. She reportedly suffered a fractured left hip, left femur, and several other injuries after her roommate abused her while a resident at the facility. The care facility allegedly failed to protect her from the incidents.

Jones is seeking damages of $100,000 for pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, emotional trauma, and medical expenses, according to the report.

Elder abuse can take many forms, all of them reprehensible. If you believe that you or someone you love has been a victim of elder abuse, get help immediately by contacting the experienced attorneys of Peck Ritchey, LLC, by calling our Chicago offices today at (855) 328-5787.

Kerry Peck to Help Answer Questions for Fox 32 Chicago

Managing Partner Kerry Peck of Peck Ritchey, LLC, will be joining Larry Yellen of Fox 32 Chicago to answer questions on the Fox 32 Facebook page after their 9 p.m. broadcast tonight. During the broadcast, Yellen will be reporting on the problem of elderly individuals wandering away from their homes, and what steps can be taken to help prevent and address this occurrence. Yellen and Peck will then be answering questions on Facebook that viewers post in response to the broadcast. Be sure to tune in tonight at 9 p.m. and join us on Facebook after the story to have your questions answered.

Peck Ritchey, LLC, to Sponsor Alzheimer’s Day

Peck Ritchey, LLC, is proud to be a gold-level sponsor of the 22nd annual Alzheimer’s Day event that will be held at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on Thursday, May 12th. The event is designed to highlight Alzheimer’s research done through Northwestern University as well as bring this information to the public. Starting in the early afternoon, Kristine Yaffe, MD, of the University of California will present “The Mendleton Lecture,” showcasing her work in the field of neurocognitive studies.  Following the lecture, a lunch and scientific poster viewing will be held.  The event will conclude with a town hall meeting later in the afternoon. You can read more about this important event by clicking here.

Peck Ritchey, LLC, sponsoring Paint the Night Purple event

Brandon Peck and other board members

Brandon Peck and other board members

On February 19, 2016, Peck Ritchey, LLC, will sponsor Paint the Night Purple, an event hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association’s Greater Illinois Chapter Junior Board. Our very own Brandon Peck is a Junior Board member of this group. Paint the Night Purple aims to promote awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia among younger generations, as well as raise money to provide for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The event will feature heavy appetizers, desserts, and a premium open bar, and tickets can be purchased early online or at the door the night of the event.  Click here to learn more about this important event.

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