Some of you may find yourself intensively researching Illinois law for the first time this summer. You may have already discovered that the Land of Lincoln in general, and the City of Big Shoulders in particular, have some legal quirks that you won’t recognize from law school (Chancery Division, anyone?). Luckily, Illinois attorneys have an excellent secondary source written for them, by them: IICLE Smart Books. The IICLE Smart Books are treatises, book-length treatments of an area of law. You get an explanation of the law along with citations to the applicable statutes and leading cases, and all focused only on Illinois law.
A few introductory notes before I sell you on the IICLE’s. First, the acronym stands for Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education. That sounds like an official state agency, but it’s not. It’s a publisher in Springfield. Second, you pronounce it “Ickle” like the word “fickle.” Finally, do not use the search box in the upper right-hand corner of their website. That searches the website, not the “Smart Book” treatises, and mostly tries to sell you continuing legal education courses.
Let me demonstrate how effectively IICLE Smart Books can help you with the following scenario. Say you’re working with a client who leases a space in a shopping mall for her jewelry store. She is getting better sales online, and her friend who owns a coffee shop is looking to sublease a retail space. Your client wants to know if the landlord will be able to reject her friend with the coffee shop, or worse, if the landlord will be able to let the space sit vacant and sue your client for lost rent. If you Google this, you’re bound to get a boatload of advice for residential tenants and maybe some law firm blogs that say something about a duty to mitigate damages (oh, and “call now to speak with one of our experts”). If you search Lexis or Westlaw, you’ll need to wade through information from around the country.
Search for “commercial lease retail” within the IICLE Smart Books database and you’ll find an entire chapter titled “Retail Leases” in the IICLE Smart Book Commercial Landlord-Tenant Practice 2015 Edition. This chapter tells you about assigning a lease or subleasing and the landlord’s duty to mitigate damages when a tenant defaults. Most importantly, it talks about both of these issues with citations to the applicable Illinois primary authority.
Beyond providing the background legal information, IICLE Smart Books are an excellent source for forms. For our retail lease example, the same chapter contains a sample lease and ample explanation of the leasing language and optional clauses. Download the document into your word processor when you’re ready to start drafting your client’s sublease.
You can indicate in your search that you want to see forms in your search results by using the check box that says “Search only content with forms available for download.”
Questions about this or any other aspects of your legal research are welcome at the reference desk. We’d love to hear from you.