I primarily represent clients in the areas of business and general litigation. Bar work has also been important. I’ve served as president of both the Illinois State Bar Association and the National Caucus of State Bar Associations. I’m the current president of the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
In a practical sense, the biggest change my practice has seen has come through technology. While technology has its negatives, like the client expectation of 24/7 availability, I prefer to focus on the many positives. For example, technology has given me a greater capability to serve my clients’ interests in a more cost-effective manner. A win for both my clients and my practice. For the foreseeable future, our profession will continue to face the challenges of the law student debt crisis; non-lawyer involvement in the practice of law; and inadequate court funding – all threats to the smooth administration of justice. But, I have confidence in our ability to address these challenges in a way that best protects the public interest.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Make your practice into the one you want (this will not happen by accident), but never forget that commitment, effort and a certain amount of sacrifice are all essential components in your development as an esteemed member of the legal professional. There are no shortcuts.
What’s one technological device, application or tool you could not function without?
An enormous percentage of my communicating with others, including clients, bar leaders, family and friends now occurs via email and other forms of social media. Thus, I would say it would be one of the 37 devices I have (a slight exaggeration) that allows me access to these communication tools.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
Most lawyers and judges are civil and committed to the highest professional standards. I benefited greatly in the early part of my career as a lawyer and bar leader from senior lawyers and judges who nurtured and reinforced my view that professionalism and civility go hand in hand with the (mostly) smooth and functioning system of justice we enjoy in this country. In the rare instances where I’ve encountered someone who didn’t share a commitment to the highest standards, it hasn’t been good for anyone involved (even the contrarian).
What do you do for fun?
Most everything I do can be made to be fun (if I’m doing it right!). I was a runner in an earlier life, and have always loved physical exercise (though there never seems to be enough time for it these days). Beyond that, traveling with my family is about as good as it gets!
John Thies has practiced 28 years at Webber & Thies, PC. Webber & Thies was founded over sixty year ago in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.