CHARLES (CHUCK) NEWLAND
For more than 30 years, Charles T. Newland and Associates have represented clients throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs on matters involving estate and trust administration and disputes, business litigation, bankruptcy, foreclosure, estate planning, and personal injury matters.
These areas of law are very fact specific to each situation. Because of the unique features of the case, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. “When the client understands the complex systems within which we work and gives us the documentation and specific factual history we need, we are free to focus our efforts on strategy,” says Charles (Chuck) Newland, the founding principal of the Chicago area law firm.
The biggest client complaint is being left In the dark about what is happening with the file. “We are focused on providing clients with more than just competent legal representation. Communication is a key plank in our client-centric approach. We want our clients to see our work product; we make it a point to respond to every phone call and email within 24 hours of receipt, including weekends and holidays,” Chuck explains.
“Clients become frustrated when they don’t know what is happening and when they don’t see the briefs, the memos, and the correspondence that they’re paying for. Our team devotes a lot of time, concern and analysis in developing thoughtful and well-reasoned work product. We are proud of our work product and make it a point to ensure our clients see what we are doing for them. This establishes trust and value.”
Ineffective communication can, and often does, derail the attorney/client relationship. Chuck’s firm is often hired as the second lawyer on a file, usually because the client has no clue about what, if anything, the original attorney was doing. “When we are hired in that situation, often it’s not because the first attorney was unprepared or incompetent, but rather because he or she failed to share the work product, the client didn’t see the value, didn’t feel part of the process and didn’t know what they were being asked to pay for,” Chuck explains.
Even the Judges are often impressed with Chuck’s approach to client files. In a rare and unsolicited testimonial, Judge Peter J. Birnbaum, Chief Justice of the Illinois Court of Claims wrote, “I read with interest your article in the Northwest Suburban Bar Association News Briefs. You forgot to mention a critical point for success in the Court of Claims: exceptional lawyering. A skill which was evident in this case. You really did a terrific job. You should be proud of your efforts on behalf of your client.”
Aside from the successful results obtained for firm clients, Chuck is very proud of the firm’s culture. “This is a stressful business. Our clients have serious concerns, including adversarial family situations. Because these matters are so important to clients, it’s crucial our team gets along. After all, we spend more time at the office than we do with our own families. We take pride in the collegial atmosphere that is often lacking in many law firms due to the competitive and stressful nature of the business,” Chuck says.
“We have minimal turnover. When someone leaves, it is usually because the work at our firm has provided a springboard to a more lucrative opportunity or to establish his or her own firm. We make it a point to stay in touch with former attorneys and to assist them in any way we can. They often continue to be part of our cohort and to participate in our annual holiday party and other team building events. This solidifies our network of competent, caring professionals who understand what we do, what we expect, and that think about clients in the same client-centric way,” Chuck explains.
Caring staff is an integral part of the firm’s client-centric brand. “I only hire people that care about serving the client, not just what they think will make me happy. I invest the time to ensure my paralegals/associates see the big picture, not just their individual slice. Everyone working on the file knows the plan and the strategy. This addresses two things: 1) It is difficult for the partner or lead attorney to get the job done efficiently if he or she works in a vacuum and, 2) There is no personal gratification or job satisfaction for an attorney or staff member working on the file when they don’t understand how their contribution benefits the whole. Even though I may be the one to call the final shot, I encourage different points of view and debate from our attorneys and paralegals when it comes to perspective and strategy,” Chuck adds.
At least twice a month the firm’s paralegals and attorneys meet to review the status of all client matters and to plan for the future. “That way everyone has an opportunity to bring up any concerns about communication, procedures, roadblocks, and/or strategy. It also gives us an opportunity to discuss if something wasn’t done effectively and what we can do about it to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again,” says Chuck.
Chuck is a strong proponent of formal education and has taught the probate paralegal course at the College of Lake County as an adjunct faculty member. Often, he invites students that demonstrate the care and skill set to join his team as an intern. Chuck has been published numerous times in various bar association journals and is regularly asked to be a speaker for continuing legal education programs in the areas of probate, estate, trust and guardianship administration and litigation.
Chuck enjoys running his own law firm. “I think I inherited my entrepreneurial spirit and client focus from my late father, Dr. Raymond Newland, an optometrist. He was one of the most caring professionals I ever knew. He told me that if I wanted to have a good quality of life, I needed to be in a profession and acquire the skills and demonstrate the care that others will be confident in relying on,” he says.
Chuck also believes in giving back and often volunteers his time. For example, he was honored to serve as the co-chair of the Lake County Bar Association’s Trust and Estate Committee for three years. He was also on the committee to update the local probate court rules and probate court forms of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Lake County, and a presenter for GAL training.
In addition, he is regularly asked to speak at conferences for various bar associations and continuing legal education organizations such as the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Institute for Continuing Education. The work that he finds most gratifying is getting appointed by a probate judge as a guardian ad litem for a disabled person and he has offered his time, pro bono for the Lake County Guardianship Help Desk and attends events to support Chicago Volunteer Legal Services that provides pro bono attorneys in disabled persons’ estates.
Chuck attended the John Marshall Law School and received his Juris Doctor in 1988 with highest distinction. His scholarship was recognized with two awards from the West Publishing Company - the Hornbook Award For Outstanding Scholastic Achievement and the Corpus Juris Secundum Award for Significant Legal Scholarship. In 2013 he was honored to be admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Two years later, Chuck was recognized as one of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. Since 2015, he has consistently been ranked as one of Illinois’ top 100 litigation attorneys by the National Association of Legal Advocates (NALA). “The awards and accolades are great but they don’t replace the expression of heartfelt gratitude from a client that recognizes the work done for their benefit. I save every thank you note. They remind me of the real reason we do what we do,” Chuck adds.
Chuck and his wife Susan, a retired speech and language pathologist, have been married for thirty years. Their son, Raymond, (26), named for Chuck’s dad, just received his PSM degree in biotechnology from the University of San Francisco and is currently working as an associate scientist for a biotech company in the Silicon Valley building antibody libraries for drug discovery.
Their daughter, Joanie (21), named for Susan’s mom, was an all-state high school water polo player, and is now a senior at the University of Illinois and the President of the U of I women’s water polo club. Joanie, an animal science major, recently rescued a beautiful pit bull named “Lucy” and is doing research on chronic wasting disease in the deer population.
The Newlands support Alzheimer’s and Breast Cancer Foundations. In his spare time, Chuck, a former Colt League Baseball Coach (15-17-year old’s) and competitive high school team golfer (he still plays golf when he can), likes to travel, and enjoys live music - he even keeps a guitar in the office to decompress at the end of the day.
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category
Charles T. Newland & Associates
Attorneys & Counselors at Law
3601 W. Algonquin Road, Suite 990
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008
(847) 797 - 9300