Covid-19 Update


April 10, 2020

Good evening,

My Law Firm, CP Law Chicago LLC, is currently navigating a truly unprecedented situation and health crisis in our nation. Although we are all working from home, at the forefront of our minds is the inextricable connectedness we all share, and how our actions impact one another.

First and foremost, our appreciation and admiration goes our to the health care workers in our community, who are risking their lives at the front lines of this crisis. Our hearts go out to all of the individuals and families impacted directly by the virus, which numbers are growing every day. We also thank everyone who has sacrificed to stay home and abide by the quarantine; your actions are keeping people safe. Though the Courts are closed to all but the most dire of cases, my staff and I are still steadily working behind the scenes to protect the interests of our clients. Given the court closures, cases are moving at a much slower speed at this time. Although there is a serious Covid-19 outbreak at the Cook County Jail, bond modification hearings are as challenging as ever. We will all need to have patience until this crisis resolves and the court system gets back to normal.

Please be advised that my office will contact all clients in advance of the rescheduled court dates. Currently, I am waiting to see the impact of Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans’ emergency court order extending the court closure until May 18, 2020.

In order to best serve our clients in this time of need, I would like to direct you to some virtual resources available during this novel time:

  • Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 Website
  • Illinois’ COVID-19 Website
  • Illinois’ COVID-19 Hotline – 1 (800) 889-3931
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness’s COVID-19 Information and Resources
  • Virtual Narcotics Anonymous
  • Virtual Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Virtual LifeRing Secular Recovery

Please know we are operating remotely during normal business hours. We are available for meetings and consultations by appointment via Facetime, Google Duo and Zoom. For any emergency matters, please contact our 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Attorney Hotline at (312) 767-7480. From everyone here at CP Law Chicago, LLC, we are wishing you the best during this trying time. Please stay strong and safe.

Very truly yours,

Christina A. Papavasiliou 

CP Law Chicago, LLC



Amid the economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19, our office is hearing many variations on the same question: “How do I cut down on payroll costs without violating legal rights of employees?”

This is a complicated question even in the most normal of times. Now, however, with Congress setting aside billions in small business aid – which aid comes with some employee retention incentives – the issue becomes considerably more complicated.

Our law firm is carefully watching the progress of the stimulus bill on behalf of each one of our small business clients. It was passed unanimously by the Senate and set for a vote in the house tomorrow. Based on its overwhelming bipartisan support, we fully expect that it will pass, regardless of many objections voiced by many House Republicans.

This may be counting our chickens, so to speak, but we want to keep our clients informed: at this time, hundreds of billions in small business aid is to be set aside, largely in the form of low-interest loans. At the time of this reading it seems that the House is contemplating that small businesses will not need to repay these loans if the money is used to keep employees on payroll, among other purposes. As long as the business uses the loan funds for the various approved purposes delineated in the bill, and maintains the average size of its full-time workforce based on when it received the loan, the principal of the loan will be forgiven, meaning the company will only need to pay back the interest accrued. However if payroll is reduced, forgiveness will proportionately be reduced.

Everyone seems to want to know the same thing: “Should I hold off on layoffs that I desperately need? The answer is unclear at this time. We know that the amount of money each small business will get will depend on how much it paid to employees between 1/1 and 1/29. We also know that the loans will carry an interest rate of up to 4%. But on forgiveness, it states that in order to qualify, businesses will need to maintain the average size of their full-time workforce based on when they received the loan.

Obviously, the little that we know right now raises many more questions. We don’t have comprehensive answers yet, and, as always, are hesitant to issue any advice that is not strictly tailored to the unique concerns of a specific client. Nevertheless, we will do our very best to keep our clients informed.

During these uncertain times, we are committed to helping clients accomplish their objectives as quickly as possible, but we can’t ignore the countless variables that hang in the balance, especially in light of this new legislation. For that reason, if clients are contemplating layoffs, or if they believe that the above raises new issues or concerns of which we haven’t been made aware, we encourage them to please contact us to discuss options and important considerations. In these trying times, we continue to look forward. We appreciate our small business clients who have placed their confidence in our law firm. Stay healthy and safe, everyone. And whenever possible, stay at home.



We heard it over and over again this week from the White House. There was “no policy of separating families at the border.” And yet we also heard, over and over again, that in the past six weeks alone, a staggering 2,300 children were separated from their parents at the border. So what in the world happened?

Listening to White House representatives insisting that there was no policy of separating families was utterly bewildering to many, self included. How could they have insisted so vehemently, in the face of undeniable evidence? In more in-depth interviews and statements, they explained that in the implementation of the “zero-tolerance” policy, and in the prosecution of every single case of illegal entry, there was no way to allow children to accompany parents through the process of criminal charging and detention. For that reason, they explained, they had no choice but to separate families.

Does that satisfy you? It shouldn’t. Not only because it doesn’t pass the smell test (it stinks) but because it’s untrue. This is the problem with zero-tolerance policies. They are just that, policies. They are NOT law. There is no law requiring “zero tolerance” in prosecution. In fact, the law states the opposite, and it has for a long, long time. To be exact, the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion was born with the first Judiciary Act establishing the federal public prosecutor in 1789.

Every prosecutorial position in our government, whether state or federal, enjoys nearly unbridled freedom to determine which cases to pursue, and how to pursue them. These case-by-case determinations are almost never subject to judicial review. It has been true for hundreds of years, and we should hope that it will continue to be true for hundreds more. That’s because prosecutorial discretion is an excellent tool to preserve judicial economy, and to prevent absurd outcomes like separating babies from their parents. So in the past, when it would result in a federal agent literally wrestling a screaming child out of her mother’s arms, the government would simply decline to prosecute. And families stayed together. Imagine that.

The current White House framed this atrocity as black and white, as though their hands were tied. But that is total, unmitigated nonsense. It created an illusion that it was forced to choose between anarchy and tyranny, and that a brutal, inhumane outcome was the only option in order to spare the world from chaos. That is an age-old assertion that every dictator from Hitler to Stalin to Hussein employed to justify heinous human rights violations. It’s the same spiel that former Commander Jon Burge used to justify the institutionalized torture of over 100 (that we know of) African-American males by the Chicago Police Department for over two decades, in order to force confessions. And if we’re not careful, if we buy into it, if we don’t stand up for basic human rights by speaking, writing, organizing and ultimately voting these people out, we face the very real threat of atrocities that make this one seem tiny in comparison.

Prosecutorial discretion is real law, as opposed to this administration’s make-believe law. Please explain it to anyone who tries to tell you that separating families wasn’t White House policy, or was necessary to enforce the law at the border. Yes, it was, and no, it wasn’t.

Coffee Break Topic: My Baby’s First Word Was “Google”

Coffee Break Topic: My Baby’s First Word Was “Google”

My sixteen-month-old son has been a chatty little guy since his first birthday. He has enjoyed repeating just about anything, but mostly “Mama, Dada, bye-bye.” And in those first months after his birthday, it wasn’t clear to us that he knew what he was saying. He didn’t say any of those words unprompted, or at appropriate times, he just chatted happily all the time. As much as he seemed to love babytalk, because he didn’t use words with purpose, we just weren’t sure that he was really talking. He also didn’t enunciate all that well.  So sometimes we’d listen to him and wonder aloud, “did he just say ball?” or, “snow,” or “book?”  It sounded like it, but we just weren’t sure.

Until one day several weeks ago, when he leaned toward our Google Home smart speaker and said, “Hey, Google!”

We couldn’t believe it. Of course at first we were overcome by the awe and wonder of The First Word. For the first time in his life, he had achieved clear communication. It was the undeniable, deliberate use of language. What a milestone! I could feel the tears in my eyes. I think it is a truly magical moment for every parent. But a split second later we looked at each other and there was the realization…..wait a minute. His first word was “Google!” And then we had to come to terms with the fact that this marvelous, unique moment was about the name of a corporation, and addressing a computer.

Well, here we are, America.

Over the following weeks we told all of our family and friends, and in almost every instance it was a great conversation-starter.  One thing I’ve noticed repeatedly over the last couple of decades is that even the most easy-going among us become extremely opinionated about how to raise a child, once they become parents themselves.  Almost everyone had something to say about my son’s first word.  No one came right out and said that it was bad parenting, but some conversations came dangerously close.  One common thread was surprise.

But the whole thing shouldn’t be that surprising, should it?  We have Google Home hooked up to our living room lighting. Every single morning of his life, my son heard one of us say, “hey Google, turn on the lights.” And then he watched the living room fill with light. And almost every day after breakfast, he heard me say, “hey Google, can you play ‘Mother Goose Club?’” or “You Are My Little Bird?” or [insert any children’s album title].

I did a little research and found out that we are not alone. Lots of parents are writing accounts on the internet about their babies’ first words being Google, Alexa, Echo, etc. It’s no wonder if you really think about it. Babies imitate their parents. Especially the things that they say on a daily basis.

Needless to say, the phenomenon is controversial.  And the obvious question is: is this a good thing or a bad thing?  One article states that if your baby’s first word is Google (or Alexa or Siri), you’re obviously using the word way too much.

But I don’t know if I buy that.  What’s inherently wrong with asking Google to turn on the lights, or play an album?  I know all parents feel this way, but I think we’re great parents.  My kids spend at least two hours of every day outside when it’s between 35 and 85 degrees. My 2½-year-old daughter is limited to a ½ hour of screen time a day, though many days she doesn’t get any.  They both eat wholesome, unprocessed home cooked meals, are treated with love and respect, and are happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids.  So who cares if Google is turning on the lights and playing music?  It’s just harmless fun, right?

I figure it’s a cost-benefit analysis, like anything else.  But these costs and benefits are not always obvious, and are subjective.  I know that many parents would be horrified by the idea of their baby’s first word being Google.  For two professional city-dwellers like us, it’s really not a big deal.  I suppose one ostensible cost is the missed joy and gratification of his first word being “mommy” or “daddy.”  But isn’t that insufferably egotistical, to need that kind of gratification from your child?  Thankfully I don’t feel slighted in the least.

Another arguable cost of the smart speaker in general is the fact that Google is probably gathering information about when we’re home, what music we listen too, what temperature we keep our home, and anything else it can.  It’s probably using it to figure out new ways to advertise.  We are well aware of this, and again, at this point in time, the fun of owning the device is worth the sharing of these seemingly inocuous data with Google.  Maybe one day we’ll feel differently, but as of this writing, we really don’t care.

In other ways, we’re actually very private people.  Our Facebook profiles have strict privacy settings.  We don’t put our kids’ photos or videos on any kind of media blast, opting instead for a small iCloud Photo and Video Sharing Group reserved for our closest family and friends.  We don’t publish our daily lives on Facebook either; we only post a few times a year.

At this point I don’t see much cause for alarm regarding our son’s first word.  Am I missing something?  Ever a fan of good dialogue, I plan to keep an open mind.  In any case, this is one debate that I believe will continue to grow and develop along with my son and his generation, and I have a feeling that the controversy over his unusual first word is only the beginning of it.


By Christina Papavasiliou

Many of my Record Clearing clients have called me months and even years after expungement[1] with the same question: what’s the right answer to a criminal record question on a job application? The question may be phrased in many different ways, but it often asks about arrests as well as convictions.

In Illinois, it is unlawful for employers to ask you about your expunged record.  In my opinion, that makes the question, “have you ever been arrested” illegal, because it demands a response from all applicants to disclose arrest information, even those who have received expungements.  Questions about convictions, however, may be legal, because expunged records can technically only contain non-convictions.

Most employment applications don’t ask about arrests.  If yours does, you DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT have to disclose ANY information about your expunged record.  You petitioned for an expungement and your petition was reviewed and granted by a judge.  As such, the law protects you from these questions.

So, what’s the right answer?  My best advice is, if your record has been expunged, to answer any and all questions with the following phrase.  “No arrest record.”

I’ve spoken to other attorneys who have advised clients that, if the application asks for information about arrests, the expungement recipient may write “N/A” in the answer field.  This is better, they say, because “No arrest record” sounds purposely evasive while “N/A” does not.

I prefer the answer “No arrest record” to “N/A,” only because “N/A” is arguably a lie.  The question asks (albeit possibly illegally) about an arrest, and you have been arrested.  The answer “No arrest record,” however, is a truthful and accurate response that reveals no protected information.

IMPORTANT: Please see my recent article entitled WHY LAWYERS DON’T TALK ABOUT EXPUNGEMENT.  In order for this protection to apply to you, it’s imperative that you truly do have an expungement, meaning that you or your lawyer completed a Petition for Expungement, filed it with the court, and the Petition was granted.  Dismissals and supervision pleas DO NOT automatically result in expungements.  If your Expungement petition is still in process and has not been granted by the court, the law may not protect your right to conceal arrest information.

[1] This article addresses this question with respect to expungements only.  With sealed felony convictions, it’s a bit more complicated.  That’s because there’s a long list of types of employers who are allowed to see sealed records.