The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that, for the 17th year, it has collaborated with Illinois law schools to facilitate professionalism orientations for incoming 1Ls. All nine Illinois law schools participated this year.
Professionalism orientations are held annually at Illinois law schools, typically as part of law school orientation. These orientations go beyond the practical aspects of law school preparation, introducing students to what it means to be a lawyer and emphasizing the professional and public responsibilities that come with the role.
Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices, federal judges, Illinois circuit court judges, local lawyers, Commissioners, and Commission staff join law school staff in leading the orientations, which delve into principles of professionalism, civility, well-being, ethics, and inclusion, and explain why they matter in a legal career.
The justices and judges close the sessions by leading the students in the Pledge of Professionalism, during which students commit to practicing integrity and respect for themselves, others, and the rule of law.
“Professionalism orientations are an opportunity for our future lawyers to stop and consider the purpose of legal practice, the pursuit of justice, and their role as a member of the legal profession,” said Commission Chair Martin Sinclair. “These are important principles for law students to keep top of mind as they learn to think like lawyers and build the foundation for the future of the profession. They also provide a meaningful venue for practicing attorneys to recommit themselves to the principles of professionalism. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Illinois law schools each year on these important programs.”
The 2023 professionalism orientations schedule and presenters representing the judiciary and the Commission were as follows:
- DePaul University College of Law, August 14
- Speakers: (Day Session) Illinois Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr., Commissioner Trisha Rich, and Executive Director Erika Harold; (Evening Session) Commissioner and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Judge Franklin U. Valderrama and Deputy Director Stephanie Villinski
- Chicago-Kent College of Law, August 15
- Speakers: (Day Session) Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary K. O’Brien and Executive Director Erika Harold; (Evening Session) Commissioner Judge Bonita Coleman and Communications Director Laura Bagby
- Northern Illinois University College of Law, August 16
- Speakers: Illinois Supreme Court Justice and Commission Liaison Justice Elizabeth M. Rochford and Commissioner Heather Kroencke
- University of Illinois College of Law, August 16
- Speakers: Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White and Executive Director Erika Harold
- University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (UIC Law), August 16 and 17
- Speakers: (Day Session) First District Appellate Court Justice Rena Marie Van Tine and Chief Counsel Mark C. Palmer; (Evening Session) First District Appellate Court Justice Jesse G. Reyes and Deputy Director Stephanie Villinski
- Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, August 17
- Speakers: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Judge Edmond E. Chang and Chief Counsel Mark C. Palmer
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law, August 18
- Speakers: Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis and Deputy Director Stephanie Villinski
- Southern Illinois University School of Law (SIU Law), August 18
- Speakers: Illinois Supreme Court Justice David K. Overstreet, Commissioner Kathy Pine, and Executive Director Erika Harold
- University of Chicago Law School, September 14
- Speakers: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer and Commission Chair Martin Sinclair
This year, UIC Law, SIU Law, and Northwestern Law incorporated a pinning ceremony in their professionalism orientation.
In addition to the formal program, at UIC Law, Northwestern Law, and DePaul Law, Illinois attorneys led students in discussions about hypothetical scenarios that presented professionalism, civility, and/or ethics issues that real lawyers may face day-to-day in their practices.
Participating attorneys included John Bailey, Margaret Benson, Shannon Buckley, Jeffrey Bunn, Bridget Duignan, Kevin Fanning, Daniel Gandert, Meredith Geller, Michael Goldberg, Bruce Goodman, Allison Heverin, Kevin Hull, Commissioner and First District Appellate Court Justice Sharon O. Johnson, Robert Karton, Shawn Kasserman, Tracy Kepler, Patrick Lamb, Sharon Legenza, Jonathan McKay, Maria Minor, Virginia Mohr, Sari Montgomery, Paul Porvaznik, Ally Pruit, Sarah Rewerts, Kevin A. Thompson, and Amanda Wright.
About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Illinois Supreme Court established the Commission on Professionalism under Supreme Court Rule 799 to promote integrity, professionalism, and civility among the lawyers and judges of Illinois, to foster a commitment to the elimination of bias and divisiveness within the legal and judicial systems, and to ensure those systems provide equitable, effective, and efficient resolution of problems for the people of Illinois.
The Commission achieves this mission through professional responsibility CLE, lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring, legal professionalism programming, educational resources, and more. To learn more, visit 2Civility.org and follow us on social media.
Laura Bagby, Communications Director
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