Mark C. Palmer headshot FI

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Chief Counsel Mark C. Palmer has been selected to receive a 2024 Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Department of Sociology.

Palmer, a 1999 graduate, was selected among all alums of the Department of Sociology’s Bachelor of Arts program. He will be honored alongside the recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award for PhDs, Michael G. Flaherty, Professor of Sociology at Eckerd College.

The virtual ceremony will be held on Friday, May 3, at 4 p.m. CDT. on Zoom and is open to the public. You can register here.

“On behalf of the Department of Sociology, I would like to congratulate Mark Palmer on this Outstanding Alumni Award and thank him for his significant contributions to the legal profession, which demonstrates the value of sociology across professions,” said Reuben A. Buford May, Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We are extremely impressed with the impact of Mark’s work in creating more civil and effective lawyers and his leadership in advancing the ethical and responsible use of technology in the delivery of legal services.”

Palmer earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999.

He currently serves as Chief Counsel at the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, where he uses education and outreach to promote professionalism, civility, innovation, and integrity in Illinois’ legal and judicial systems to provide more equitable, efficient, and effective service to the public.

He does so by leading and participating in initiatives including a statewide mentoring program, Courthouse Professionalism Trainings, and professionalism-based educational programming for lawyers, judges, and law students.

“We congratulate Mark on receiving this recognition from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Sociology,” said Erika Harold, Executive Director of the Commission on Professionalism. “Through his efforts in helping to facilitate education programs that are grounded in professionalism and promote respect for the Rules of Professional Conduct, Mark is helping to serve lawyers and judges throughout Illinois and supporting the legal profession.”

Before joining the Commission, Palmer was in private practice at Evans, Froehlich, Beth & Chamley in Champaign, Ill., where his law practice included litigation and transactional experience primarily focused on commercial litigation, banking law, and municipal law in state and federal trial and appellate courts.

He also served on the federal Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants and prisoners in the U.S. Courts.

Palmer is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Board of Governors, Standing Committee on Legal Technology, and Standing Committee on Artificial Intelligence & the Law; the Illinois Supreme Court’s E-Business Policy Board and Artificial Intelligence Task Force; the Advisory Council of the National Legal Mentoring Consortium; and serves as Chair of the Public Interest Law Initiative’s (PILI) 6th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee.

In 2023, he was recognized as a member of the Fastcase 50, which highlights the top 50 innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the legal industry.

Palmer writes and speaks frequently on legal technology and ethics and has been featured in outlets including ABA Law Practice Magazine, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Chicago Lawyer, Attorney at Work, the Illinois Bar Journal, WGN Legal Face-Off, legal podcasts, and others.

He received a J.D. from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law. Palmer is an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign.

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 and follow us on social media.

Press Contact 

Laura Bagby, Communications Director

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