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On Thursday, Nov. 7, Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court justices administered the attorney’s oath to 1,459 new lawyers at bar admission ceremonies in the state’s five Supreme Court judicial districts. All candidates who were sworn in passed the Illinois State Bar Examination and a required ethics examination, and were certified by the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. The admission of these new attorneys brings the total number of licensed lawyers in Illinois to approximately 96,500. In Chicago, 1,172 attorneys were admitted in the First Judicial District during two bar admission ceremonies at the Arie Crown Theatre.…
On Tuesday, October 22, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier led first-year law students from Southern Illinois University School of Law (SIU) in the Pledge of Professionalism. The pledge was part of a professionalism orientation that the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism helps to facilitate each year at Illinois’ nine law schools. The SIU orientation marked the end of another successful year of professionalism orientations for the state’s 1L students. The professionalism orientation is designed to welcome first-year law students to the legal profession and introduce them to the core concepts of attorney professionalism. At each orientation,…
Legal organizations around Illinois and the nation will celebrate Pro Bono Week October 20-26. During and after Pro Bono Week, legal and civic organizations will hold events raising awareness of pro bono opportunities and the contributions of lawyers. Attorneys will also have the opportunity to volunteer their time. Model Rule 6.1 states that lawyers have a “professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay.” Last year, 32,866 Illinois lawyers performed over 2 million hours of pro bono service, according to the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission’s 2018 Annual Report. The report also states that 19,871 Illinois…
In September, Michigan adopted an ethical duty of technology competency for lawyers. This makes Michigan the 37th state to adopt the standard since the American Bar Association amended Comment 8 to Rule 1.1. in its Model Rules of Professional Conduct in 2012. The Michigan amendment will take effect on January 1, 2020. The Michigan Supreme Court’s order amends the comments to Rule 1.1 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct. The new rule is as follows (modified text underlined): To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should engage in continuing study and education, including the knowledge and…
The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) and The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) are partnering on the novel U.S. Justice Needs survey to evaluate the legal needs of American people and businesses not typically studied. Historically, U.S. access to justice studies have been limited in geographic scope or focused on those with lower incomes, says IAALS. US Justice Needs will be the first assessment of the legal needs of people of all income levels and regions of the country. This includes those in urban and rural areas, and small and mid-size…
The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) is accepting applications for attorneys to be part of its new Leadership Academy. Applications will be accepted from Sept. 23 to Oct. 18, 2019. The Leadership Academy is designed to “enhance the professional careers of young, diverse members of the Illinois Bar.” ISBA President David B. Sosin told the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin that even though lawyers learn valuable skills in law school, they’re not being taught leadership skills. By establishing the Leadership Academy, the ISBA is filling an education gap and preparing young lawyers to be future leaders. This year, a maximum of…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Court (AOIC) are looking to improve the resources and programs available to self-represented litigants (SLRs). As such, the organizations are hoping to expand the number of statewide circuits participating in the self-represented litigant coordinator network. The organizations have issued a request for proposals from all Illinois judicial circuits to support new SRL coordinators. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Outside of Cook County, roughly 65% of civil cases have one SRL. This lack of legal representation creates…
Do you know an Illinois lawyer who’s making an impact in pro bono or public interest law? If so, the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) is accepting nominations for its Annual Awards Luncheon, to be held Wednesday, December 4, 2019, in Chicago. The awards celebrate the outstanding public service work of lawyers throughout Illinois. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, September 6. PILI is a pillar in the pro bono and public interest law community. Through its support of law students, legal professionals and pro bono organizations, PILI aims to “mak[e] equal access to justice a reality through a…
Earlier this month, Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO), the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) and the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) announced changes to the Free Legal Answers website. As of August 1, 2019, PILI will assume the state administrator role for the virtual legal clinic from ILAO. Moving forward, PILI will oversee the day-to-day website operations and volunteer management with ongoing funding assistance from IBF. ILAO will continue to provide client referrals and serve as a resource for the volunteer lawyers answering legal questions on the website. Free Legal Answers Free Legal Answers, an American Bar Association project, provides a…
July 1, 2019, marked a significant day for women in the Illinois judiciary. For the first time in the 200-year history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the role of chief judge will be held by a woman. Newly appointed Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer succeeds Judge Ruben Castillo, who announced he was stepping down on International Women’s Day 2019 (March 8). Judge Castillo, who also broke ground as the state’s first Latino federal judge and its first Latino chief judge, will remain on the bench as an active district court judge. With this appointment,…
In recognition of Pride Month, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism will feature biographies of LGBTQ+ legal professionals who have promoted a culture of civility and inclusion within the Illinois legal community. This week we profile Judge Nancy Katz, the first openly lesbian judge in Illinois. Earlier this month, we featured Pearl Hart and Thomas Chiola. Nancy Katz Katz dedicated her career to advocating for justice on behalf of underserved communities in Illinois. However, this passion began long before her legal career. As an undergraduate at Northeastern Illinois University, Katz studied sociology and criminal justice. During this…
In recognition of Pride month, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (Commission) will feature biographies of LGBTQ+ legal professionals who promoted a culture of civility and inclusion within the Illinois legal community. Our first biography, featuring Pearl Hart, came out last week. Keep an eye out for more later this month. Thomas Chiola Thomas Chiola, 67, grew up in Springfield, IL. As a self-described “all-American boy,” Chiola was the Springfield high school senior of the year in 1970. In 1993, Chiola returned to Springfield to give a speech at an awards banquet. It was here that he…
Are you a law student or know a law student who could use scholarship assistance? The Illinois Judges Foundation (IJF) is accepting applications for a $5,000 scholarship until 3:00 p.m. on June 20, 2019. The Harold Sullivan Scholarship was established to ensure the promotion of ethical values to new generations of Illinois law students. The Illinois Judges Association established the IJF in 2007 to serve as its charitable arm. Its members include both current, sitting judges and retired judges from the state court level throughout Illinois. The IJF funds educational, civic and scholarship projects that advance the rule of law,…
In recognition of Pride month, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (Commission) will feature biographies of LGBTQ+ legal professionals who promoted a culture of civility and inclusion within the Illinois legal community. Keep an eye out for additional biographies during June. Pearl Hart Pearl Hart was born in Traverse City, Michigan in 1890 as the fifth and only American born daughter in a family of Russian Jewish Immigrants. Shortly after her birth, Hart’s family moved to 1547 S Kedzie in the Southwest side of Chicago. Here, her father, David, served as an orthodox rabbi and her mother, Rebecca,…
New Mexico is the latest state to consider authorizing limited legal technicians (LLTs) to provide civil legal services to people unable to afford an attorney. In a press release earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court announced the formation of a working group to explore licensing LLTs and other possible changes in court rules and programs to improve the availability of legal services in the state. LLTs would provide legal advice and assistance to clients in certain areas of law without the supervision of a lawyer. If approved, New Mexico would be the third state to authorize professionals who…
The NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education and Fringe PD are requesting responses for their Civility within Law Firms – Lawyer Survey. The organizations are asking U.S. and Canada-based attorneys at law firms to participate in the 10-minute, anonymous lawyer civility survey.  This includes staff attorneys, contract / temporary lawyers, part-time / flexible lawyers, etc. The deadline for participation is Thursday, May 30. The NALP Foundation provides practical research and data analysis to improve law career satisfaction and the delivery of legal services. Working with Fringe PD, a neuroscience-based professional development company, the NALP Foundation lawyer civility…