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Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court announced a plan to expand remote access to court information and documents. The new Remote Access Policy (RAP), which took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, is being tested by a subset of Illinois licensed attorneys that were selected by the Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Technology. The RAP will be tested during a trial period using the statewide re:SearchIL portal. Prior to June 30, 2020, an initial review of the RAP will be conducted to determine if expansion to judicial partners and the public is appropriate. Since 2002, the Illinois…
The ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism is accepting nominations for its annual E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards. The award recognizes exceptional professionalism programs at law schools, bar associations, courts, and other legal organizations. Nominations will be accepted until March 31, 2020. In 2020, the ABA will recognize up to three programs. Honorees will be awarded a $3,500 prize provided by the E. Smythe Gambrell Fund for Professionalism. The awards will be presented on July 31, 2020, at the NABE/NCBP/NCBF Joint Luncheon during the ABA 2020 Annual Meeting in Chicago. To be considered for the Gambrell Professionalism Awards, a program…
The Illinois Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission (ATJ Commission) and the Circuit Court of Cook County have partnered on a new Remote Video Pilot program. The program will allow individuals to appear for cases remotely in three different divisions of the Cook County Circuit Courts. The pilot was launched on December 2, 2019 and will run through November 30, 2020. This news is in line with the Illinois Judicial Branch Strategic Agenda. The strategic goals for the judicial branch include embracing technology to deliver timely and efficient court services. “We believe using technology to broaden the ways…
As part of its yearlong Minds Over Matters: An Examination of Mental Health in the Legal Profession initiative, Law.com has partnered with ALM Intelligence to gather information on mental health and substance abuse among lawyers and legal professionals. Multiple studies have documented the pervasiveness of mental health and substance abuse problems in the legal profession. For instance, in 2016, an American Bar Association and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation study of 12,825 licensed, employed attorneys found that 28% suffered from depression and 1 in 5 self-described as problems drinkers. A basic component of lawyer professionalism is competent client representation. If lawyers…
As part of its yearlong Minds Over Matters: An Examination of Mental Health in the Legal Profession initiative, Law.com has partnered with ALM Intelligence to gather information on mental health and substance abuse among lawyers and legal professionals. Multiple studies have documented the pervasiveness of mental health and substance abuse problems in the legal profession. For instance, in 2016, an American Bar Association and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation study of 12,825 licensed, employed attorneys found that 28% suffered from depression and 1 in 5 self-described as problems drinkers. A basic component of lawyer professionalism is competent client representation. If lawyers aren’t taking
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…