Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

Our Mission To promote a culture of civility and inclusion, in which Illinois lawyers and judges embody the ideals of the legal profession in service to the administration of justice in our democratic society.

Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism Blogs

Latest from Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

It’s hard to believe that we celebrated the Commission on Professionalism’s 16th anniversary last month.
The Illinois Supreme Court established the Commission in 2005 to promote professionalism among the lawyers and judges of Illinois, and, in turn, to foster equitable, efficient, and effective resolution of problems for the people of the state.
The Court formed the Commission at the same time as it established the MCLE Board to administer mandatory CLE in Illinois.
I joined the Commission as deputy director in 2006 and was appointed executive director in 2009. Since then – thanks to the work of our dedicated Commissioners
Continue Reading 16 Lessons in Professionalism From 16 Years

A lawyer’s obligations of communication and competence aren’t diminished when a client and a lawyer don’t share a common language or owing to a client’s non-cognitive physical condition, according to a recently issued opinion from the American Bar Association.
Formal Opinion 500 states that, in both situations, the duties of communication under Model Rule 1.4 and competence under Model Rule 1.1 still stand. Moreover, a lawyer may be obligated to ensure those duties are discharged through an impartial interpreter or translator and assistive or language-translation technologies, when necessary.
Importantly, a lawyer must ensure “the client understands the legal significance of
Continue Reading ABA Releases Guidance on Language Access in the Client-Lawyer Relationship

Anyone who knows me knows that I have complicated feelings about my place of birth. At the moment, the U.K. can best be described as a “mixed bag.”
However, there are certain things I will always love about home, one of which is its governmental “nudge unit.” Officially called The Behavioural Insights Team, the organization, which is based on the work of economists Richard H. Thaler and‎ Cass R. Sunstein, aims to implement small changes in society to influence behavior.
In many regards, professional responsibility CLE uses the same principles: by creating a professional development infrastructure for lawyers, the
Continue Reading Expanding Our Definition of Professional Responsibility

Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans and celebrates their influence on the history, culture, and achievements of the U.S.

We spoke with Andrea Belard, president of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois (HLAI), about creating a sense of belonging in the legal profession, how law firms can better recruit and retain Latino lawyers, and how allies can help amplify the voices of Latino attorneys in Illinois.
According to the 2021 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey, 4.8% of all lawyers are Hispanic, up just one percentage point from 3.9% a decade
Continue Reading How to Recruit and Retain Latino Attorneys with HLAI President Andrea Belard

Is LegalZoom the future of legal services? Early this month, the Arizona Supreme Court approved LZ Legal Services, a subsidiary of the online legal and compliance platform LegalZoom, for an Alternative Business Structure license in the state.
This means that LegalZoom will be able to provide limited legal services to individuals and small businesses, as well as to create new jobs for attorneys in the state. LegalZoom relies on an independent network of lawyers in other parts of the country, according to Reuters.
“This is an exciting milestone for our company and those we will be able to serve
Continue Reading Arizona Supreme Court Approves LegalZoom to Provide Legal Services

Legal organizations around Illinois will draw attention to the need for pro bono participation this month during the 17th Annual Pro Bono Week. From October 24-30, legal and civic organizations will hold virtual and in-person events that recognize the contributions of pro bono volunteers and highlight opportunities for pro bono work.
The demand for pro bono attorneys remains great, especially given the hardships created by COVID-19. The Legal Services Corporation anticipates an increase in demand for civil legal services due to the pandemic, specifically in the areas of eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence, unemployment insurance, and consumer scams.
In Illinois, some courts
Continue Reading How Are You Giving Back? Opportunities to Celebrate Pro Bono Week 2021!

In this episode of Reimagining Law, we speak to Kevin O’Keefe, CEO & Founder of LexBlog, Inc., the largest community of legal publishers in the world. Kevin discuss why lawyers should start a blog, best practices for marketing your firm virtually, and why blogging could help curtail the rural lawyer shortage.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law!

  • 00:34: Why should lawyers start a blog?
  • 1:25: What are some best practices for blogging?
  • 2:37: What are some of the things lawyers should not do when they’re blogging?
  • 3:57: How

Continue Reading Reimagining Law: How to Connect With Clients Through Blogging

Concerns about an eviction crisis related to COVID-19 have been shared since March 2020. Now, almost 17 months into the pandemic, evictions and eviction moratoriums still remain in the headlines.
However, the conversation shifted this week. As of October 3, 2021, the moratorium on evictions in Illinois has expired.
While renters, landlords, advocates, and communities are bracing themselves for what’s next, lawyers across Illinois have been working on the legal ramifications related to the pause in evictions throughout the pandemic.
A few of those lawyers (Bob Glaves, Executive Director, The Chicago Bar Foundation; Dennericka Brooks, Director of the
Continue Reading Illinois’ Eviction Moratorium Has Expired. What’s Next for Lawyers, Landlords, and Tenants?

Was your law school education worth the cost? Fewer than half of young attorneys believe it was according to a new survey on law school debt from the ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and AccessLex Institute. And while almost 61% said they would still pursue a J.D., fewer would attend the same law school. 
In May 2021, the YLD and AccessLex surveyed more than 1,300 lawyers age 36 or younger on the impact of law school debt. The survey built on a 2020 study of new lawyers, which found that law school debt was impacting major life milestones like buying
Continue Reading Is Law School Worth the Cost? Fewer Than Half of Young Attorneys Say ‘Yes’

Whether we realize it or not, as lawyers, we begin to form our professional identity in law school. And for many it starts as early as the first day of law school orientation.
As the Commission’s new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager, in August, I had the pleasure of participating in my first Jumpstart orientation. Jumpstart helps 1L students from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in law school develop the academic and interpersonal skills needed to navigate law school and become successful legal professionals.
While I had chilling flashbacks just hearing the mock fact pattern the students would need
Continue Reading Has Your Professional Identity Morphed Into Something You Don’t Recognize?

Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Emma Dorantes is a Champaign, Ill.-based staff attorney at Legal Advocacy Service, a division of the Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission.
At LAS, Emma focuses on disability rights law and advocates for the rights of individuals with mental illness in involuntary treatment and involuntary civil commitment hearings.
How do you use technology in your practice?
Without being able to share and receive digital pleadings and other documents, I wouldn’t be able to cover the three counties in my work: Champaign, McLean, and
Continue Reading Lawyer Spotlight: Emma Dorantes, Legal Advocacy Service

September 30, 2021, is the MCLE grace period deadline for Illinois attorneys who are part of the 2019-2021 reporting period but didn’t complete their CLE requirements by June 30, 2021.
Illinois attorneys whose last names begin with N-Z and fall into this category have until 11:59 p.m. CDT on September 30 to report compliance and pay their late fee. (Unlike last year, the MCLE Board isn’t waiving the late fee.)
The MCLE requirements for the 2019-2021 reporting period are 30 hours of approved Illinois MCLE credit, including at least six professional responsibility (PR) hours.
Those six PR hours must include
Continue Reading September 30 is the MCLE Grace Period Reporting Deadline

While many seasoned attorneys still tell tales of electric typewriters buzzing around the office as assistants sat plugged into dictation machines, today’s lawyers occupy a far different desk setup: they’re perched in front of a monitor (or two… or more) with cloud-based software to drive their document production.
The fact that there are more than 1.2 billion Microsoft Office users worldwide makes Microsoft Word the gold standard for word processing. Job hunting in practically any office setting demands Word is among your skillsets, lawyers included.
Nevertheless, although most people use Word, few take advantage of the program’s full capabilities
Continue Reading 6 Ways Lawyers Should Be Using Microsoft Word

In the age of COVID-19, video has become a dominant and ubiquitous form of communication (see TikTok). Videos are entertaining, engaging, and more expressive than photos.
According to Statista, when it comes to YouTube, people upload 500 hours of video every minute and watch around 1 billion hours of content each day.
At the Commission, we’ve seen our viewership on YouTube grow immensely over the past year. In fact, from September 2020 to September 2021, our channel received 43% more views than the year before. (If you haven’t checked out our YouTube content yet, you’re missing out.)
Organizations are increasingly
Continue Reading Simple Video Editing Tips for Lawyers

Over the past several weeks, Illinois justices, judges, and attorneys have blanketed the state in person and virtually to spread a message of professionalism to incoming 1L law students.
The program is part of the annual professionalism orientation at Illinois’ nine law schools. 2021 marks the 15th year the Commission on Professionalism has collaborated with the state’s law schools to produce the orientations.
University of Chicago Law School 1Ls recite the Pledge of Professionalism.“As an attorney, your reputation is being formed the minute you step into law school,” said Martin Sinclair, Chair of the Commission on Professionalism. “To continue to
Continue Reading Commission, Judges, and Attorneys Lay the Foundation for Professionalism in Illinois 1Ls

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) has rolled out more updates to the state’s court forms. This time they’ve amended several forms in the Eviction suite. The revised forms include:

  • Getting Started Different Types of Orders in Eviction Cases
  • How to Use Different Types of Orders in Eviction Cases
  • Agreed Dismissal Order (Case May Be Reinstated if Defendants Violate Agreement)
  • Agreed Settlement Order with Status Date (Defendants Will Move)
  • Agreed Settlement Order with Status Date (Defendants Will Pay & Stay)
  • Eviction Summons

The six updated forms can be found here and should be
Continue Reading Eviction Court Form Updates from the ATJ Commission