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

While some lawyers view incivility as a relatively minor transgression, a recent New York Supreme Court decision shows incivility can be costly.

Justice Andrea Masley’s decision is noteworthy not only because of the steep penalties she imposed but also because of the strength of the opinion itself. Justice Masley rejected the notion that incivility is simply vigorous advocacy and instead reinforced civility as a first principle of the legal profession.
Objecting on the grounds of ‘being obnoxious’
The litigation at issue involved a dispute over music publishing and production agreements between plaintiff Jacob Hindlin, a music writer and producer, and
Continue Reading The True Cost of Incivility in the Legal Profession

1Ls at the University of Chicago Law School
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that it has again had the privilege of facilitating professionalism orientations for 1Ls at Illinois’ nine law schools.

Each year, Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices, federal judges, and Illinois circuit court judges introduce incoming law students to the principles of professionalism and explain why it matters in their legal careers.

They then lead the students in the Pledge of Professionalismduring which the students commit to practicing integrity, civility, and respect as law students and future attorneys.

Given the COVID-19
Continue Reading Illinois 1Ls Pledge to Professionalism in Annual Professionalism Orientations

I can’t think of a more appropriate visual metaphor for a blog on productive procrastination than the version history of the blog as it was written.
I began to draft the piece on August 26, driven by a desire to have the piece finished well ahead of my mid-September deadline. I returned to work on it on September 1, a little deflated that I hadn’t achieved more, but not too concerned as I still had ample time to finish. Ditto on September 7.
And then September 13 hit, and I realized that my procrastination had pushed me right up against
Continue Reading Productive Procrastination: How to Feel Good About Avoiding Tasks

The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee is asking for public input on six proposed updates to Supreme Court Rules in areas including peremptory strikes, fee arrangements, and e-Filing.

A live public hearing will be held on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. To testify at the hearing, email RulesCommittee@illinoiscourts.gov no later than Wednesday, September 28, 2022.

Written comments are also invited and should be submitted no later than Wednesday, September 28, 2022.

Please email written comments to RulesCommittee@illinoiscourts.gov or mail to: Committee Secretary, Supreme Court Rules Committee, 222 N. LaSalle Street, 13th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60601.

The public will
Continue Reading Sign Up to Testify On Proposed Rule Changes Regarding Peremptory Strikes, e-Filing, and Fee Arrangements

Despite an increased focus on social justice issues, there continue to be barriers when it comes to corporate clients sending legal work to minority and women-owned law firms, according to a study by the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) and the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP).
The first of its kind study, which was conducted in 2019 and 2020, aimed to explore the amount and type of legal work corporate clients direct toward diverse-owned law firms and the criteria used in selecting outside counsel.
The findings show that while a large majority
Continue Reading Corporate Clients Still Aren’t Sending Much Business to Diverse-Owned Law Firms, According to NAMWOLF/IILP Report

The Diversity Lab, an incubator of ideas aimed at boosting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, recently released the next iteration of its Mansfield Rule, an initiative launched in 2017 to diversify recruitment and promotion practices in law.

The Mansfield Rule 6.0 asks law firms to consider at least 30% of underrepresented talent from four groups—including women lawyers, underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers, LGBTQ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities—for leadership roles and activities that lead to leadership. Firms are also asked to consider 30% underrepresented talent for C-suite roles.

In addition, the Rules ask that legal departments consider
Continue Reading Mansfield Rule 6.0 Pushes for Increased Diversity in the Legal Profession

White, male attorneys continue to make up the majority of lawyers in the U.S., according to the ABA’s Profile of the Legal Profession, an annual report on diversity in the legal profession that was released last month.

However, the number of female attorneys and those from underrepresented ethnic and racial communities is growing, especially among law students and associates.

And while Illinois ranks high when it comes to the number of attorneys who practice in the state (5th overall), lawyers are rapidly flocking to places like North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Utah, where the number of active attorneys has
Continue Reading Here’s What the Legal Profession Looks Like in 2022

Jumpstart students pictured with Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.) as well as Deans, faculty, and staff from Illinois law schools and the Commission on Professionalism.
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to report that first-year law students from all nine Illinois law schools participated in Jumpstart, a pre-law school preparatory program designed to elevate first-generation law students and those from communities that are historically underrepresented in the legal profession. The program took place August 1 through August 3, 2022.
Jumpstart aims to educate students on the demands and opportunities of law school, which they may not have been
Continue Reading Commission on Professionalism, Illinois Law Schools, and Legal Organizations Elevate 1Ls from Historically Underrepresented Communities through Jumpstart Program

The judiciary is less homogenous than it used to be, but the judges and justices sitting on federal and state benches remain overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly white, according to the ABA’s Profile of the Legal Profession, an annual report on diversity in the judiciary and legal profession that was released last month.
However, things may be shifting. The Senate confirmed 68 new federal judges from Jan. 1, 2021, to July 1, 2022. Of these, 65 (96%) identified as female, Black, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American or mixed race or ethnicity.
Of the 25 new state Supreme Court justices who
Continue Reading ABA Profile of the Legal Profession: The Judiciary is Vast, But Not Terribly Varied

Lawyers speak publicly all the time. Whether it’s arguing your client’s case before a judge, pitching new business, or engaging with colleagues in the boardroom, to be a successful attorney, lawyers must be able to clearly articulate their position and persuade others to come along.
It would seem, then, as seasoned public speakers that lawyers could seamlessly slip into the role of the authoritative presenter or expert facilitator when they’re asked to teach other attorneys about topics on which they have knowledge to share.
However, that’s not always the case. Lawyers are often trained to talk to people (i.e., lecture,
Continue Reading Lawyers: Improve Your Presentation Skills Using One Simple Tool


The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce the release of a Profiles in Professionalism video featuring Justice Rita B. Garman (Ret.).  
The Commission’s Profiles in Professionalism series highlights distinguished members of the legal profession at the end of their careers. Previous videos include interviews with former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justices Mary Ann McMorrow and Thomas R. Fitzgerald. The Commission interviewed Justice Garman on June 28, 2022, just days before her retirement.  
The interview explores Garman’s trailblazing career, from entering law school in the 1960s when there were few women in the profession, to
Continue Reading Class of 2021 Law Grads Entered One of the Strongest Legal Job Markets Ever. What Does This Mean for Future Grads?

When Justice Rita B. Garman retired from the Illinois Supreme Court on July 7, 2022, she did so as the longest-serving judge in Illinois. However, Garman’s road to the Court was not without its challenges.

She entered law school in the 1960s, when there were few women in the profession. She was one of only eight women in her law school class and was once told by a professor that she should give up her seat to “a more deserving male.”

Upon graduation, Garman found it difficult to find a job because, as one law firm remarked, “no one wants
Continue Reading Justice Rita B. Garman: Blazing a Trail for Women in Law

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce the release of a Profiles in Professionalism video featuring Justice Rita B. Garman (Ret.).  

The Commission’s Profiles in Professionalism series highlights distinguished members of the legal profession at the end of their careers. Previous videos include interviews with former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justices Mary Ann McMorrow and Thomas R. Fitzgerald. The Commission interviewed Justice Garman on June 28, 2022, just days before her retirement.  

The interview explores Garman’s trailblazing career, from entering law school in the 1960s when there were few women in the profession, to becoming
Continue Reading Commission on Professionalism Preserves Justice Rita Garman’s (Ret.) Story in Its Signature Profiles in Professionalism Interview Series

In his speech “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. emphasized that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Seldom has this principle felt more evident than watching Justice Lisa Holder White take the oath of office—in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum—to become the Illinois Supreme Court’s newest member.

When President Lincoln took office, he could not have envisioned the historic scene that would take place more than 150 years later in a museum bearing his name. In 1861, the American legal system sanctioned the enslavement of
Continue Reading We Are Bending the Arc of the Moral Universe Toward Justice

Editor’s note: This story includes discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org 
We often hear that mental health and substance use challenges continue to plague the legal profession. Recent survey data from Law.com and ALM Intelligence supports this reality.  
In the survey, more than 3,400 respondents from law firms (including lawyers and law firm personnel) around the globe detailed the state of their mental health, work environments, perceptions of colleagues, client expectations, the effects of remote work, and other areas.  
Continue Reading Illinois LAP: Creating a lane for lawyers who are suffering in silence

In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Judge Michael J. Chmiel of the 22nd Judicial Circuit in McHenry County, Ill. Judge Chmiel talks about how judges can set the tone for civility in the courts, why they can’t turn the other way when incivility arises, and the standing orders he issued that promote civility and professionalism in his courtroom.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay updated on new episodes.
Timestamps
00:00:44 Judge Chmiel, our world seems to be consumed with a lot of contention and division. How can lawyers and judges, who are typically leaders in our
Continue Reading Reimagining Law: Why Judges Can’t Look Away When Incivility Arises