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

Despite increased representation of women, people of color, and those who identify as LGBTQ among associates, progress for Black and Latina partners remains “excruciatingly slow,” according to the NALP 2022 Report on Diversity in Law Firms.
Black and Latina women each accounted for less than 1% of all partners in 2022, increasing by less than 0.1 percentage point from 2021.
Conversely, women in general now make up nearly half of all associates and summer associates.
Over the 30 years that NALP has collected data, the representation of people of color at the partner level has increased by less than
Continue Reading Little Progress for Black and Latina Lawyers at the Partner Level, According to NALP

Growing up as a Black girl with a multiracial heritage in central Illinois in the 1980s, race often played a role in my experiences. And in those moments, I felt a sense of otherness.
Julia Roundtree Livingston in first grade
Whether I was the only brown face in my school, on my extracurricular teams, or in my church, I was hyperaware of racial differences.
I was not the only one who would define my differences; my classmates regularly pointed them out in my appearance—brown skin and protective hairstyles (often braids)–which was starkly different as compared to theirs.
Like other children,
Continue Reading Meet Our DEI Manager Julia Roundtree Livingston—Educator, Advocate, and Community Leader

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that registration is open for its seventh annual The Future Is Now: Legal Services conference. The conference will be held virtually from 12 – 4:15 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 20, 2023.
Early bird pricing of $30 per ticket will be available through Wednesday, March 15, when the price will increase to $50 per ticket.
The Future Is Now will explore the intersection of legal innovation and professionalism through the lens of delivering legal services to today’s consumers.
Conference speakers will discuss how to prioritize the principles of professionalism—including civility;
Continue Reading Commission on Professionalism Opens Early Bird Registration for 2023 Future Is Now: Legal Services Conference

Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Michele M. Jochner, partner at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP in the Chicagoland area, represents family law clients in complex appellate matters.
Previously, Michele served as a judicial law clerk to two Chief Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court: the late Justice Mary Ann G. McMorrow and the late Justice Charles E. Freeman.
How has your practice evolved during the last few years?
After nearly 16 years of service at the Illinois Supreme Court, I joined the internationally-recognized law firm of
Continue Reading Lawyer Spotlight: Michele M. Jochner

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) recently announced that the Motion to Seal Court File in an Eviction Case form suite is available for comment for 45 days, through March 3, 2023.
This new form set is meant to help self-represented litigants request to seal their eviction court files.
The forms and a link to submit comments can be found on the Illinois Supreme Court website.
After the public comment period ends, the ATJ Commission will review any feedback or suggestions received and make any necessary revisions.
What eviction forms are available for comment?
Continue Reading ATJ Commission Approves a New Suite of Eviction Forms for Public Comment

Last week, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism Executive Director Erika Harold returned to her alma mater, Harvard Law School, as part of the teaching faculty of the Winter Trial Advocacy Workshop. This is the sixth year that Harold has taught as part of the Trial Advocacy Workshop.
The Trial Advocacy Workshop is an intensive course in trial analysis, skills, and techniques taught over three weeks. Harold taught during the second week, which focused on bench trials.
“We are delighted that Erika joined the teaching faculty of our Trial Advocacy Workshop again this year,” said Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Director
Continue Reading Executive Director Erika Harold Part of Teaching Faculty for Harvard Law School’s Winter Trial Advocacy Workshop

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that it recently partnered with the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice to lead its 12th Courthouse Professionalism Training. The in-person training was held on January 11, 2023, at the Cook County Sixth Municipal District courthouse in Markham, Illinois.
Presiding Judge Tommy Brewer provides remarks to the participants
Roughly 40 members of the courthouse working community —including judges, attorneys, deputies, clerks, and administration—participated in the half-day program that asked them to navigate the courthouse experience through the lens of court users.
“Courthouse Professionalism Training is an opportunity
Continue Reading Commission on Professionalism and Commission on Access to Justice Partner to Lead Courthouse Professionalism Training in Markham, Ill.

U.S. News & World Report said it will amend the methodology used in its ranking of best U.S. law schools after several law schools cited concerns with its criteria.  
More than 20 law schools including Northwestern, Harvard, and Yale, have said that they will stop providing data to U.S. News for the annual rankings because the rankings lack diversity metrics, penalize schools whose graduates pursue advanced degrees or careers in public interest, and encourage schools to favor wealthy students by offering financial aid based on test scores rather than financial need.  
“We make this decision – despite our
Continue Reading U.S. News & World Report Amends Law School Rankings Amid Boycott

Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Wade Thomson is a litigator and partner at Jenner & Block in Chicago. Wade has specialized in litigating business-to-business disputes in aerospace and aviation. He has also had experience with media law and investigations and compliance.
How has your practice evolved during the last few years?
I have always focused on personal relationships in business development because that is something I truly value.
I haven’t changed that focus but I do think it has become even more pronounced during the pandemic. Everyone
Continue Reading Lawyer Spotlight: Wade Thomson

New year, new you? Who is ready?
Was anyone else crawling to the end of the invisible finish line of 2022? Maybe it was just me, but I doubt it. We are all part of the legal profession; no one gets a prize at the end of the year for working the fewest number of hours.
I am not here to write about the best self-care routine for 2023 or how to work more efficiently. While I do believe in all of that, if I had the answer, I would not be wiping off the dirt from all of the
Continue Reading 4 Development Goals for Lawyers This Year

January is National Mentoring Month. At the Commission on Professionalism, we would like to congratulate the attorneys and legal organizations that have already made mentoring a priority by participating in our lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program or programs elsewhere.
2022 was an exciting year for mentoring at the Commission. As of December 2022, 111 organizations across Illinois are implementing the Commission’s mentoring program, including 50 law firms, 22 bar associations, 15 professional organizations, 11 government offices, 9 law schools, two court districts, and one corporation. And participants have come from 13 states and 84 cities.
If you are not already part of
Continue Reading 3 Priorities for Lawyer Mentoring in 2023

Welcome to a new year! And if you are an attorney in New York, you are welcoming a new category of CLE.
Beginning on July 1, 2023, licensed attorneys in New York will be required to complete one CLE credit hour of cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection training as part of their biennial learning requirement.
While 40 states (as of publication) have adopted the duty of technology competency (including Illinois, see Rule 1.1, Comment 8), and some states even require CLE devoted to technology training (see e.g., Florida, North Carolina), New York is the first state to
Continue Reading Shields Up! What Lawyers Need to Know to Avoid Phishing Attacks

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Julia Roundtree Livingston has joined the organization as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Manager.
In this role, Livingston will lead the Commission’s education and advocacy initiatives aimed at promoting DEI in Illinois’ legal and justice systems.
Prior to joining the Commission, Livingston was Executive Director of Macon County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which provides court-appointed volunteers to advocate for abused, neglected, and/or dependent children who are involved in the Macon County juvenile court system. She was appointed to this role in 2018.
“On behalf of the Commission,
Continue Reading Julia Roundtree Livingston Joins Commission on Professionalism as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager

Our Commissioners and staff at our September 2022 meeting
2022 was a year of profound change for both the Commission on Professionalism and me.
In April 2022, I assumed the role of Executive Director from Jayne Reardon, who was retiring after leading the Commission with vision and passion since 2009.
I transitioned from a fulfilling litigation practice at Meyer Capel in Champaign and moved to Chicago, invigorated and grateful for this new opportunity to serve the legal community and its stakeholders.
After nine months as Executive Director, I am more energized than ever by the work of the Commission and
Continue Reading Letters from Erika: 4 Reasons I Was Proud of the Commission in 2022

Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Sandra A. Frantzen is an intellectual property and technology attorney at McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd. in Chicago. Her primary practice area is patent litigation and worldwide IP portfolio management in the medical device, pharmaceutical, chemical, and consumer products fields.
Sandra represents clients in federal courts across the country and practices before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including conducting trials before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. She has also worked with colleagues abroad in foreign patent courts.
Sandra is a
Continue Reading Lawyer Spotlight: Sandra A. Frantzen

Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis administers the Oath of Unity to Illinois bar associations
If diversity and unity in Illinois’ legal profession could be reflected in a tableau, the image of bar association presidents from different backgrounds collectively pledging to promote diversity and collaboration in the legal profession would encompass those ideals.
That was the scene at the Diversity Scholarship Foundation, NFP’s Unity Gala & 20th Annual Swearing-In Ceremony of Bar Presidents, which was held in December in Chicago.
The annual gala recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the legal community and the community at large, including
Continue Reading Illinois Bar Associations Pledge to Promote Diversity and Unity In the Legal Profession