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

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 justices of the Supreme Court of Illinois have selected Hon. Anne Burke to serve as their next chief justice. Burke was sworn in on Sept. 10, 2019, with an effective date of Oct. 26, 2019. Her three-year term will run through Oct. 25, 2022. Burke will be the court’s 121st chief justice. Burke succeeds Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, who has served in the role since 2016. She will be the third woman to serve as chief justice, following the late Justice Mary Ann McMorrow and Justice Rita B. Garman. The position of chief justice rotates among the seven…
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…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is thrilled to announce that the University of Illinois College of Law has joined the Jumpstart law school preparation program. The University of Illinois is the first law school outside of Chicago to participate in Jumpstart. Retired U.S. Seventh Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams launched Jumpstart over 20 years ago as an educational program to support first year, minority law students who are traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession. The curriculum, which is designed in collaboration with the law schools, provides context for success in law school and beyond. “I’m thrilled to welcome…
John Gallo serves as the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of Legal Aid Chicago. He’s based in Chicago. How has your practice evolved over the last few years? Quite a bit. From 1996 to 2017, I was a partner at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago. I was Co-Chair of Sidley’s White Collar Practice from 2010 to 2017, and Head of Litigation in Sidley’s Chicago Office from 2014 to 2017. While at Sidley, my practice had two areas of focus. First, I represented institutional clients in circumstances where the client discovered actual or alleged internal wrongdoing. I led and conducted confidential internal investigations for those…
The Utah Supreme Court has quickly moved ahead on regulatory reform. On Wednesday, August 28, the Court unanimously approved a work group report that lays out recommendations for narrowing the access to justice gap by reimagining lawyer regulation. The report, which was received by the Court less than a week before approval, is focused on “optimizing regulation in a manner that fosters innovation and promotes other market forces so as to increase access to and affordability of legal services.” Other states, including Arizona, California and Illinois, are evaluating similar legal regulation proposals. Utah, however, was the first to act. Increasing…
Illinois’ rural lawyers are disappearing. The lack of disbursement of practicing attorneys in the state is startling. Cook County represents 40% of the state’s population and over 70% of its lawyers. Cook County and its six collar counties account for 65% of the state’s population and 90% of its lawyers. That leaves 95 counties in Illinois with just 10% of its lawyers. The lack of rural lawyers in Illinois is becoming more pronounced by the year, according to the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice. As the rural lawyer population throughout much of the state declines, locating…
In the U.S., the bar exam has determined the fate of eager would-be lawyers since 1738. The exam is aimed at sorting out those who have the skills to practice law from those who don’t. However, state regulators haven’t agreed on a definition of the minimum competence needed to practice law. This begs the question, “Does the bar exam accurately identify who has what it takes to practice law?” The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) is aiming to fill this critical gap with its recently launched Building a Better Bar: Capturing Minimum Competence project. The…
I recently attended my first Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) conference right here in Chicago.   A recurring theme I heard was how to enhance legal education to change the hearts and minds of lawyers who view CLE as a time suck. If my two decades of teaching and facilitating has taught me anything, it’s that if your audience comes into the room thinking “I have a million things to do,” then the phrase “tough crowd” doesn’t even begin to describe the experience you’re going to have.   It’s at this point that the CLE-as-a-time-suck conversation often goes a little quiet; there are a few subtle nods of agreement and someone may even cough. However,…
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…
Today’s attorneys have discovered the importance of online lawyer reviews. While one bad review has the potential to cripple a firm, a few good reviews can provide a ton of marketing power. Timely, effective management of your online reviews can be a strong tool for generating leads. Online platforms are putting your firm’s profile as the lead component of search results, whether you’ve claimed the profile or not. Establishing and maintaining your online business presence across multiple platforms like Google, Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook and Avvo, often starts with claiming your business and professional profiles. While you don’t have control of…
Eileen Letts is a Chicago-based equity partner at Zuber, Lawler & Del Duca LLP where she specializes in personal injury law. What drew you to personal injury law? I started practicing personal injury defense work when I was with the City of Chicago. I enjoyed it and have continued to practice in the area ever since. How has your practice evolved over the last few years? [I] have been involved in more mediations/arbitrations to resolve cases before trial. From your perspective, how can lawyers adapt to the changing legal profession? We have to adapt to the practice now being 24/7.…
Each year, Illinois law schools welcome hundreds of new students to the legal profession. The Commission on Professionalism is privileged to once again facilitate a professionalism orientation for incoming students at each of Illinois’s nine law schools. The professionalism orientation is designed to introduce first-year law students to the core concepts of attorney professionalism. The orientations are held in conjunction with broader law school orientation activities. 2019 marks the 13th year that the Commission has led the program. At each orientation, judges and justices from across Illinois deliver remarks reflecting on the importance of civility and professionalism in the law.…
The legal employment market may be improving for recent law school graduates, according to new data from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). Late last month, NALP released a summary of key findings from its annual Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law School Graduates report. The data showed that while the employment rate for law school graduates continues to rise, graduates found 150 fewer jobs in 2018 than 2017. Legal employment market makes gains Members of the class of 2018 experienced an 89.4% employment rate, compared to 88.6% in 2017. The number of law firm jobs…
Change doesn’t come rapidly in law. That’s a good thing. The rule of law is predicated on predictability and consistency with precedent. However, if the rapid pace of changes in technology and globalization leave law behind and out of the equation, that’s a problem. Here’s where the idea of regulatory sandboxes may help. What’s a regulatory sandbox? “Regulatory sandbox” refers to a way for companies and regulators to experiment with new types of services and technologies to best determine how to regulate them. According to a paper written by Jorge Gabriel Jiménez, a fellow in Stanford Law School’s Legal Design…
The Digital LSAT has arrived. And the reviews are mixed. More than 24,000 aspiring lawyers registered for the July LSAT at over 450 test centers across North America. Roughly half took the digital exam, which was administered at 203 test centers. Kaplan Test Prep, an educational and career services provider, polled 118 of its students about their experience with the digital exam. Test takers were split on the overall difficulty: 37% said it was easier than expected, while 32% said it was harder and 31% said it was as expected. When it came to the technology (e.g., touchscreen and stylus…