How do you react when someone mentions the Socratic method? Are you immediately transported back to law school, cowering at your desk in hopes you aren’t the professor’s next victim? Or do you miss the lively and challenging debate the method facilitated?

Whether it’s law school, CLE, or generic education settings, the term “Socratic method” is thrown around as a catch-all for any learning event where an expert is delivering content, primarily in a lecture format.

We’ve all heard of it, but what is the Socratic method, really? And why is it the go-to format for educating lawyers?

Before we
Continue Reading Are We Using the Socratic Method the Right Way?

The Illinois State Bar Association is recruiting law students and newer attorneys to rural Illinois.

Its Rural Practice Fellowship Program is designed to address the shortage of lawyers in the less-populated regions of Illinois by connecting rural and small-town law firms with law students and newer attorneys who are interested in practicing in this setting.

The disappearance of rural lawyers in Illinois has been well-documented. According to the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, of the 65,723 active and inactive lawyers in Illinois in 2020, almost 87% were located in the state’s six most populous counties (Cook, DuPage, Kane,
Continue Reading Interested in Practicing in Rural Illinois? Apply for an ISBA Fellowship!

Want to improve attorney well-being? Start by capping billable hours at 1,800, making sure lawyers take all of their vacation time, and standardizing virtual hearings.

These recommendations, in addition to requiring that law students study well-being, were a few of the changes proposed by the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Attorney Well-Being and approved by the House of Delegates on Oct. 30.

The recommendations stem from an October 2020 survey of 3,089 New York attorneys that explored how well-being impacts lawyers.

“We owe it to the next generation of lawyers, to our clients, to the justice system,
Continue Reading To Improve Well-Being, NYSBA Recommends Capping Billable Hours at 1,800

The public wants remote hearings to continue when COVID-19 subsides, according to the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) “State of the State Courts” survey.

And, while respondents said public trust in the courts and other institutions is waning, they indicated that courts could build trust by expanding online resources and remote options, which can help address core inequities in the justice system.

The annual survey of public opinion polled 1,000 registered voters using a mixture of telephone interviews and online surveys between October 12-16, 2021.

“We have been measuring public attitudes toward state courts for the NCSC
Continue Reading NCSC Survey Finds Public Wants Remote Court Hearings to Continue Post-Pandemic

Photo courtesy of Apple TVDon’t deny it. There are lessons lawyers can learn from Lasso. Ted Lasso that is. If you don’t know who this is, stop what you’re doing, turn on Apple TV, and watch this show immediately.
The show follows a fictitious English soccer team named AFC Richmond that is now coached by an American from the Midwest who knows little about soccer (or football as it’s known in England).
The antics and stories that ensue are funny and I would even argue they’re hilarious at times. Yet the reasons this show has touched the hearts of so
Continue Reading Lessons for Lawyers from Ted Lasso

In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Trisha M. Rich, a Partner at Holland & Knight and a Commissioner at the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, and Melissa A. Smart, Director of Education at the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC).

Trish and Melissa discuss the difference between being a client advocate and overly aggressive, how aggressive behavior impacts legal outcomes and the bottom line, and how the ARDC is addressing acts of incivility that don’t rise to the level of discipline or an ethical violation.

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Continue Reading Reimagining Law: Client advocate or overly aggressive? How incivility can impact your case.

On Wednesday, the Illinois Supreme Court swore in 1,269 new attorneys during a virtual bar admissions ceremony. These lawyers join the almost 95,000 attorneys who are registered to practice in Illinois.
If you were sworn in, or just happened to watch the ceremony, you heard Chief Justice Anne M. Burke and Justice David K. Overstreet discuss the importance of mentoring in laying the foundation for a successful legal career.
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s attorney mentoring program was launched in 2011 to do just that.
Why mentoring?
Mentors can set the tone for your career, turning legal
Continue Reading Are You a New Illinois Lawyer? Kickstart Your Career With Mentoring!

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) has published a cannabis expungement suite of forms. The forms are required to be accepted at all Illinois courts.

The cannabis expungement forms, which can be found here, include:

Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Releases Cannabis Expungement Court Forms

New data from the National Association of Law Placement (NALP) found that first-generation law students who don’t have at least one parent with a bachelor’s degree or higher have a harder time securing jobs after graduation than their peers.

Moreover, first-generation students, who are often racial minorities, earn less than their peers and aren’t as likely to secure coveted private practice jobs or judicial clerkships.

NALP’s Class of 2020 Employment Report and Salary Survey explored the impact of parental education on employment outcomes for the first time.

Overall, 22.5% of the class of 2020 graduates were first-generation college students. However,
Continue Reading First-Generation Lawyers Face Fewer Jobs and Lower Pay Than Peers, NALP Data Says

What technology tools are growing law firms using? Clio, a provider of cloud-based legal technology, explored this in its recently released 2021 Legal Trends Report.

Last week we covered how the Legal Trends Report documented a change in client expectations, especially when it comes to communications. In 2018, only 23% of consumers were open to working with a lawyer remotely. Today, 79% of consumers say they look for remote options when hiring a lawyer.

This week we look at how the adoption of technology has contributed to law firm success. Clio’s research indicates that the adoption of technology has
Continue Reading What Technology Tools Are Growing Law Firms Using?

This week, Clio, a provider of cloud-based legal technology, is holding its annual Clio Cloud 9 conference. The event has become one of the industry’s leading legal technology conferences and an opportunity to reflect on evolving consumer expectations in legal through the release of Clio’s Legal Trends Report.
Following the rapid adoption of technology by law firms in 2020, in which 85% of firms said they were using software to manage operations and 83% reported meeting with clients virtually, it appears that leveraging technology has become the norm. In fact, at least 95% of firms said they plan to continue using
Continue Reading Clio Legal Trends Report Reveals How Clients Want to Communicate With Attorneys

Since 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) has prioritized remote access to the court system, including remote appearances.

Remote appearances allow parties and attorneys to access the justice system without multiple trips to the courthouse, while allowing courts to streamline their court calls.

Meaningful access to lawyers and the justice system without time-consuming trips to law offices or the courthouse is especially important in rural areas like southern Illinois’ First Judicial Circuit, where public transportation and ridesharing options are practically non-existent.

In 2019, the ATJ Commission began conversations with partners at
Continue Reading First Judicial Circuit & Land of Lincoln Legal Aid Partner on Remote Appearance Pilot Program

One of the great benefits of mentoring is the opportunity for an independent, customized critique of your performance through friendly yet targeted feedback. Yet therein also lies the problem.
Rather than waiting for feedback, I encourage readers to seek it out, i.e., to pull for feedback. There are times when this evaluation is what you want: a review of your past performance compared to agreed-upon expectations or your peers.
However, most who seek input are more future-focused. That’s the goal after all: to improve your performance going forward. You want comments that will support future professional development, not reflection
Continue Reading Stop Asking for Feedback. There is a Better Way.

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