The bar exam is a rite of passage for lawyers. It is a proctored, in-person examination administered across all U.S. jurisdictions on the same two days each February and July. This year, the February exam took place as planned. But the coronavirus and social distancing requirements have caused uncertainty for 2020’s second bar exam, which has been scheduled for July 28-29. Graduated law students who intend to sit for the upcoming bar exam face three potential scenarios. Depending on the location of the exam, (1) the in-person portion may take place as scheduled in July, (2) the in-person portion may…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Nancy L. Vincent, Director of Administration at the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar. Nancy discusses the Supreme Court’s decision to postpone the July bar exam, other options that were explored, what is happening nationally, and what special arrangements are being planned for September’s bar. Subscribe to our channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 0:35 – Nancy discusses the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to postpone the July bar exam to September. 3:02 – How is bar exam registration being handled and how…
On May 20, the Illinois Supreme Court issued guidelines for resuming judicial branch operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective June 1, the state’s circuit courts may conduct in-person or remote hearings according to a schedule developed by the chief circuit judge. Court Order M.R. 30370 modifies the Court’s March 17 order, which directed Illinois courts to hear essential court matters and proceedings – if feasible and subject to constitutional limitations – and nonessential matters and proceedings remotely, subject to limitations. Illinois’ courts have been operating under these precautionary measures since March 17 in order to minimize the spread of…
For most Illinois attorneys, day-to-day work patterns have been upended since the coronavirus pandemic hit. In fact, our entire workforce has been challenged to find new avenues for delivering their goods and services. As the “how” is redefined along the way, hopefully the “why” can be reimagined and improved. Nevertheless, our remote work environment and social distancing guidelines are no reason to pause your professional development, including your mentoring relationships. In fact, it is quite the opposite! Virtual mentoring can keep your connections active while still allowing for productive interactions between mentor and mentee. Additionally, virtual mentoring can provide…
The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) has launched a new Courts, Children and Families Division. The Division, which succeeds the Courts, Children and Families Unit (CCFU), became effective on May 1, 2020. Former CCFU Court Services Manager Heather Dorsey will serve as its Assistant Director. The Division will allow the AOIC to expand its focus from child protection to other issues facing Illinois’ youth and families, according to the press release. This includes dually involved youth (youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems), domestic violence, and human trafficking. The Division will continue to…
The Chicago Bar Foundation is seeking applicants for full-time fellowship positions with the Illinois JusticeCorps. The AmeriCorps program provides college students and recent graduates the opportunity to provide legal information, procedural guidance, and resource referrals to people going to court without lawyers. Applications for the upcoming program year, which runs from August 2020 through August 2021, will be accepted until May 31, 2020. As the number of lawyers in rural communities declines and the rate of self-represented litigants rises, JusticeCorps fellows strive to make the courts a less intimidating environment for people without lawyers. Fellows provide navigational assistance, referrals to…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Judge Alicia Washington of the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Peoria, Illinois. Judge Washington discusses how the Tenth is delivering remote appearances and hearings, what leaders should consider before reopening courthouses, and how COVID-19 could transform court services in the future. Subscribe to our channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 0:49 – How essential court services are being delivered in the Tenth Judicial Circuit (Peoria County)? 2:09 – How is Peoria County administering remote hearings and appearances? 3:20 – What’s most challenging about delivering justice…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Alan Mills, Executive Director of the Uptown People’s Law Center, about the state of prisoner medical care in Illinois, how conditions have changed since COVID-19, and how prisoner health impacts public health. Subscribe to our channel to be notified when a new episode of Reimagining Law is posted! Alan Mills Alan Mills has been a part of Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC) since 1979 when he began volunteering there. Alan first served as a staff attorney at UPLC and became Legal Director in 1992. Alan was then appointed UPLC’s Executive…
Today, the National Taskforce on Lawyer Well-Being kicks off its first annual Lawyer Well-Being Week. From May 4-8, the Taskforce, the American Bar Association, and other participating organizations will sponsor activities, CLEs, and events around the five dimensions of well-being: physical, spiritual, occupational & intellectual, social, and emotional. A significant number of lawyers struggle with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Up to 36% of attorneys qualify as problem drinkers, 28% report symptoms of depression, and 23% feel stressed. The anxiety resulting from COVID-19 has the potential to exacerbate these symptoms. We spoke with Bree Buchanan, JD,…
The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that due to COVID-19, the Illinois bar exam, originally scheduled for July 28-29, 2020, has been postponed to September 9-10, 2020. The Court also entered an order to relax the rules for administering the bar exam. The order allows the Illinois Board of Admission to the Bar the flexibility to prepare for and administer the exam in a way that maintains the health and well-being of all applicants and those involved with administering the exam. The rules are relaxed until further Court order. “This decision was made after careful consideration of the health and…
Each year on May 1, Law Day celebrates the role of law and the legal profession in our society. The Law Day 2020 theme commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to U.S. citizens on the basis of sex. Though Law Day 2020 plans have been adapted to adhere to social distancing guidelines, the leadership roles women have played throughout our country’s history continue to inspire. This Law Day, we are spotlighting Corinne C. Heggie, President of the Women’s Bar Association of
This week, the Illinois Supreme Court announced temporary changes to paragraph (h) Remote Electronic Means Depositions of Rule 206, which applies to methods of taking depositions on oral examination.  The amendments, made in response to COVID-19, were effective as of April 29, 2020. The amended Rule no longer requires deponents to be in the presence of the officer administering the oath and recording the deposition. It also no longer requires that parties attending a deposition with the deponent provide prior written notice of their intention to appear. Additions to Rule 206 are underlined below: (2) Any exhibits or other…
The American Inns of Court celebrated Professionalism Month in April. However, the professionalism challenges its members are facing in 2020 are a bit different than in years past. The American Inns of Court is a nationwide professional association consisting of more than 30,000 members across the legal community, including federal and state judges, lawyers, law professors, and law students. The organization promotes professional excellence through networking, mentoring, and continuing education opportunities centered on ethics and professionalism. The organization includes more than 400 chartered American Inns of Court across the U.S. Membership is divided into “pupillage teams,” with each team…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis about the Court’s response to COVID-19, the impact of remote access, and how the Court plans to use technology moving forward. Subscribe to our channel to be notified when a new episode of Reimagining Law is posted! Justice Mary Jane Theis Justice Mary Jane Theis has served on the Illinois Supreme Court since 2010. Prior to serving on the Court, Justice Theis served as an Appellate Judge in Illinois’ First District for 17 years. Justice Theis is also the Illinois Supreme Court liaison to…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Valerie McWilliams, Staff Attorney at Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, about the impact of COVID-19 on legal aid organizations and how these groups plan to adapt as we adjust to the new normal. Subscribe to our channel to be notified when a new episode of Reimagining Law is posted! Valerie McWilliams Valerie McWilliams is a Staff Attorney at Land of Lincoln Legal Aid where she has worked since 1984. Valerie has worked in a variety of practice areas and was a Managing Attorney of the Eastern Regional Office in Champaign…
The Illinois Supreme Court announced significant updates this week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in its history, the Court will hold oral arguments virtually, through the Zoom videoconference platform. In addition, the Court will allow Illinois lawyers with a June 30, 2020, MCLE compliance deadline a three-month extension at no cost. Virtual Oral Arguments The Court will hold oral arguments virtually when it hears cases in May. This will allow the Court to continue to practice social distancing while conducting court proceedings. In the announcement, Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said, “These are extraordinary…