The Illinois Supreme Court is reallocating attorney registration fees to support organizations dedicated to attorney well-being and access to justice. Last week, the Court amended Rule 756 and Rule 751 to provide $10 from Illinois attorney registration fees to the Illinois Lawyers’ Assistance Program (LAP) and an additional $10 to the Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission). The $10 allocation to LAP will expand its programming that provides confidential mental health and substance abuse support to Illinois lawyers, judges, law students, and their families. The $10 allocation to the ATJ Commission will provide long-term funding for Illinois
The first time I mentored a colleague, I think I got more out of it than they did, which is never a good way to start a blog about learning. One of the biggest challenges I faced was staying intentional and focused with a mentoring curriculum. I had big ideas about what I wanted to cover (issue number one: “what I wanted to cover”) but often got distracted by addressing questions that came up in daily work. (Fortunately, this isn’t an issue in the Commission’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program. We’ve already put together a guided mentoring plan that provides a…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we hear from Patrick Krill, an attorney, researcher, and advocate for improved mental health in the legal profession. Patrick discusses his groundbreaking research on attorney well-being, why the employees who employers sent home aren’t the ones who will be returning, and how employers can meet these changing needs. He also asks us to examine our thinking around returning to the office: are we catastrophizing the worse-possible scenario? Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 0:35 – You have a big study that just came out on attorney…
Budding lawyers should be prepared to take the bar exam in person beginning next year, according to recently announced plans from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). The NCBE said in early June that February 2022 bar exam materials will be made available to jurisdictions for in-person testing only unless public health restrictions prohibit such plans. If this occurs, the NCBE will work with jurisdictions on another solution that will enable candidates to take the exam. Due to COVID-19, the NCBE, which develops the bar exam used in most U.S. jurisdictions, has made testing materials available for both in-person…
Staggering new data reveals just how differently workplace stressors and the pandemic have impacted the mental health of attorneys. Notably, roughly 31% of Black lawyers said they have contemplated suicide during their legal career. This is a significant increase from the approximately 23% of Hispanic and Latino attorneys, 20% of Asian attorneys, and almost 19.4% of white attorneys who reported the same tendencies. The data is part of ALM’s 2021 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey, which asked 3,200 law firm attorneys and staff about COVID-19’s impact on their well-being and how their firms have responded. While it’s clear…
The CLE completion deadline is quickly approaching for Illinois attorneys with last names beginning N-Z. By June 30, 2021, attorneys in this group must complete 30 hours of MCLE credit for the 2019-2021 reporting period. Six of those hours must be professional responsibility (PR) CLE in the area of professionalism, civility, legal ethics, diversity and inclusion (D&I), or mental health and substance abuse (MHSA). Of those six hours, attorneys must complete either one hour of D&I CLE and one hour of MHSA CLE, or the year-long Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program. To avoid a late fee, attorneys with last names beginning N-Z…
Progress is often just the start. This is certainly true for the generations of LGBTQ lawyers who reflected on their journeys in the legal profession to celebrate Pride Month 2021. Pride Month commemorates the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising, when New York City’s gay community stood up to continual harassment by authorities. Over 50 years later, the LGBTQ community continues to fight for legal rights such as nondiscrimination and parenting protections. In the legal profession, there has been some improvement in LGBTQ representation. NALP’s latest diversity report indicates that the overall percentage of LGBTQ lawyers increased approximately one-third of…
Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives. These attorneys are teaching us how to adapt and thrive in the changing legal environment. Perry Browder is an Alton, Ill.-based personal injury attorney and the managing partner of the mesothelioma/asbestos group at Simmons Hanly Conroy. He manages the firm’s more than 50 asbestos attorneys who are organized into multiple asbestos trial teams. Perry also oversees all asbestos cases to ensure they are handled in an efficient manner that maximizes results and minimizes hassle for clients and their families. How has your…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we hear from Jarrod F. Reich, a professor of legal writing and lecturer at the University of Miami School of Law. Jarrod discusses the data behind the business case for prioritizing lawyer well-being, the evolving perception of well-being in the profession, and practical things people – from solo and small firm attorneys to Big Law — can do to promote well-being in their organizations. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 0:35 – Why did you feel it was important to lay out the business case for…
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals is proactively promoting civility among the state’s lawyers with the addition of a civility pledge in its lawyer oath. Last month, Supreme Court Chief Justice Evan Jenkins signed an order that provisionally added language on civility to the oath lawyers take when they are admitted to practice law in the state. All five Supreme Court Justices have taken the updated oath, which reads: “I do solemnly swear or affirm that: I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of West Virginia; that I will honestly demean…
This week, the Illinois Supreme Court launched a newly designed website for the Judicial Branch. The redesign is aimed at making information about Illinois’ courts and their services more accessible to the general public, court patrons and employees, and the media. “The Illinois Supreme Court is extremely excited for the rollout of this new website,” said Chief Justice Anne M. Burke in a press release. “It contains a wealth of information on the Illinois Judicial Branch including the Circuit, Appellate and Supreme Court levels. Extensive user testing was done to ensure that people are able to quickly and easily navigate…
The theme of this year’s Law Day was “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” The American Bar Association (ABA) sets the theme for Law Day each year, which is held annually on May 1. Throughout the month, bar associations, courts, and civic organizations hold programs recognizing the importance of the law and the legal process in protecting our liberty, moving us closer to justice, and contributing to the freedoms that all Americans share. However, data show that the public doesn’t have much trust in government or confidence in the rule of law. Moreover, given the challenges that the law…
Last week, Illinois Courts launched Illinois Court Help, a personalized information service that connects courthouse patrons, lawyers, and the public with the resources and information they need to go to court in Illinois. “Illinois Court Help really is a gamechanger for people who, due to economic hardship, must represent themselves in court and have had access to in-person assistance restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said in a press release. “This easy-to-use service closes the information gap and helps people go to court with more confidence.” We spoke with Lisa Colpoys,…
Last year, the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators issued a resolution to intensify efforts to combat racial prejudice in the justice system, both explicit and implicit. While those exhibiting explicit bias are aware of their prejudices and attitudes toward a certain group, implicit biases are hidden. They are subconscious attitudes or beliefs people have about others based on past experiences or influences, which manifest themselves everywhere. While implicit biases can be more difficult to uncover and address, a recently released report from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) shows there is hope…
It’s no secret lawyers suffer from depression, anxiety, substance use, and other serious issues at higher rates than the general population. But a recent survey takes a closer look at how work-related factors affect each gender. The survey, published by Justin Anker from the University of Minnesota Medical School and Patrick Krill from Krill Strategies LLC, surveyed 2,863 attorneys last year. Overall, the findings show a meaningful difference between men and women attorneys concerning the prevalence of stress, substance misuse and attrition, along with the significance of workplace risk factors, such as overcommitment and permissiveness of alcohol. Women Attorneys at…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we hear from Patrick Dankwa John, a Chicago area attorney and president of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, and Gary Zhao, a partner at SmithAmundsen LLC and past president at the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago. Patrick and Gary discuss the purpose of their respective bar associations, a legal professional’s role in combatting discriminatory behavior, and how their bar associations have remained relevant. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 0:46 – What is the purpose of your respective affinity bar associations? 2:30 – Patrick, you…