Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court announced a plan to expand remote access to court information and documents. The new Remote Access Policy (RAP), which took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, is being tested by a subset of Illinois licensed attorneys that were selected by the Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Technology. The RAP will be tested during a trial period using the statewide re:SearchIL portal. Prior to June 30, 2020, an initial review of the RAP will be conducted to determine if expansion to judicial partners and the public is appropriate. Since 2002, the Illinois…
Earlier this year, I wrote about the disappearing rural lawyer. In Illinois, more lawyers are hanging their law firm shingle in urban areas. This isn’t just an Illinois trend, it’s happening across the U.S. For instance, in Illinois, roughly 7,000 lawyers across 95 counties outside of Chicagoland serve 35% of the state’s population, or approximately 4.5 million people. This breaks down to a 1:700 lawyer-resident ratio. In The Disappearing Rural Lawyer part I, I examined initiatives that are addressing access to justice concerns in rural America. In Part II, I analyze broad systematic opportunities that the profession could embrace…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that early bird registration is open for its fifth annual The Future Is Now: Legal Services conference. The conference will be held on Thursday, April 23, 2020, at Venue SIX10 in Chicago. The Future Is Now will feature 11 industry-leading speakers tackling pressing topics in the legal profession, the judiciary, and organizational leadership. In a series of TED-like talks and interactive townhall discussions, speakers will provide practical tips for improving the practice of law and discuss trends that are reshaping the profession. For the first time, the 2020 conference…
Happy 2020! A new year and a new decade have arrived. Have you set any resolutions for the year ahead? If so, I have some bad news. Eighty percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. However, all hope isn’t lost. The success rate improves if you set small, realistic goals. Therefore, I’ve laid out three manageable goals for lawyers in 2020 that can improve your practice and the profession. Prioritize wellness First in my goals for lawyers in 2020 is prioritizing wellness. Over the past year, I’ve presented on lawyer well-being to audiences across the state. These presentations help…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Executive Director Jayne Reardon has been named to the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center’s (LTRC) 2020 Women of Legal Tech list. Reardon was one of 20 women selected by the LTRC from almost 200 nominations.  “I’m honored to be recognized by the LTRC, alongside these innovative women who’re pushing the profession forward,” said Reardon. “As changes in technology and globalization transform industries, it’s vital that the legal profession keeps up. We must adopt practices that not only enable lawyers to leverage technology to deliver improved legal services, but also allow lawyers to make a sustainable living. I thank the LTRC for including me in its 2020 class.”  The LTRC provides legal technology resources…
The ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism is accepting nominations for its annual E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards. The award recognizes exceptional professionalism programs at law schools, bar associations, courts, and other legal organizations. Nominations will be accepted until March 31, 2020. In 2020, the ABA will recognize up to three programs. Honorees will be awarded a $3,500 prize provided by the E. Smythe Gambrell Fund for Professionalism. The awards will be presented on July 31, 2020, at the NABE/NCBP/NCBF Joint Luncheon during the ABA 2020 Annual Meeting in Chicago. To be considered for the Gambrell Professionalism Awards, a program…
Ebony Huddleston is the founder and managing attorney of The Law Office of Ebony R. Huddleston, P.C. What’s your primary practice area? Civil litigation and estate planning are my primary practice areas. How has your practice evolved over the last few years? In January 2018, I transitioned from the law firm where I had been employed for over 12 years and opened my own law firm. Within the last two years, I’ve met new challenges related to running a business along with the familiar business of practicing law. Although the first year of my own practice was a bit daunting…
Modifying the Model Rules of Professional Conduct that prescribe the business of lawyers could help lawyers as well as consumers. That’s a premise of work being done by task forces across the U.S. As I’ve written before, task forces in several states including Illinois, California, Arizona, and Utah are developing recommendations to change legal regulations to spur innovation and the effective delivery of legal services to consumers. In addition, a resolution from the ABA’s Center for Innovation urges state supreme courts to consider attorney regulations that may increase access to affordable and quality legal services. Some lawyers oppose…
The Illinois Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission (ATJ Commission) and the Circuit Court of Cook County have partnered on a new Remote Video Pilot program. The program will allow individuals to appear for cases remotely in three different divisions of the Cook County Circuit Courts. The pilot was launched on December 2, 2019 and will run through November 30, 2020. This news is in line with the Illinois Judicial Branch Strategic Agenda. The strategic goals for the judicial branch include embracing technology to deliver timely and efficient court services. “We believe using technology to broaden the ways…
A new American Bar Association resolution encourages U.S. jurisdictions to consider innovative approaches to lawyer regulation to increase access to affordable and quality legal services. If approved by the ABA House of Delegates, the resolution would support the revision of existing regulatory structures to better align with the public interest. The resolution and report, which was released by the ABA’s Center for Innovation, supports regulatory reform in three broad areas. These include new categories of legal services providers, reexamining Rule 5.4 (which prohibits lawyers from partnering and sharing fees with those who aren’t attorneys) and exploring new approaches to…
The Illinois State Bar Association / Illinois Judges Association Joint Midyear Meeting kicks off today in Rosemont. The annual event is an opportunity for Illinois lawyers and judges to consider issues of mutual interest, like achieving work-life balance and improving diversity. We caught up with ISBA President David Sosin ahead of the meeting to get an update on his priorities halfway through his one-year term. You’re well-known for honesty and professionalism. How have these traits served you? It’s certainly not for any person to judge their own reputation. Certainly, the question assumes a fact not in evidence. I do believe…
Why are women leaving BigLaw? Because they’re more likely than men to be denied business development prospects, promotions and other career advancement opportunities, according to a survey from the American Bar Association (ABA) and ALM Intelligence. The Walking Out The Door: The Facts, Figures, and Future of Experienced Women Lawyers in Private Practice study is part of an ABA initiative launched by former-President Hilarie Bass to explore why experienced women lawyers leave the legal profession. For that past several decades, women have made up roughly 45-50% of entering associate classes at large law firms. As they move into more senior…
As part of its yearlong Minds Over Matters: An Examination of Mental Health in the Legal Profession initiative, Law.com has partnered with ALM Intelligence to gather information on mental health and substance abuse among lawyers and legal professionals. Multiple studies have documented the pervasiveness of mental health and substance abuse problems in the legal profession. For instance, in 2016, an American Bar Association and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation study of 12,825 licensed, employed attorneys found that 28% suffered from depression and 1 in 5 self-described as problems drinkers. A basic component of lawyer professionalism is competent client representation. If lawyers aren’t taking
As part of its yearlong Minds Over Matters: An Examination of Mental Health in the Legal Profession initiative, Law.com has partnered with ALM Intelligence to gather information on mental health and substance abuse among lawyers and legal professionals. Multiple studies have documented the pervasiveness of mental health and substance abuse problems in the legal profession. For instance, in 2016, an American Bar Association and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation study of 12,825 licensed, employed attorneys found that 28% suffered from depression and 1 in 5 self-described as problems drinkers. A basic component of lawyer professionalism is competent client representation. If lawyers…
Equal access to justice doesn’t come easy. This is especially true for those facing civil legal challenges for which there’s no constitutional right to legal representation. Fortunately, the Illinois legal community provides resources to help connect those in need with public interest aid or pro bono services across the state. We recently spoke with Brent Page, Senior Managing Attorney at the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), to better understand how PILI facilitates collaboration between organizations working to make the justice system more accessible in the Land of Lincoln. Illinois has many legal aid service providers and supporters. What role…
To my fellow attorneys, a “legal acts of kindness” pep talk is long overdue. Just like Kid President’s famous pep talk, attorneys also need to find ways to make the world more awesome. And, since we celebrated World Kindness Day this week, legal acts of kindness are exactly what’s needed. World Kindness Day has been observed annually on November 13 since 1998. This day was started by the World Kindness Movement (WKM), a not-for-profit organization that consists of 27 nations, including the U.S. The purpose of World Kindness Day is to make the world a better place by celebrating…