In the age of COVID-19, video has become a dominant and ubiquitous form of communication (see TikTok). Videos are entertaining, engaging, and more expressive than photos. According to Statista, when it comes to YouTube, people upload 500 hours of video every minute and watch around 1 billion hours of content each day. At the Commission, we’ve seen our viewership on YouTube grow immensely over the past year. In fact, from September 2020 to September 2021, our channel received 43% more views than the year before. (If you haven’t checked out our YouTube content yet, you’re missing out.) Organizations are increasingly…
Over the past several weeks, Illinois justices, judges, and attorneys have blanketed the state in person and virtually to spread a message of professionalism to incoming 1L law students. The program is part of the annual professionalism orientation at Illinois’ nine law schools. 2021 marks the 15th year the Commission on Professionalism has collaborated with the state’s law schools to produce the orientations. University of Chicago Law School 1Ls recite the Pledge of Professionalism. “As an attorney, your reputation is being formed the minute you step into law school,” said Martin Sinclair, Chair of the Commission on Professionalism. “To continue…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) has rolled out more updates to the state’s court forms. This time they’ve amended several forms in the Eviction suite. The revised forms include: Getting Started Different Types of Orders in Eviction Cases How to Use Different Types of Orders in Eviction Cases Agreed Dismissal Order (Case May Be Reinstated if Defendants Violate Agreement) Agreed Settlement Order with Status Date (Defendants Will Move) Agreed Settlement Order with Status Date (Defendants Will Pay & Stay) Eviction Summons The six updated forms can be found here and should be…
The effects of the pandemic on women lawyers, especially mothers, have been documented by many surveys and articles over the last year. However, a recent American Bar Association report “Practicing Law in the Pandemic and Moving Forward” is valuable because it includes action items for employers and lawyers to cope with the challenges brought on or revealed by the pandemic. “New Normal” survey of lawyers In September and October of 2020, the ABA surveyed more than 4,200 lawyers across the U.S. about their expectations, concerns, and goals, reflecting the context of the pandemic. At that time, more than…
The Illinois Supreme Court took another step forward in prioritizing mental and behavioral health in the state’s courts with the hiring of a Statewide Behavioral Health Administrator. Scott Block will serve as a mental health voice and resource for the Illinois Judicial Branch, furthering local, state, and national behavioral health and justice initiatives that impact the courts. This includes providing guidance to the Illinois Courts’ on the intersection of behavioral health and justice and serving as project director for the Illinois Supreme Court Mental Health Task Force, according to a press release. “We welcome Scott and look forward to his…
Stephanie and her Chicago-based teacher Jim Bennitt. Twenty years ago this fall, I stepped on a yoga mat for the first time. Let me set the scene. It was my second year of law school and the rumor of the overwhelming 2L year had started to become my reality. It all felt like too much and law school wasn’t what I thought it would be. Then yoga entered my life. Little did I know that it would be one of the reasons I stayed in law school and would enable me to sustain a legal career. September is National Yoga
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that the Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Kathleen L. Pine to the Commission on Professionalism. Pine is an attorney based in Carbondale, Ill. Her term as a Commissioner was effective August 20, 2021. Pine replaces former Commissioner Cynthia L. Fountaine, previously of Carbondale, Ill., who was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law. “I am delighted to welcome Kathy to the Commission and look forward to working with her to promote among lawyers and judges in Illinois greater integrity,…
It’s time to double-check if you’re using the correct court forms. Over the past couple of weeks, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) has announced updates to several court forms, as part of its annual review or in response to law or rule changes. And, due to the Court’s recent website update, the web addresses for all court forms have changed. Make sure to check any form links on your website to ensure they’re directing users to the correct place. Information on the form updates is below. Comprehensive Suite updates Due to comprehensive updates, links…
Hi, I’m Kendra Abercrombie. I joined the Commission on Professionalism in June as its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Manager. In this role, I lead the Commission’s educational and advocacy initiatives aimed at promoting DEI in the legal and justice systems. If you follow the Commission’s blogs, which I hope you do, you may have seen my byline on articles I’ve co-written with our Executive Director Jayne Reardon (“Interrupting Bias in our Judiciary”) or our Chief Counsel Mark Palmer (“What Are Today’s Law Students Learning”). However, I would like to use my first solo blog…
The Illinois Supreme Court announced this week structural changes that will move all pretrial services under the authority of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC). The changes will take place in phases over the next 16 months. The AOIC will develop and enforce pretrial practice standards across Illinois to support the implementation of the Criminal Justice Reform Act (or SAFE-T Act), which is scheduled to take effect in January 2023. It will also oversee the employment of pretrial officers. The move is aimed at achieving consistent statewide pretrial practices that are “fair, efficient, transparent, accountable, and adequately resourced…
Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism joined seven Illinois law schools and legal professionals from Chicago and beyond to give 228 1Ls a “jumpstart” on law school. Jumpstart is an annual law school preparatory program that provides historically underrepresented law students with the tools they need to succeed in law school. The 2021 program was held virtually from August 9-12. Judge LaShonda A. Hunt presents to Jumpstart 2021 students. During Jumpstart, students took part in educational sessions ranging from “Law School 101” and “Write Like a Lawyer” to interactive panels and networking opportunities with industry leaders including…
You are signed, sealed, and ready to be delivered to the next chapter of your career. A new job awaits and so do those first-day-of-school butterflies that are already building in your stomach. It’s exciting, fresh, and new! But before you take that giant leap, there is a final exit door you need to pass through: leaving your job. You spent many hours writing and rewriting your resume and cover letter and preparing for job interviews, but it’s also important to have a plan in place for leaving your current employer properly and professionally. Just as my camp counselor always…
Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives. Martin Cozzola is a staff attorney for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services‘ (CVLS) Early Resolution Program, IL-AFLAN Veterans’ Pro Bono Project, and Chancery Appointment Program.  In these roles, he focuses on preserving affordable housing in a range of cases, including foreclosure defense, decedent’s estates, subsidized housing, and evictions (for both tenants and small “mom and pop” landlords). How do you use technology in your practice? Before the pandemic made the practice of law without technology all but impossible, CVLS’ use of technology…
COVID-19 has changed the way lawyers work—perhaps permanently—but it didn’t affect everyone equally, according to the 2021 ABA Profile of the Legal Profession. The ABA released its annual snapshot of the legal profession last month. The profile explores trends in 11 subject areas — including demographics, law schools, the judiciary, technology, and the pandemic. The report is based on a survey of more than 4,000 ABA members last fall and a follow-up survey of nearly 1,400 senior lawyers in March. COVID’s impact on the profession While a majority of all lawyers (51%) felt it was hard to separate work…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Deputy Director Stephanie Villinski has been named Chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Standing Committee on Professionalism. Her one-year term commenced on August 10 at the adjournment of the ABA’s 2021 Annual Meeting. Villinski’s appointment marks the second time a member of the Commission on Professionalism has served as Chair of the Standing Committee. Executive Director Jayne R. Reardon served in the role from 2015-2018. The Standing Committee on Professionalism assists ABA entities, bar associations, the judiciary, law schools, and the legal community in the development and…
I first sailed with my mum off the coast of England when I was about seven. She took me out in a little Mirror dinghy and showed me the basics. Then, in true 1970s English parenting style, she jumped out and pushed me off on my own. I sailed for the next 20 years. Years later, in a bid to deconstruct the experience that would make any psychologist rich, I bought a nice sensible dinghy, I prepared well, sailed it twice, and didn’t come close to capsizing (much to my disappointment). Soon after this successful experience, I traded my sensible…