Last month, Washington became the latest state to allow those seeking a law license in the state to pursue alternatives to the traditional uniform bar exam (UBE).

Washington’s new pathway will include experiential learning alternatives for law-school graduates, law-school students, and Admission and Practice Rule (APR) 6 law clerks (who are enrolled in a non-law school course of study).

In addition, the NextGen bar exam will be adopted in place of the UBE beginning with the July 2026 administration. The UBE will be phased out over two years starting with the July 2026 exam.

Finally, the Court ordered a reduction
Continue Reading Washington Becomes Latest State to Allow Alternatives to the Bar Exam

Currently, well-being is not part of the legal profession’s DNA like the billable hour, high workloads, professional advancement, and profits are.
But what if it did not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition? What if lawyers did not have to sacrifice their well-being at the cost of being an effective attorney?
I will ask Patrick Krill and Bree Buchanan of Krill Strategies, two global leaders in the study of attorney mental health and well-being, these questions at the Commission on Professionalism’s annual Future Is Now: Legal Services conference, which will be held virtually on Thursday, April 18, 2024.
Continue Reading Well-Being Needs to Be Part of the Legal Profession’s DNA

As organizations like the Legal Services Corporation and the World Justice Project are quantifying the United States’ significant justice gap, attorney Jazz Hampton has co-founded a company that seeks to bridge that gap by using technology to increase people’s access to lawyers.
Indeed, as its slogan declares, TurnSignl enables users of its app to virtually “put an attorney in the passenger seat.”
Hampton, who will join me for a fireside chat at the Commission on Professionalism’s Future Is Now: Legal Services conference on April 18 (register here), said many of TurnSignl’s users have never previously consulted with an
Continue Reading TurnSignl Enables Access to an On-Demand Attorney During Traffic Incidents

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Executive Director Erika Harold will be a 2024 recipient of the Vanguard Award from the Chicago Bar Association (CBA). Harold was selected to receive the award by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI).
Harold will be presented with the award at the 2024 Vanguard Awards Luncheon on May 14, 2024, at the Union League Club in Chicago.
“On behalf of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, I am thrilled to recognize Erika Harold as a recipient of the Chicago Bar Association Vanguard Award. Erika has demonstrated determination
Continue Reading Executive Director Erika Harold to be Honored by Women’s Bar Association of Illinois with CBA Vanguard Award

Did you know that more than 100 legal organizations across Illinois use the Commission on Professionalism’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Curriculum to support the professional development of their attorneys?
This includes big and small law firms, bar associations, government offices, court districts, corporations, and law schools.
We spoke to Ingrid Galindo, Professional Development Coordinator, and Veronica Neely, Attorney Development Specialist, at Perkins Coie LLP, about the significance of mentoring at their firm.
Perkins Coie is a large international law firm with an office in Chicago. It provides corporate, commercial litigation, intellectual property, and regulatory legal advice to a broad range of
Continue Reading How Perkins Coie Uses Lawyer Mentoring in a BigLaw Setting

Imagine you and your colleague are attending a meeting to discuss a significant and complex case for your law firm. You are joined by your colleague, Maya, a highly skilled and young Latina attorney, as well as other attorneys in the firm.
As the meeting progresses, Maya offers insightful analysis and proposes innovative solutions to the client’s legal challenges.
However, one of the senior partners, Steve, consistently directs his questions and comments to the other attorneys in the room, who are predominantly white men. Despite Maya’s contributions, Steve seems to overlook her presence and fails to acknowledge her contributions.
Continue Reading Transition Your ‘Good Intentions’ Into Attorney Allyship at the Future Is Now

In January, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Illinois State Bar Association’s Women and the Law Committee, and the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women launched an informal mentoring program for law students and attorneys early in their careers.

During these “Mentoring Circles,” law students and new lawyer mentees gather in a “circle” to ask questions and seek guidance from experienced attorney mentors in a low-pressure and supportive environment.

The program aims to create authentic social connections for Chicago-area law students and attorneys early in their legal careers, which will hopefully continue throughout their careers, said WBAI
Continue Reading ‘Mentoring Circles’ Provide Supportive Space for New Attorneys and Law Students

The legal profession is undergoing a seismic shift as generative artificial intelligence (generative AI) tools like ChatGPT go mainstream. From analyzing contracts to outlining trial strategies, generative AI is rapidly changing how lawyers service their clients. But what practical applications and ethical pitfalls should lawyers be prepared for?
At our upcoming Future Is Now: Legal Services conference, which will be held virtually on April 18, 2024, attendees will get a front-row seat to exploring generative AI’s impacts on legal services from two experts who use the tool in their practices: Trisha Rich and Damien Rhiel.
Trisha and Damien will teach
Continue Reading Learn to Use Generative AI *Ethically* in Your Practice at Future Is Now Conference

State court caseloads are slowly increasing toward pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent analysis of 2022 data from the Court Statistics Project (CSP).

The study found that state courts managed 64.6 million incoming cases in 2022, two percent more than in 2021. In comparison, state courts managed 83.2 million cases in 2019.

While case types increased in the number of filings across the board in 2022—civil (5%), criminal (2%), domestic relations (2%), and traffic (1%)—some case types, such as traffic, remain significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels.

For example, in 2022, state courts managed 26.8 million traffic cases, compared to 39
Continue Reading Study Finds State Court Caseloads Are Trending Toward Pre-Pandemic Levels, After COVID-19 Dip

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce the speaker lineup for its annual Future Is Now: Legal Services conference, which will be held virtually from 12 – 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.
Conference attendees will learn to innovate and thrive in their legal practice while creating a culture of civility and professionalism. Four hours of professional responsibility CLE are available for attendees, including one hour of diversity and inclusion CLE and one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE.
The Future Is Now 2024 speaker lineup
The Future Is Now will feature TED-like talks,
Continue Reading Commission Announces Speaker Lineup for April 18 Future Is Now: Legal Services Conference

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) is requesting public comment on six Illinois Supreme Court form sets.

The following draft forms are available to review on the Illinois Supreme Court website:

  • Petition for Leave to Appeal
  • Answer to Petition for Leave to Appeal
  • Notice of Election
  • Appellant’s Brief
  • Appellee’s Brief
  • Appellant’s Reply Brief
  • Each form set includes a “Getting Started” and a “How To” document to guide court users through completing the forms.

    All form sets are available for public comment through Friday, March 22, 2024.

    You may submit comments through the Illinois Supreme Court
    Continue Reading ATJ Commission Requests Public Comment on Six Illinois Standardized Form Sets

    An American Bar Association council recently voted that an alternative law school admissions test called JD-Next will not be granted “test parity” with the LSAT or GRE, citing the need for more data to determine its reliability in predicting success in law school.

    The vote by the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (Council) determined that the ABA would not fully recognize JD-Next as an approved law school admissions assessment under ABA Standard 503.

    However, the Council decided to continue the process of allowing ABA-accredited law schools that wish to use
    Continue Reading What is the JD-Next Admissions Test? ABA Votes on How LSAT Alternative Will Be Used in College Admissions

    The number of women lawyers in the legal profession is growing, albeit slowly. Women currently make up 39% of attorneys in the U.S., up just 5% in 10 years, according to the ABA. However, that may be changing. In 2023, for the first time, women associates outnumbered men at U.S. law firms (50.3%).
    While more women are entering the legal profession, their struggles for equity remain. Former ABA President Hilarie Bass has said, “For the most part, law firms underestimate the impediments women face to be successful in law practice…and they overestimate the initiatives they’ve created to try
    Continue Reading What Women Lawyers in Illinois Really Want in a Legal Workplace

    As a lawyer, maintaining the knowledge and skills required to practice law in today’s environment while meeting daily practice demands is no small task. Throw in maintaining competency in emerging technologies and understanding how to use them effectively, and the practice of law can be overwhelming.

    Over the past several decades, lawyers have slowly—but surely—embraced computers, the internet, email, and cloud computing in the way we work, communicate, and serve our clients. To date, 40 states have adopted the ABA’s Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1, Comment 8, to include “keeping abreast of the benefits and risks associated with relevant
    Continue Reading 3 Things Lawyers Should Be Doing Now with Generative AI

    Our Professionalism Spotlight series highlights Illinois legal professionals who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
    These lawyers, paralegals, court clerks, legal assistants, trial court administrators, law school personnel, and other legal and court professionals are essential in the delivery of equitable, efficient, and effective justice in Illinois.
    In this Professionalism Spotlight, we spoke to Nicole “Nikki” Ticknor, who serves as the Deputy Court Administrator and Family Violence Coordinated Council Coordinator in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court.
    Nikki received the 2023 Jeffrey D. Colman Access to Justice Award from the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access
    Continue Reading Professionalism Spotlight: Nikki Ticknor, Deputy Court Administrator, 17th Judicial Circuit

    The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) recently issued a report documenting the cost and time savings of remote court appearances in southern Illinois’ First Judicial Circuit.
    The report, which was written by Sarah Song of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, stems from a pilot project aimed at reducing the “geographic constraints” of providing free civil legal services to low-income residents in the First Circuit and assessing the impact of remote appearances on courts.
    The ATJ Commission provided grant funding to the First Circuit and Land of Lincoln Legal Aid’s Southern Regional Office in
    Continue Reading Land of Lincoln Legal Aid Attorneys Saved More Than 633 Hours from Remote Court Appearances, Access to Justice Commission Found