Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

Our mission is to promote a culture of civility and inclusion, in which Illinois lawyers and judges embody the ideals of the legal profession in service to the administration of justice in our democratic society.

Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism Blogs

Latest from Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

Cries for lawyers to “embrace technology” have been echoing in the legal profession since before the Model Rules were amended to require tech competency (adopted by 38 states as of this post). Now, lawyers and law firms are utilizing various types of technology like never before to embrace quantifiable benefits for themselves and their clients.   The numbers are quite astonishing (and promising), according to Clio’s 2020 Legal Trends Report. For example, 85% of law firms use software to manage their practice, 83% of firms meet with clients virtually, 73% enable clients to pay invoices electronically, and 62%…
Is it just me or could you use a refresher on well-being essentials for lawyers too? The colder and darker winter days in the Midwest are never easy. On top of that, this year we’re faced with a surge in COVID-19 cases, an unknown pandemic end date, political and social unrest, family and holiday obligations, and don’t forget high-stress jobs in the legal profession.  So, how can we realistically improve or at least maintain our well-being? I have written before about making sure your well-being toolkit is ready. While exercise…
Things guaranteed to start an argument: Chicago style vs. New York-style pizza, Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Pepsi vs. Coke. In the world of learning design, these debates are joined by one more: course evaluation surveys.   If the thought of course evaluation surveys – those questionnaires you fill out at the end of a CLE, often to receive CLE credit — causes anger, that’s understandable. But while these surveys aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, they do concern all of us indirectly.   Course evaluation surveys often focus on how you enjoyed the presentation, whether you learned anything, and if you would recommend the presentation to others. Now think back to law school. Imagine if your professors’…
Judge Alicia N. Washington Judge Debra B. Walker Women in the law have come a long way since the Supreme Court of Illinois denied Myra Bradwell’s petition for a license to practice law in 1869. However, while Illinois passed a law in 1872 providing that “No person shall be precluded or debarred from any occupation, profession or employment (except military) on account of sex,” significant challenges to equal representation still exist. The number of women in the…
The new normal is that there is no normal. That may seem to be the lesson from 2020. All is thrown into the air and determining a trend for how things might land is an impossibility. The same holds for the state of the legal industry being on tilt. Or is it?  From solo and small firms to BigLaw, the COVID-19 pandemic played no favorites in impacting organizations and their clients. The storm blew hard, and the waves were fierce as most just tried to…
Finding purpose in our lives is more important than ever. From the global pandemic, to the death of George Floyd, to the contentious election, 2020 has been beyond unpredictable and dispiriting. Yet, as the Buddhist teacher and author Pema Chodron asks, “What if rather than being disheartened by the ambiguity, the uncertainty of life, we accepted it and relaxed into it?” For lawyers, one way to relax into unpredictability is to take control of what…
When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March, I thought we would be working from home for a couple of weeks to help flatten the curve. As Executive Director of the Commission on Professionalism, I didn’t make any long-term plans for my staff to work remotely for months on end. Nor did I consider how I would maintain our corporate culture while my team was working across the state and beyond. Then, reality sank in:…
Last Friday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87. Ginsburg, affectionately known as RBG, was a trailblazing jurist who spent her career fighting for equal justice for women and other marginalized communities. She occupied the roles of U.S. Supreme Court justice, gender equality pioneer, and pop culture icon with decorum and humility, striving to use her position of power to benefit those less fortunate. She once said: “I tell law students … if…
Roughly six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, a partner at a BigLaw firm in Chicago shared an exciting revelation with me. “While I’ve become more physically distanced from my coworkers, I’ve actually become more personally connected to them,” he said. “We’ve stepped into each other’s homes and lives much more while working remotely.”  His discovery caused me to recall a discussion with a colleague about our mentoring program for new lawyers in Illinois. The year-long program pairs lawyers early in their careers with more experienced attorneys for a mentoring experience centered on skill-building and instilling the values of professionalism in the next generation of…
Evictions were prevalent before COVID-19, but the situation has reached a crisis level. The national unemployment rate hit an all-time high of 14.7% in April 2020 and was still at 8.4% in August. The high unemployment rate has resulted in fewer people being able to pay their rent or mortgages. In the first three months of 2020, landlords collected 80% of total rent due from tenants. In the first half of July, they collected…