2Civility Blog

The 2Civility Blog is a thought-provoking platform of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. It is a forum that provides the space to dive deeply into key issues impacting the legal profession.

Through the blog, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism advances its mission to promote a culture of civility and inclusion within the following topics: civility, diversity and inclusion, ethics, future law, justice, law school, leadership, legal profession, mentoring, professionalism, technology, and wellness.  These topics demonstrate that the law can be both a rewarding and challenging vocation.

The 2Civility Blog is a tool to think critically about and navigate the straight lines, curves, and detours of the legal profession. Our intent is to foster an open and ongoing dialogue. Don’t delay. Join the 2Civility Blog community and conversation.

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…
Remote learning may not be the panacea we all hoped for, but we can learn from the new normal if we embrace our role in the experience. “Can you help me with this?” This question used to be asked of parents when inexplicable homework problems were served up alongside impenetrable instructions. “Wait, you don’t carry the 1 now? You have to add it to the second column on the right? When did basic math change?”…
Civility has a tough row to hoe these days. In our national discourse, on our social media platforms, and even in the legal profession, civility can be fleeting. Instead, pejorative criticism unfettered by courtesy or respect has become the norm. Add to that heightened emotions and rhetoric around social justice issues and our national conversations have at times morphed into “cancel culture,” wielded as the weapon of choice against those espousing oppositional viewpoints. But shouldn’t…
“The good news is you’re all so smart and so capable. The bad news is you’re all so smart and so capable.” Professor Rachael Andersen-Watts of Vanderbilt Law School shares this with her first-year legal writing law students each year. She does so to emphasize how the breath of student talent creates both an exciting and intimidating learning environment in law school. As a school year unlike any other kicks off, I wanted to share…
Last week I provided a roundup of actions by task forces across the U.S. that are exploring reforms to the regulation of legal services. This week I look at the issue of modernizing attorney regulations through the prism of historic events that are reshaping our lives in 2020. COVID-19 and the ongoing social unrest following the death of George Floyd have provided disturbing insights into the public’s ability to access our legal institutions and their…
The legal profession is under pressure. A growing number of Americans who experience legal problems receive no or inadequate legal help. Increasingly, people are representing themselves in court rather than engaging a lawyer. At the same time, lawyers, especially those who represent individuals and small businesses, are struggling financially. This situation is a serious market failure and has been brewing for years. Some believe attorney regulatory reform could help address the problem. Over the last…
Let’s face it, it’s hard to accept the reality of the world today. This may be why we are focusing on reimagining how things could be better. For me, taking an honest look at the cracks in society’s systems has been one of the greatest impacts of COVID-19 so far. Back in April, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism launched its Reimagining Law video series to explore how lawyers and judges are adapting…
The last time you stepped into a retail store (remember those days?!) you may have been met with a friendly greeting and an offer to help. Now, as successful attorneys turn to new methods to engage potential clients, it’s not uncommon to find an integrated legal chatbot on their website, ready and able to have a similar engagement with customers at their online front door (i.e., the homepage). Just as the quality of your legal…
Not much has changed for women of color attorneys at law firms over the past 14 years, according to a study released last month by the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Women in the Profession. Despite the legal profession’s increased diversity efforts, the percentage of women of color partners remains stuck below 4%. Moreover, women of color face the highest rate of attrition from law firms, which struggle to create inclusive cultures where the…