The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce the release of a new educational resource to support the advancement and retention of underrepresented attorneys.
The Underrepresented Attorneys Mentoring Toolkit provides a structured mentoring curriculum for organizations that aspire to develop the careers of attorneys from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession.
The toolkit includes:
- Specific action items for mentors and mentees. These activities are designed to encourage mentors to share their professional judgment and skills with their mentoring partners, and to help underrepresented attorneys navigate the challenging legal profession.
- A unique professional responsibility focus. The action items fall into five categories: civility, professionalism, ethics, diversity and inclusion, and mental health, substance abuse, and well-being. This focus not only teaches attorneys how to excel in their practices, but also equips them with tools to build a reputation based on ethics, integrity, and respect.
The toolkit can be used by organizations of all sizes to develop and implement new mentoring programs or to supplement existing programs, including the Commission’s lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program.
“Diversity in the legal profession has remained virtually flat over the past 20 years, and the departure of diverse attorneys has grown recently. Mentorship can help foster the relationships needed to retain diverse talent,” said Kendra Abercrombie, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at the Commission on Professionalism. “Mentoring plays a key role in creating a sense of belonging for attorneys, which can directly impact retention. In addition, mentoring can connect attorneys to professional development and advancement opportunities that are crucial to diversifying our leadership teams.”
The toolkit can be used by individual organizations or groups, or as part of the Commission on Professionalism’s lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program. The Commission’s program pairs new and experienced attorneys for a one-year professionalism-focused mentoring curriculum.
Attorneys who complete the Commission’s program are eligible for six hours of professional responsibility CLE credit in Illinois, including one hour of diversity and inclusion CLE and one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE.
About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism was established by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2005 under Supreme Court Rule 799(c) to foster increased civility, professionalism, and inclusiveness among lawyers and judges in Illinois. By advancing the highest standards of conduct among lawyers and judges, the Commission works to better serve clients and society alike. For more information, please visit 2Civility.org and follow us on Twitter @2CivilityOrg.
Laura Bagby, Communications Director