In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Moses Suarez, Partner at SmithAmundsenLLC and President of LAGBAC – Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association. Moses discusses the recent Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia decision, the initiatives LAGBAC is implementing this year, and what the legal profession could do to better support LGBTQ+ individuals. Subscribe to our channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 00:38 – You’re from south Texas and went to law school in Indiana, why did you decide to practice law in Chicago? 01:23 – The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that Title…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (A2J Commission) and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) are accepting applications for two grants that will expand the network of court personnel who serve self-represented litigants (SRLs). As the number of SRLs rises, the AOIC seeks to establish or redesign programs to serve this community of court users. In 2015, statistics from the AOIC showed that 93 of the 102 counties in Illinois reported that more than 50% of their civil cases had at least one SRL. In some case types, that number rose as high as…
As Education Manager at the Commission on Professionalism, I have the opportunity to attend a lot of CLEs. Surveying these courses is integral to our mission of fostering high-quality professional responsibility education for lawyers in Illinois and beyond. While the CLEs we evaluate include a broad range of providers and topic areas, one commonality that has struck me is the similarity of course format, no matter the size or composition of the learner audience. This has been especially true since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced most courses online. Our course reporting data shows that 85% of courses submitted in the…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Sandra Yamate, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession. Sandra discusses the recent Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia decision, the importance of diversity in the legal profession, and how the legal profession can better support underrepresented minorities. Subscribe to our channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 0:33: How can the legal profession build trust in the justice system? 1:38: Why is diversity in the legal profession important? 2:14: Is the legal profession embracing the LGBTQ+ community? What is…
In a year that is not half complete and already full of unimaginable heartbreaks and disappointments, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered an opinion that is a cause for celebration. Fittingly handed down during Pride Month, as we recognize the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia held that an employer who fires an employee for being homosexual or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  The question in Bostock is whether the meaning of “sex” includes sexual…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Stephanie Villinski, Deputy Director of the Commission, has been appointed to the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Professionalism. Villinski’s three-year term on the national, nine-person committee will commence with the adjournment of the ABA’s 2020 Annual Meeting, which will be held virtually from July 29 – August 4, 2020. “Stephanie has played a pivotal role in the development and execution of the Commission’s educational programs, with a keen eye on how we can impact the current professionalism challenges impacting lawyers, judges, law students, and other legal professionals across…
This week, five years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared marriage a fundamental right for same-sex couples, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-bias law covers LGBTQ+ workers. This landmark decision comes during Pride Month 2020, as the Illinois LGBTQ+ community reflects on the progress they have made and what steps still need to be taken to promote great societal diversity and inclusion. In honor of Pride Month, the Commission is highlighting some of the most important legal milestones for the LGBTQ+ community in Illinois, including Illinois’ place as the first state to decriminalize homosexuality. Timeline: January 1, 1962…
To say we are experiencing challenging times is an understatement. Yet, there is also momentum brewing to change the status quo. Within that, lawyers must work to build the public’s trust in the justice system. The time to act is now. Our Current Climate COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill with the sobering number of cases, deaths, and unknown future consequences. In the middle of this global pandemic, the world witnessed the horrific death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer while other officers stood by and watched. Sadly, this type of behavior toward people of color
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce the launch of a free online CLE that explores the barriers women attorneys face in the current legal landscape. Advancing Women in Law Summit Parts 1 and 2 is based on the Spring Summit for Advancing Women in the Law, a March 3, 2020 event convened by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession. The summit featured four panels of diverse senior leaders in law, including chief judges, partners, and general counsels. The panels explored topics like the obstacles…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Miranda L. Soucie, a partner at Spiros Law, P.C., and Trent L. Bush, a partner at Ward, Murray, Pace & Johnson, P.C. Miranda and Trent discuss the benefits of using Zoom to engage with clients, share insight on using Zoom in court hearings, and offer tips on getting started for attorneys who haven’t used the platform. Subscribe to our channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 0:35 – How has Zoom changed your work life and interactions with clients? 2:34 – Have clients been receptive…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Commissioner Hon. Diane M. Shelley has been installed as President of the Illinois Judges Association (IJA). Shelley was installed for a 1-year term on Friday, May 29, at the Illinois Judges Association’s Annual Meeting. Shelley has stated that one of her goals for the IJA is supporting the Illinois Supreme Court’s program to ensure public access to the judicial system during the coronavirus pandemic. She also said that she intends to develop a new committee focused on exploring the use of virtual platforms, which have become vital to…
The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee will hold a remote public hearing on seven proposals on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. The committee will hear comments on all proposals, including a proposal that would repeal Supreme Court Rule 23 in its entirety and require all written opinions by the Appellate Court to be published. The repeal of Rule 23 would be significant for the legal profession in Illinois. Currently, Rule 23 allows the Illinois Appellate Courts to decide a case by issuing an opinion, a written order, or a summary order. Written orders and summary orders are treated the same for…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Randy Curato, a Vice President at the Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society. Randy discusses the risk management challenges lawyers face while working from home and how to mitigate risk as lawyers and their clients transition back into the office. Subscribe to our channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 0:38: From a risk management perspective, what challenges have lawyers faced working from home and advising clients during this global pandemic? 2:06: During this time, have any positive practices emerged? 4:01: How should lawyers be counseling…
Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives. These attorneys are teaching us how to adapt and thrive in the changing legal environment. Adrian Barr is Managing Attorney in Prairie State Legal Services’ Bloomington Office. Adrian supervises the delivery of civil legal and pro bono services to low-income people and seniors in McLean, Livingston, and Woodford counties. What’s your primary practice area? Civil legal aid, including domestic violence orders of protection, landlord-tenant cases, and expungement and sealing of criminal records. How has your practice evolved over the last few…
As courts, law firms, and legal organizations across the country reopen, now is the time to reimagine what our new normal looks like. In April, the Commission launched a Reimagining Law video series. Reimagining Law explores how legal and judicial professionals are adapting the delivery of services to meet the unique needs of today’s consumers. Until now, our discussions have been conducted through Zoom interviews with industry experts. But we want to take it one step further. The Commission is asking judges, lawyers, legal academics, law students, additional legal professionals, and members of the public to submit short videos that…
Over the last week, there has been a flurry of announcements from Illinois’ federal and state courts on the reestablishment of courthouse operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. As jurisdictional guidelines continue to evolve, it’s important for lawyers to stay abreast of these updated guidelines. We have compiled a rundown of important recent announcements from across Illinois. We would encourage attorneys to monitor the websites of the Illinois Supreme Court, the Southern District of Illinois, the Central District of Illinois, and the Northern District of Illinois for future guidance. Federal District Courts Central District of Illinois On May…