The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Commissioner and First District Appellate Court Justice Mary Ellen Coghlan will receive the Hon. Mary Heftel Hooton Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI). The Award will be presented virtually at the WBAI’s 22nd Annual Judicial Reception on Friday, March 5. The WBAI honors members of the judiciary with the Mary Heftel Hooton Award for their exceptional leadership, professionalism, and efforts in advancing women in the law. In addition to Coghlan, former Commissioner Judge Jorge Alonso will also be honored with the Mary Heftel Hooton Award…
A lack of diversity and inclusion has plagued the legal profession for decades. Despite incremental progress in hiring, law firms haven’t been successful in retaining women of color lawyers in the associate ranks or promoting them to partner. While the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the stark realities of the legal profession’s diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges it may offer a catalyst for positive change—if the right steps are taken. COVID-19’s Impact on Women According to the Women in the Workforce Report by McKinsey & Co. and Lean In, in the five years preceding the pandemic women and men…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane M. Shelley and Kenyatta S. Beverly, Labor and Employment Counsel at The Davey Tree Expert Company. Judge Shelley and Kenyatta talk about COVID-19’s impact on women of color lawyers, the importance of diversity in law firms and on the bench, and how legal organizations can recruit and retain diverse attorneys. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 1:08 – Data shows that COVID-19 has led to alarming job loss and retention challenges for women of color, impacting their ability…
It’s no secret the legal profession has changed drastically in the last past year. Despite initial hesitation, lawyers have been forced to embrace technology and new ways of practicing law, many of which have cut costs and increased efficiency. However, pandemic aside, the profession has been exploring new ways of doing business for some time now. An example is the growing role of alternative legal service providers (ALSP) in the legal landscape. ALSPs offer clients specialized expertise that enables law firms and corporate law departments to reduce their costs and free up their attorneys’ time. Law firms and corporations…
It’s no secret the legal profession has changed drastically in the last past year. Despite initial hesitation, lawyers have been forced to embrace technology and new ways of practicing law, many of which have cut costs and increased efficiency. However, pandemic aside, the profession has been exploring new ways of doing business for some time now. An example is the growing role of alternative legal service providers (ALSP) in the legal landscape. ALSPs offer clients specialized expertise that enables law firms and corporate law departments to reduce their costs and free up their attorneys’ time. Law firms and corporations…
Diversity, equity, and inclusion have rightfully dominated the conversation over the past year, especially since the death of George Floyd. In Illinois, we’re fortunate that the Illinois Supreme Court has recognized the need for diversity and inclusion (D&I) education for some time, even amending Illinois Supreme Court Rule 794(d)(2)(i) in 2017 to require every licensed Illinois attorney take one hour of D&I CLE every two years.  The Court used data from the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism to make this change. At the time of adoption, the number of D&I CLEs offered was significantly lower than other professional responsibility areas, particularly legal ethics and professionalism. In the first two years of this rule change,…
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. Shayla Louise Maatuka currently serves as managing partner for the Maatuka Al-Heeti Emkes LLC. She combines her expertise as an entrepreneur – successfully establishing four businesses – with the practice of law, concentrating on civil and commercial litigation, personal injury, workers’ compensation, as well as business litigation. Her passion for the community helps others achieve their goals through entrepreneurship. She formerly sat on the boards of the…
In this interview, we talk to Cathy L. Cupp and Grant Ossler, a mentor and mentee in the Commission’s mentoring program. Cathy and Grant discuss how mentoring has helped them weather job changes and expand their career prospects as well as an attorney’s obligation to pass the torch to the younger generation. Cathy and Grant participate in the Commission’s mentoring program through the Chicago Bar Association.  Want to jumpstart your professional development and earn free CLE? Become a mentor or mentee! Find out how to sign up here.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on new videos from…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert R. Thomas and Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Debra B. Walker. Thomas and Walker discuss the early years of the Commission on Professionalism, including why it was founded and what it has accomplished. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law! Timestamps 0:54 – Justice Thomas, why did you establish the Commission on Professionalism? What were the challenges you were trying to address? 2:14 – Judge Walker, you were a member of the Committee on Civility in 2002. What…
Last month, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced 80 grants totaling $31.5 million to support organizations across the state that provide legal aid, violence prevention, and re-entry services. The Restore, Reinvest, and Renew Program (R3) grants were created as part of the 2019 Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), which requires that 25% of cannabis revenue be used to support communities impacted by economic disinvestment, gun violence, unemployment, and criminal justice system overuse, according to a press release. Among the inaugural grant recipients were more than 15 Illinois organizations that provide civil legal aid services, including the Public Interest Law…
The bar exam may look different in a few years based on recommendations from a National Conference of Bar Examiners’ (NCBE) Testing Task Force that is aimed at taking the exam into the next generation. In late January, NCBE’s Board of Trustees approved several changes to the bar exam that were the culmination of the Task Force’s three-year, comprehensive study into the design and content of the exam. The preliminary recommendations are targeted at ensuring a more integrated bar exam continues to assess the minimum competencies required for newly licensed lawyers entering a changing legal profession. The Task Force’s decisions were guided by the prevailing viewpoints of the…
In an industry ripe for innovative change, 2020 may have been a tipping point for the legal profession. And a recent report on the state of the legal market by the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law and the Thomson Reuters Institute suggests legal professionals should prepare for these changes to be lasting.  The pandemic, coupled with an economic downturn, and social and political unrest, accelerated trends like the rapid adoption of technology, according to the report. While some legal professionals may be waiting for things to return to “normal,” many of the changes in the legal market could be permanent, the report says.   The Surprising Success of Remote Work  While the pandemic’s duration can’t be predicted, law firms have learned several lessons over the last year that may stick around once COVID-19 is under control. The first lesson may be apparent:…
According to Guinness World Records, the quietest place on earth is an anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota, where the background noise measured is actually negative decibels. While this is impressive, I can think of someplace quieter – a Zoom room after a conference presenter has asked a question.   The silence that follows is truly deafening as audience members, who have suddenly realized the presenter has stopped talking, decide to wait for someone else to speak or start to comment, but then recognize with relief that they’re on mute.   This scenario came to fruition for me at the Association for Continuing Legal Education’s (ACLEA) 57th Annual Mid–Year Meeting, where I spoke on designing online courses for increased engagement. As with any talk, if you don’t nail the intro, it’s very hard to recover. I gave a brief hello, made a few comments, and then I asked a question…  Those few…
In this interview, we talk to Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke about why every lawyer needs a mentor, the impact mentoring has had on her career and the careers of others, and why the Court launched the Commission’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program. Want to earn free CLE and become a mentor or mentee with the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism? Sign up here. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on  new videos from the Commission! Timestamps 1:01 – Why is mentoring important in the legal profession? 1:35 – How has mentoring…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that the number of professional responsibility CLE hours the organization awarded in 2020 more than tripled compared to 2019.   In 2020, lawyers completed the Commission’s free online professional responsibility CLE courses 14,954 times, resulting in the Commission awarding 9,218 hours of CLE. In 2019, lawyers completed the Commission’s free online CLE courses 3,747 times, resulting in the Commission awarding 2,551 hours of CLE.   In addition to developing high-quality CLE that promotes awareness of professionalism challenges among members of the bar, the Commission reviews and approves courses offered by other providers to fulfill the professional responsibility requirement for minimum CLE under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 794(d)(1). Courses in professionalism, civility, legal ethics, diversity and inclusion, and mental health and substance…