Latest from 2Civility Blog - Page 2

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…
We often measure someone’s online presence by quantity rather than quality. We’re interested in how many people follow you on Twitter or subscribe to your YouTube channel. Sure, these metrics can offer a proper correlation between talent and popularity from time to time. But other times, not so much.   Likewise, the numeric measure of your follower count offers little insight into the value of your professional network and how well you’re harnessing it for professional development. In short, it’s what you do with those connections that matters. My point here is this: building sustainable relationships can lead to career growth and professional development. And, frankly, help safeguard the job you have.  In this time of physical distancing — and whatever the subsequent world will look like — working, connecting, and learning have been redefined. Nevertheless, engagement with others inside and outside of your organization is even more critical. People…
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. As the Department Director of Catholic Charities Legal Assistance Department (CCLA), Hilda Bahena leads CCLA’s efforts to ensure justice for all. CCLA is a comprehensive legal services department that serves income eligible individuals and families in Illinois. Client services range from legal advice to representation to community legal education in many areas of law, including family, housing, and consumer issues. How is your firm adapting to the…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Executive Director Jayne R. Reardon has been selected as a 2021 Legal Rebel by the ABA Journal and the ABA Center for Innovation. Reardon was recognized for her advancement of civility in the legal profession and dedication to the future of law.   “I’m honored to be recognized by the ABA Journal and ABA Center for Innovation,” said Reardon. “As our profession embraces more efficient and effective ways to serve the public, it’s essential that civility and professionalism remain at the heart of all that we do. Civility, when exercised, can save attorney time and client costs, as well as improve attorney well-being…
I recently had the opportunity to interview retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert R. Thomas and Judge Debra B. Walker of the Circuit Court of Cook County for the Commission on Professionalism’s Reimagining Law video series. The two-part interview was scheduled for two reasons: first, to reflect on the Commission’s 15th anniversary and, well, because there is already a lot to talk about regarding the state of civility and professionalism in 2021. In the second part of the interview (which we decided to publish first due to the relevance), the importance of listening kept coming up as a theme for…
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 reflect on recent events and discuss how leaders can set the tone for civility in their organizations, the role lawyer professionalism plays in our government, and how the courts have remained impartial in highly charged moments.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law!      Timestamps     00:50 – How has the state of civility in the legal profession changed since the Commission was launched in 2005?   3:39 – What role do leaders have in setting the tone for civility and…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Education Manager Dan Davies will speak at the 57th Mid-Year Meeting of the Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA), which will be held virtually on January 22, 26, and 27. Davies will present a 45-minute talk titled “Designing for Engagement: Applying Instructional Design Strategies When Creating Online Learning” on January 26 at 2 p.m. CST.   ACLEA is a worldwide network designed to serve the continuing legal education profession through leadership, community, education, and development. Its mid-year meeting brings together continuing education professionals from around the globe to learn about the latest industry innovations and find inspiration for future educational programming.    Davies’ course will explore strategies for increasing engagement in online learning. The session will be a blended workshop, utilizing a recorded video and a live session. The participants will work…
Save the date! The Future Is Now: Legal Services conference will return in a virtual format this spring. The Commission’s signature future law event will be held Tuesday, April 25 – Thursday, April 27, 2021, from 12 – 2 p.m. CDT.   The fourth annual The Future Is Now conference will bring together lawyers, judges, legal academics, entrepreneurs, and other professionals from across the U.S. and internationally. The conference will explore the interplay between the changing legal profession and attorney professionalism in three areas: future law; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and well-being.  Topics will include strategies for implementing new technology in your practice; policies for successfully advancing diversity, equity,…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to welcome Justice Mary Ellen Coghlan, Judge Franklin U. Valderrama, and attorney Kurt Reitz as new Commissioners. The Commissioners were appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court for three-year terms beginning on January 1, 2021. “Justice Coghlan, Judge Valderrama, and attorney Reitz are well-known for their professionalism and contributions to the bar and their communities,” said Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke. “I look forward to working with our new Commissioners to promote civility and professionalism in Illinois’ legal community. In addition, I would like to thank past-Commissioners Judge Jorge…
As the tumultuous year of 2020 was ending, I started looking for positive stories that would provide hope for 2021. To my surprise, they were not hard to find. In reaching out to lawyers across Illinois, I found examples of how the resiliency that lawyers had developed led to increased professionalism. Resiliency has become a buzz word for effectively dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, lawyers aren’t known for their resiliency. Dr. Larry Richard, a leading expert on the psychology of lawyer behavior, found that 90% of lawyers score in the bottom half of the scale on the psychological trait…
This week, the Illinois legal profession welcomed 1,590 new lawyers to its ranks. Attorneys from Illinois’ five districts were sworn in during a virtual, statewide bar admission ceremony on Thursday, January 14. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman presided over the event. Prior to the bar admission ceremony, all newly admitted attorneys passed the Illinois State Bar Examination, an ethics examination, and were certified by the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. Of the state’s five districts, the number of admitted attorneys is as follows: First District: 1,240 Second District: 184 Third District: 55 Fourth District: 51 Fifth…
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce the launch of a new website and logo, which reflect its mission of advancing the principles of attorney professionalism in the lawyers and judges of Illinois. The Commission’s new website provides a streamlined and user-friendly platform for legal professionals to access and interact with the Commission’s educational content, including its free online professional responsibility CLEs, its lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program, its judicial and law school programming, and its legal profession-focused blog, including the popular Reimagining Law video series. “The Court is dedicated to using education to promote civility and professionalism in the lawyers and judges of Illinois,” said Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke. “The Commission’s new website provides…