2014 Orientation Scheduled at All Nine Law Schools

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism announced today the 2014 Law School Orientation program schedule for all nine Illinois law schools. Incoming students will be welcomed into the legal profession with early exposure to the foundations of the legal profession, including professionalism, ethics and civility.

“The Court believes it is important to impress upon entering law students that they are now entering a profession that requires high standards,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman.

We appreciate the involvement of attorney volunteers who help introduce the students to the ideals of our profession.  It is hoped that the law students will incorporate these ideals into their academic careers and into their law practices upon graduation and admission to the bar.

Justice Robert R. Thomas serves as the Illinois Supreme Court’s liaison to the Commission on Professionalism and had recommended to his colleagues the creation of the Commission to encourage greater professionalism in the bench and bar. “Professionalism is the touchstone of our legal community,” said Justice Thomas.

It is essential to be introduced to the ideals of our profession early on for incoming law students. They can begin to incorporate and develop these ideals as students.

The idea behind professionalism orientation program grew out of a belief among justices of the Supreme Court that one of the most effective ways of improving professionalism among attorneys is to begin at the earliest stages with law students. The program has had tremendous success over the past few years and is a highlight of both the law school year and the judicial year.

“With the professionalism segment of our orientation program, our goal is to inspire and educate our new law students,” said John Corkery, Commissioner and Dean of The John Marshall Law School. “Hearing a Supreme or Appellate Court Justice discuss the importance of professionalism and then taking the Pledge of Professionalism makes a lasting impression on students.”

The professionalism orientation program is organized and sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism with the help of the deans at the various Illinois law schools and their faculty and staff.

The program consists of two parts. The first part of the program, held at each school, includes remarks on professionalism by Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices. The justices then administer the Pledge of Professionalism in which the students commit themselves to upholding the highest standards and ideals of the legal profession.

At DePaul and John Marshall, students will also participate in small group discussions utilizing hypothetical scenarios that incorporate a number of challenging professionalism issues. The scenarios raise questions about a lawyer’s personal code of conduct and the ethical and professional choices students will face as they begin their  legal careers. Attorneys and judges from the community, who can draw on their own experiences in similar situations, facilitate the small group discussions.

Northwestern University Law School will dedicate a half day to professionalism, with the justice’s remarks, the orientation program as well as a professionalism ceremony for incoming law students.

A schedule of the justices who will be speaking at the Chicago-area law school orientations are as follows:

Aug. 13         Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall, 1st District Appellate Court – The John Marshall Law School

Aug. 14         Justice Maureen Connors, 1 st District Appellate Court – The John Marshall Law School

Aug. 19-20  Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, Illinois Supreme Court – DePaul University College of Law

Aug. 20       Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, Illinois Supreme Court – IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

Aug. 22       Justice Robert R. Thomas, Illinois Supreme Court – Loyola University School of Law

Aug. 25       Justice Mary Jane Theis, Illinois Supreme Court – Northwestern University Law School

Sept. 15      Judge James Holderman, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois – University of Chicago Law School



Jayne Reardon, Executive Director,

Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

312.363.6210 via Twitter @2Civility

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