On Wednesday, the Illinois Supreme Court swore in 1,269 new attorneys during a virtual bar admissions ceremony. These lawyers join the almost 95,000 attorneys who are registered to practice in Illinois.
If you were sworn in, or just happened to watch the ceremony, you heard Chief Justice Anne M. Burke and Justice David K. Overstreet discuss the importance of mentoring in laying the foundation for a successful legal career.
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s attorney mentoring program was launched in 2011 to do just that.
Mentors can set the tone for your career, turning legal theory into application while helping you navigate hidden potholes in the profession, build confidence in your legal practice, and develop a professional network.
The Commission’s mentoring program will pair you with a more experienced attorney for a one-year course that goes beyond traditional mentoring, guiding you in the practice of law and teaching you how to build a career and reputation grounded in civility, integrity, and professionalism.
The program explores topics like maintaining civility in highly charged environments, supporting diversity in your organization, and developing new business effectively and professionally.
Remaining civil during tense situations like legal practice can be difficult, as lawyers are often encouraged to zealously advocate on behalf of their clients.
But Justice Mary Jane Theis emphasized the importance of professionalism from a judicial perspective during the bar admissions ceremony, saying judges don’t respond well to uncivil lawyers or incivility in their courtrooms. Others echo her concerns.
“Attorneys have reported that it makes issues more difficult to resolve when one side is being more aggressive than necessary,” said Melissa Smart, Director of Education at the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission. “It also harms public confidence in the legal system and judiciary and prolongs the conclusion of the case.”
Participate in mentoring, earn CLE
Since 2011, almost 8,000 lawyers have participated in the Commission’s acclaimed mentoring program. Of these, 99% said they would recommend the program to other attorneys.
Attorneys participating in the Commission’s program earn six hours of free professional responsibility CLE. (Learn more about the Rule 793(c) Requirement for Newly-Admitted Attorneys here.)
Moreover, mentoring pairs can hold any or all of their eight required in-person meetings through video conference, but are encouraged to meet in person when safe to do so.
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