In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that its virtual mentoring meeting expectation will be extended through June 30, 2021.
In accordance with COVID-19-related guidance from the Illinois Supreme Court, the Commission issued a virtual meeting exception in March, which enabled mentors and mentees participating in its lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program to complete their required minimum of eight meetings over the one-year term through video conference. Previously, participants were required to hold meetings in-person to receive professional responsibility CLE credit.
“The Illinois Supreme Court is pleased to extend this virtual mentoring option, which allows attorneys across Illinois the opportunity to engage in invaluable mentoring relationships while adhering to public health guidelines,” said Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke. “Participation in this important initiative not only prepares lawyers for the practice of law but reinforces the highest aspirational goals of the profession in both new and seasoned practitioners.”
The Commission’s lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program has been a signature initiative at the Commission since 2011. The program provides new and experienced attorneys a chance to share legal practice advice and expand their skillsets while laying the foundation for professionalism in the next generation of attorneys. Attorneys who complete the one-year mentoring program are eligible for 6 hours of professional responsibility CLE credit.
Since 2011, more than 7,000 mentors and mentees have earned over 42,000 hours of free CLE through the program. The Commission has partnerships with 100 law firms, bar associations, law schools, government offices, court districts, and other legal organizations across Illinois who support the program’s administration. Based on participant feedback, over 99% of mentors and mentees would recommend the program to other attorneys.
“Since March, mentoring pairs have reported that virtual meetings facilitate increased communication in a setting that’s more convenient and comfortable,” said Bill Moran, Chair of the Commission’s Mentoring Committee. “In addition, using technology in real-time has enabled in-depth discussions of practice challenges and the opportunity to share resources virtually to support these conversations. We’re thrilled with the success we’ve seen thus far and are pleased to continue to make this option available to our mentors and mentees.”
In response to the ever-evolving legal profession, the Commission has also released updated resources to support the mentoring experience. The revised Mentoring Plan provides timely action items, grouped by the five areas of the Illinois professional responsibility requirement, which provide new lawyers and their mentors a rich selection of relevant discussion topics, skills, and shared professional experiences for the one-year term.
In addition, the updated Mentoring Plan Supplement provides attorneys with information, discussion questions, and references for each action item in the Mentoring Plan.
To participate in the Commission’s mentoring program, visit https://www.2civility.org/programs/mentoring/.
About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Illinois Supreme Court established the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism under Supreme Court Rule 799(c) to foster increased civility, professionalism, and inclusiveness among lawyers and judges in Illinois. By advancing the highest standards of conduct among lawyers and judges, the Commission on Professionalism works to better serve clients and society alike. For more information, please visit 2Civility.org and follow us on Twitter @2CivilityOrg.
Laura Bagby, Communications Director