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 abuse fulfill the requirement.
The Commission approved 11,165 courses in 2020 and 12,517 in 2019. The dip in the number of overall course approvals may be accounted for by the fact that many providers reported a time-lapse in pivoting from in-person to online delivery of CLE necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the Commission, we believe professional responsibility CLE is a vehicle for changing lawyer behavior to exemplify the ideals of the profession,” said Dan Davies, Education Manager at the Commission on Professionalism. “In 2021, we will enhance our support for outside CLE providers in developing innovative content through a Train the Trainer program, which will launch later this year. We will also increase the number of resources on our website for providers to access when developing professional responsibility CLEs, including course templates.”
The Commission currently offers six professional responsibility CLEs on its website for a total of five hours of free online CLE. The Commission’s CLEs cover topics including diversity and inclusion, mental health and substance abuse, bullying and harassment, civility, and legal ethics. In 2020, the Commission launched two courses:
- The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Well-Being, which introduces attorneys to well-being as a holistic approach and addresses confusion around what the term really means.
- Advancing Women in Law Summit Parts 1 and 2, which highlights takeaways from a 2020 summit that explored strategies for advancing women in the law. The summit was convened by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession.
The Commission also administers a free Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program, which creates opportunities for experienced lawyers to share practical learning and professional guidance with new lawyers. Attorneys who complete the program are eligible for six hours of CLE. The program also fulfills the basic skills course required for new attorneys.
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