Diversity & Inclusion CLE Guidelines

The following guidelines were developed by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism for CLE providers and administrators who wish to apply for professional responsibility (PR) CLE credit in the area of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). In planning any professional responsibility CLE, including D&I, please refer to General Guidelines for all Professional Responsibility CLE.

When considering courses for D&I CLE, we recommend providers review whether the qualifications and experience of the presenters are appropriate to not only deliver the content but also to position the presenter as an expert in the field. This is particularly important with regards to topics such as unconscious bias, stigma, dimensions of diversity, and harassment, as these are topics in which participants may well have had negative experiences in their daily lives.

For these areas of expertise, it is ideal that courses be co-presented by an expert in the legal field and an expert in the field of D&I. We recognize that may not be possible. If a D&I presenter doesn’t have academic or practical experience in the legal field, we strongly recommend that an attorney is also engaged in the design and delivery of the course to ensure compliance with Rules 795(a)(1) and 795(a)(2) regarding the focus on the legal profession.

When designing a D&I CLE program, courses should:

  • Address one or more of the following: the challenges faced by groups under-represented in the legal profession, eliminating bias, increasing representation, reducing harassment, and barriers to hiring, retention, promotion, professional development and full participation of underrepresented groups in the legal profession.
  • Give practical advice to participants that they can utilize and employ when improving diversity and inclusion in their professional circles.
  • Have faculty with personal and/or professional experience with diversity and inclusion and offer unique insight into the challenges facing the legal profession and the justice system.

Examples of diversity and inclusion topics include:

  • Recognizing and eliminating bias in the legal profession
  • Building equity and inclusion: sexual harassment training
  • How in-house counsel can eliminate bias and promote equity
  • Restructuring organization policies to encourage retention of diverse attorneys
  • Mentoring best practices for targeting discrimination, harassment and unconscious bias

At the request of our providers, titles of courses that had been previously approved for professional responsibility credit under this topic area include:

  • Positive Steps to Increase Gender Diversity and Eliminate Bias in the Legal Profession
  • Overcoming and Eliminating Age Bias against both Younger and Older Lawyers
  • Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion: Uncovering the Talent in Your Team
  • The Metrics of Diversity Initiatives: How Can We Measure Progress?
  • Changing Workplace Culture: Creating LGBT Inclusive Workplaces

For more information, visit the ABA’s Diversity and Inclusion Center or the ISBA Diversity Leadership Council.