The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism firmly believes that professionalism education begins in law school. Stephen Burns, 1968 IU Maurer graduate and former CEO of Wheaton Van Lines, shares the same mindset.
Earlier this month, the IU alum donated $1 million to his alma mater, so the law school could build up its professionalism and ethics curriculum. Burns endowed the scholarship in his name, creating the “Stephen F. Burns Professorship”.
The new ethics curriculum will focus on teaching law students judgment, project management, client relations, and teamwork skills. The course offering will resemble two of the law schools more unique courses – the Legal Profession Course and Wintersession – both of which emphasize the importance of professionalism.
The donor insisted that Professor of Law and Val Nolan Faculty Fellow, William (Bill) Henderson, hold the professorship. Henderson is held in high regard by the legal education community, authoring a number of works and speaking at industry conferences across the country. In fact, he’s scheduled to appear at the Commission’s very own The Future Is Now Conference this May.
According to Burns, Henderson was the reason for the donation. The professor was one of the key players in developing IU Maurer’s Wintersession and has pioneered the development of other leadership development and character-building curriculum for the law school.
Henderson was pleased to be considered for the appointment, and looks forward to developing the new ethics curriculum.
It is very rewarding to be a part of a gift process where a lawyer can identify a key theme of their success and happiness and help translate it into part of forward-looking law school curriculum, and in the case of Steve Burns, the theme is ethics and integrity.
We wholeheartedly agree. Law students need to learn about loyalty and good judgment to their clients. They need to learn about fairness, integrity and civility to opposing counsel. And they need to learn about our service to the legal system.
Kudos to IU Maurer School of Law. We hope more schools follow suit and increase their commitment to professionalism and ethics curriculum.