Diversity and Inclusion CLE Guidelines

The following guidelines were developed by the Commission on Professionalism for CLE providers and administrators who wish to apply for PR CLE credit in the area of diversity and inclusion (D&I).

In planning any PR CLE, including D&I, please refer to the 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 regard to topics such as unconscious bias, stigma, dimensions of diversity, and harassment, as these are topics in which participants may have had negative experiences in their daily lives.

For these areas of expertise, it is essential that the presenter has incorporated how the unique challenges of the legal profession can create barriers to change. Generic courses on societal bias, D&I may not address these barriers and be a source of frustration for the participants looking for practical, customized solutions.

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 underrepresented in or by the legal profession, eliminating bias, access to justice, 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 D&I in their professional circles as well as the legal profession as a whole
  • Have faculty with personal and/or professional experience with D&I and offer unique insight into the challenges facing the legal profession and the justice system

Examples of D&I topics include:

  • Recognizing and eliminating bias in the legal profession, including judicial, client, and public interactions with the 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

Titles of courses that had been previously approved for PR 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 Illinois State Bar Association’s Diversity Leadership Council.