Illinois Expands Mentoring Eligibility Under Mentoring Rule

illinois amended mentoring ruleThe holiday season is upon us and lawyers are giving back. This time of year, legal professionals are offering their time and talent to pro bono clients in need. Organizations are continuing their drive to raise the level of resources and awareness to access to justice needs across Illinois and the U.S. And many attorneys are stepping up to support mentoring, sharing their insight with new lawyers in the spirit of the season.

At the end of November, the Illinois Supreme Court approved amendments to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 795(d)(11), creating changes to the state’s mentoring rule, impacting those involved in the structured year-long lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program in Illinois.

The new additions to Supreme Court Rule 795 change the eligibility requirements of mentors and mentees. Prior to the Rule change, mentors were required to have practiced for six years in order to participate in a mentoring program for CLE credit. Now, attorneys may mentor a new lawyer once they have a minimum of five years of legal experience under their belts, whether in Illinois or another jurisdiction.

Likewise, the change impacts the mentees seeking guidance as well. Prior to the change, the mentoring rule required mentees to be within the first three years of practice in order to be eligible for CLE credit. Now, the amended rule allows mentees to apply within the first five years of their admission date in Illinois. This creates more flexibility for newer attorneys changing practice areas or roles within their organizations, coming off a judicial clerkship, or the like.

In addition, the amended mentoring rule now allows mentors and mentees to participate in the ARDC Mentoring Program imposed as a condition of disciplinary sanction or as a condition of a deferral program.

Rule 795(d)(11) still offers the potential for mentees and mentors to receive six hours of professional responsibility CLE credit during their two-year reporting period of completion so long as the Commission on Professionalism pre-approves the year-long program. Additionally, newly admitted attorneys still may participate in the mentoring program in lieu of taking the required Basic Skills Course.

That being said, this November, Illinois admitted over 1,300 new lawyers to the Illinois Bar. As these men and women embark on this new chapter in their professional careers many turn to mentoring for support.

At the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, we developed a lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program that pairs new attorneys with experienced legal professionals. The seasoned practitioners provide professional guidance and share their judgment and skills with each of their mentees.

If your law firm or legal organization is interested in setting up a year-long mentoring program OR you are a new admittee seeking guidance OR a seasoned lawyer looking to give back, we are here to help. For more information, please visit our Mentoring Page on the 2Civility website or contact Mark C. Palmer.


About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism

The Commission on Professionalism was established by the Illinois Supreme Court in September 2005 to foster increased civility, professionalism and inclusiveness among lawyers and judges in the State of Illinois. By advancing the highest standards of conduct among lawyers, we work to better serve clients and society alike. These duties we uphold are defined under Supreme Court Rule 799(c). For more information, please visit, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s website.

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Erika Kubik
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