Most lawyers went into the law because we answered a higher calling. We were drawn to the structure of the law as a way to make the world a better place. By learning the law, we would give voice to the voiceless, defend the defenseless. We would unravel complex bureaucratic procedures for our clients. We would find a greater purpose and meaning in our work.
As laws and procedures have become more complex, familiar signposts have become obscured. We communicate, investigate, research, and manage cases in new ways. Legal tasks are being handled by those without a J.D. and by automated systems. No doubt technology is changing the profession and raising questions: How do we use technology and innovation to better serve our clients? To better serve justice? Will we be able to earn a livelihood in this shifting paradigm? Will principles of service and professionalism still apply?
Because of these changes, professionalism is more important than ever. Professionalism is what distinguishes law as a profession rather than as a business motivated solely to maximize profits from the sale of legal services. Professionalism is the foundation of the public’s confidence in the legal system and the source of a deeper meaning that called us to this career.
About Jayne Reardon
Jayne is the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism.
One of her most significant contributions as executive director has been the development of the Commission’s statewide Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program, which focuses on activities designed to explore ethics, professionalism, civility, diversity, and wellness in practice settings. In addition, she spearheaded development of an interactive digital and social media platform that connects constituencies through blogs, social networking sites, and discussion groups. Her previous experience includes working as a trial lawyer, performing committee work on diversity and recruiting issues, and serving as counsel to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Review Board.
A tireless advocate for professionalism, Jayne oversees programs and initiatives to increase the civility and professionalism of attorneys and judges while promoting increased service to the public. A frequent writer and speaker on topics related to the changing practice of law, Jayne asserts that embracing inclusiveness and innovation will ensure that the profession remains relevant and impactful in the future.
Jayne is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan Law School. She is active in numerous bar and civic organizations, serving as chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Professionalism and a Steering Committee member of the National Lawyer Mentoring Consortium. She is also active in the ABA Consortium of Professionalism Initiatives; Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity; Illinois State Bar Association; Women’s Bar Association of Illinois; and the Chicago Bar Association.