Illinois Law Students Get “Schooled” In Professionalism

law studentsFor most students, “Back to School” calls for hitting the books, but what Illinois’ incoming class of law students will learn in their first week doesn’t come from a textbook. For these future lawyers, professionalism training is on the agenda thanks to the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.

The Commission is set to continue its annual Law School Orientation Program at all nine of Illinois law schools. There, students will be welcomed into the legal profession with early exposure to the field’s foundations of professionalism, ethics, and civility.

Leading the orientation will be Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garmin; Justices Lloyd A. Karmeier, Thomas L. Kilbride, and Mary Jane Theis; Appellate Court Justices Shelvin Louise Marie Hall, Nathaniel R. Howse, Jr., P. Scott Neville, and Aurelia Pucinski; and US District Judge and Commissioner Sharon J. Coleman.

At orientation, members of the judiciary will address the incoming students and administer the Pledge of Professionalism. At some of the schools, practitioners will then lead small group discussions utilizing hypothetical scenarios that incorporate a number of challenging professionalism issues. These issues intend to raise questions about a lawyer’s personal code of conduct and demonstrate the ethical and professional choices these new lawyers will face as they begin their legal career.

The idea behind professionalism programs during orientation grew out of a belief amongst the justices of the Supreme Court that one of the most effective ways of improving professionalism amongst attorneys is to begin at the earliest stages with law students.

Civility, integrity, and professionalism are among the high standards to which the legal profession holds itself. It is never too early for new members of the profession to begin to internalize these values. Thus, the Illinois Supreme Court and the Commission on Professionalism, in cooperation with Illinois’ law schools, have instituted this program. Our goal is to introduce entering law students to these values at the earliest possible opportunity and to reinforce them throughout their legal education so that upon graduation, they will not only be well-trained in the law and in legal practice, but also prepared to conduct themselves as members of a learned profession.

Each of the Commission’s law school orientation programs intends to promote civility within the culture of the profession, and over time make it an inherent part of how lawyers practice.

Illinois’ Law School Orientations will be held on the following days:

  • The John Marshall Law School on August 12th and August 14th;
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law on August 14th;
  • DePaul University College of Law on August 18th and 19th;
  • IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law on August 19th;
  • University of Illinois College of Law on August 19th;
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law on August 22nd;
  • Northwestern University Law School on August 24th;
  • University of Chicago Law School on September 16th; and
  • Southern Illinois University School of Law on September 30th

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.

Press Contacts:

Jayne Reardon
Executive Director

Erika Kubik
Communications Specialist

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