Illinois Supreme Court Amends Rule 794(d)(1) to Add ‘Sexual Harassment Prevention’ to Enumerated Professional Responsibility CLE Topic Areas

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The Illinois Supreme Court entered an Order on January 31 adding “sexual harassment prevention” to the enumerated topic areas for which lawyers may receive professional responsibility CLE (PR CLE) hours per Rule 794(d).

Rule 794 deals with continuing legal education requirements for Illinois attorneys.

The amended Rule 794(d)(1) reads:

Each attorney subject to these Rules shall complete a minimum of six of the total CLE hours for each two-year reporting period in the area of professionalism, civility, legal ethics, sexual harassment prevention, diversity and inclusion, or mental health and substance abuse.

The amendment went into effect on February 1, 2024.

What Illinois lawyers need to know

Why was this amendment proposed?

On November 15, 2023, Katie Liss, Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s (CBA) Sexual Harassment Prevention Task Force and the CBA’s Second Vice President, appeared in front of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee to provide testimony in support of the proposed amendment, which was offered by the CBA.

In her testimony, Liss said that the amendment was needed because “sexual harassment is unfortunately still a prevalent issue in the legal profession” and part of its culture.

Citing data from a study by the group Women Lawyers On Guard, she noted that over the last 30 years, there’s only been a 15% reduction in the number of legal professionals “who have experienced sexual misconduct often or with some frequency.”

Liss also said that, with the proposal, the Task Force is hoping “to help better our profession through education.”

Were any other changes made to Rule 794?

The sole amendment was to Rule 794(d)(1). No other changes have been made to Rule 794.

Please see the Rule here:

Where can I find PR CLE courses on sexual harassment prevention?

Attorneys can search for courses focused on sexual harassment prevention on the MCLE Board’s website.

Does the Commission on Professionalism offer courses that meet the six-hour PR CLE requirement?

Yes, the Commission offers 7.5 hours of PR CLE online, including a course titled “Ending Harassment, Bullying, and Incivility in the Legal Workplace.”

In addition, the Commission will explore several PR CLE topics—including the ethics of AI, authentic allyship, and how lawyers can embody justice—during our Future Is Now: Legal Services conference, which will be held virtually on April 18, 2024.

Four hours of PR CLE, including one hour of diversity and inclusion CLE and one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE, are available. You can register here.

Staying up to date on issues impacting the legal profession is vital to your success. Subscribe here to get the Commission’s weekly news delivered to your inbox.

Early Bird Registration is Open for 2024 Future Is Now: Legal Services Conference

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