The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism announced today the 2014 Law School Orientation program schedule for all nine Illinois law schools. Incoming students will be welcomed into the legal profession with earl y exposure to the foundations of the legal profession, including professionalism, ethics and civility.
“The Court believes it is important to impress upon entering law students that they are now entering a profession that requires high standards,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman.
We appreciate the involvement of attorney volunteers who help introduce the students to the ideals of our profession. It is hoped that the law students will incorporate these ideals into their academic careers and into their law practices upon graduation and admission to the bar.
Justice Robert R. Thomas serves as the Illinois Supreme Court’s liaison to the Commission on Professionalism and had recommended to his colleagues the creation of the Commission to encourage greater professionalism in the bench and bar. “Professionalism is the touchstone of our legal community,” said Justice Robert R. Thomas.
It is essential to be introduced to the ideals of our profession early on for incoming law students. They can begin to incorporate and develop these ideals as students.
The idea behind professionalism programs during law school orientation grew out of a belief among justices of the Supreme Court that one of the most effective ways of improving professionalism among attorneys is to begin at the earliest stages with law students. The program has had tremendous success over the past few years and is a highlight of both the law school and the judicial year.
“With the professionalism segment of our law school orientation program, our goal is to inspire and educate our new law students,” said John Corkery, Commissioner and Dean of The John Marshall Law School. “Hearing a Supreme or Appellate Court Justice discuss the importance of professionalism and then taking the Pledge of Professionalism makes a lasting impression on students.”
The professionalism orientation program is organized and sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism with the help of the Deans at the various Illinois law schools and their faculty and staff.
The program consists of two parts. The first part of the law school orientation program, held at each school, includes remarks on professionalism by Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices. The justices then administer the Pledge of Professionalism in which the students commit themselves to upholding the highest standards and ideals of the legal profession.
On Wednesday, August 13, 2014, Justice Ann Jorgensen of the 2nd District Appellate Court will be speaking at Northern Illinois University College of Law.
Following the justice’s remarks, students will also participate in small group discussions utilizing hypothetical scenarios that incorporate a number of challenging professionalism issues. The scenarios raise questions about a lawyer’s personal code of conduct and the ethical and professional choices students will face as they begin their legal careers. Attorneys and judges from the community, who can draw on their own experiences in similar situations, facilitate the small group discussions.
The remaining Commission law school orientation programs will be held at The John Marshall Law School on August 14; at DePaul University College of Law on August 19 and 20; at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law on August 20; the University of Illinois School of Law on August 21; at Loyola University School of Law on August 22; at Northwestern University Law School on August 25; at the University of Chicago Law School on September 15; and at Southern Illinois University School of Law on October 10.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Jayne Reardon, Executive Director
Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism