Future Law

New Lawyers: Jump-Start Your Career With Mentoring

mentoringThis week, the Illinois legal profession welcomed 1,590 new lawyers to its ranks. Attorneys from Illinois’ five districts were sworn in during a virtual, statewide bar admission ceremony on Thursday, January 14. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman presided over the event.

Prior to the bar admission ceremony, all newly admitted attorneys passed the Illinois State Bar Examination, an ethics examination, and were certified by the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness.

Of the state’s five districts, the number of admitted attorneys is as follows:

  • First District: 1,240
  • Second District: 184
  • Third District: 55
  • Fourth District: 51
  • Fifth District: 60

What’s Next for New Lawyers?

For these new lawyers, the desire to grow and excel in their careers may be innate. However, finding their footing and advancing professionally can seem daunting without professional guidance. This can be especially challenging during COVID-19 when daily contact with more experienced lawyers can be limited. That’s where mentoring comes in.

Mentoring provides an opportunity for new lawyers to benefit from the wisdom, guidance, and support of more experienced attorneys. Mentors can help new lawyers navigate practice challenges, build relationships in the legal community, and develop competencies that will lead to a more successful and fulfilling legal career.

The Commission on Professionalism administers the Illinois Supreme Court’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program, which connects new attorneys with more experienced lawyers for a one-year CLE program.

The Court’s program goes beyond traditional mentoring programs, providing practice guidance and supporting attorneys in building a career grounded in integrity, civility, and professionalism. Topics explored include maintaining civility in highly charged environments, supporting diversity in organizations, and developing new business effectively and professionally.

Since 2011, more than 7,000 mentors and mentees have earned over 42,000 hours of free CLE through the program. Of the thousands of lawyers who’ve completed the program, 99% would recommend it to other attorneys.

Earn CLE Credit

Beyond professional development, the Court’s mentoring program satisfies the new lawyers’ basic skills requirement and provides six hours of professional responsibility CLE credit at no cost.

Furthermore, program completion satisfies the amended Rule 794 requirement for attorneys to take one hour of diversity and inclusion CLE and one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE.

In the past, mentoring meetings have been held in person. However, due to COVID-19, mentoring pairs may hold any or all of their required eight in-person meetings over the one-year term through video conference.

If you’re interested in participating in the Commission’s mentoring program, register here or reach out to Mark Palmer at mark.palmer@2civility.org with questions.

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