Professionalism Orientation Remains at the Heart of Legal Education

professionalism orientation 2018As we approach August, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is gearing up for law school orientation. Each fall, all nine Illinois law schools kick off the school year, welcoming hundreds of new students into the legal profession.

Each year at these law school orientations, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism facilitates a professionalism orientation designed to introduce first-year law students to the core concepts of attorney professionalism.

At every orientation, Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court Justices deliver remarks reflecting on the importance of civility and professionalism in the law. Following their remarks, they administer the Pledge of Professionalism. The pledge is an oath taken by all new law students in Illinois. When they take the pledge, students promise to uphold the highest standards and ideals of the legal profession.

In addition to the pledge, several law schools also incorporate small group activities into the professionalism orientation program.  Students break out into groups to discuss hypothetical scenarios that incorporate challenging professionalism issues surrounding a lawyer’s code of conduct. Led by local attorneys, these breakout sessions expose the students to real world scenarios they may face as future legal professionals.

This year, all nine Illinois law schools will be participating in the Commission’s professionalism orientation at each of their orientations on the following days:

  1. DePaul University College of Law: August 14th and August 15th;
  2. The John Marshall Law School: August 16th;
  3. Loyola University Chicago School of Law: August 16th;
  4. Northern Illinois University College of Law: August 16th;
  5. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law: August 22nd;
  6. University of Illinois College of Law: August 22nd;
  7. Northwestern University Law School: August 29th;
  8. University of Chicago Law School: TBD; and
  9. Southern Illinois University School of Law: October 11th

This year, before law school orientation begins, the Commission on Professionalism will take the lead in facilitating the Jumpstart program founded by retired 7th Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams.

Jumpstart is a preview and preparation program designed to assist traditionally underrepresented law students navigating law school for the first time and prepare them to become successful legal professionals.

The three-day, tuition free pre-orientation program brings together students from all six Chicago-area law schools and helps students confront the challenges that all first-year law students face. This year Jumpstart will run from August 8th through the 10th.

As a mentee of Judge Ann Claire Williams, Diversity and Education Director, Michelle Silverthorn is excited to keep the momentum of the program alive.

Jumpstart has long been an essential part of what we do at the Commission. This year, we are excited to continue Judge Williams’s legacy and ensure the program’s success both for students when they start law school, and as they continue in their academic and professional careers.

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 website.

Press Contact:

Erika Kubik, Communications Specialist

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