Diversity and Well-Being are Essential to Effective Lawyering

effective lawyering

Diversity and well-being are two crucial aspects to an attorney’s ethical and professional practice. But what does it mean to have an awareness of diversity? How can we create an inclusive environment in our workplaces? How can a busy practitioner ensure their mental well-being? How can we look out for our colleagues in need?

For the first time, three entities of the Illinois Supreme Court – the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, the Lawyers’ Assistance Program, and the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission – are combining efforts for two regional workshops that address diversity and well-being in the legal profession.

This free two-hour program offers 2.0 hours of Professional Responsibility CLE credit satisfying the requirements for Mental Health-Substance Abuse and Diversity-Inclusion.  

Transforming Face of Law

Many of us find it challenging to successfully engage with those who share different identities than we do. At the same time, the demographics of our country and our workplaces have shifted dramatically.  The younger generations that are coming into our workplaces, as co-workers, as clients, and as opposing counsel, are more diverse than any in American history. How can attorneys understand and incorporate these groups’ different perspectives into their daily work lives and their client advocacy? Participants will learn about the role that implicit bias and cultural competency play in our interactions with each other and with our clients, and get equipped with the tools needed to successfully navigate our transforming legal workplace.

Recognizing, Understanding, and Referring a Colleague in Need

Over the past year, lawyer well-being has become an increasingly hotly debated and discussed topic in the legal profession. Recent studies have confirmed that the overwhelming stress commonplace in our profession disproportionately results in attorneys suffering depression, anxiety, addiction, and other serious issues, at rates much higher than those seen in the general population. But what can you do if you see a colleague in need of help? What can you say? Who can you turn to?  This course will explore why attorneys are a vulnerable population; the common mental health and substance abuse issues faced by our colleagues; the signs and symptoms of those issues; and what to do when you identify a colleague in need.


The regional workshops will take place on October 11, 2018 at Southern Illinois University School of Law and October 12, 2018 at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  The program will also be offered via live simulcast from the Loyola campus on October 12.

Registration is closed for all locations.

Southern Illinois University School of Law – October 11, 2018  12:00 PM – 2:20 PM

School of Law Courtroom
1150 Douglas Drive Carbondale,IL 62901

Loyola University Chicago School of Law – October 12, 2018  3:00 PM – 5:20 PM

Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, Room 1040
25 E Pearson Street Chicago IL 60611

Online – October 12, 2018  3:00 PM – 5:20 PM

Login information will be sent via email a week before the broadcast


Lea GutierrezLea Gutierrez is the Senior Litigation Counsel and Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois (ARDC), where she investigates and prosecutes allegations of lawyer misconduct.  In addition to her role as a litigator, Ms. Gutierrez leads the ARDC’s efforts to recruit diverse attorneys, promote a culture of inclusion, and create methods for increased public accessibility to the ARDC. She received her undergraduate degree from Hampton University in Virginia, her law degree from Temple University School of Law in Pennsylvania and her Masters of Forensic Sciences from The George Washington University in Washington D.C.  She also received her certificate in Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.  For three years, she served as Co-Chair of the YLS Professional Responsibility Committee of the Chicago Bar Association and she is currently a member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professional Discipline.  She has been a presenter at various bar association and law firm events on topics related to professional responsibility, lawyer regulation, and diversity and inclusion.

Judge Debra Walker SpotlightDebra Walker was elected judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2008. She sits in the Domestic Relations Division, where she hears complex disputes pertaining to custody, visitation, property division, maintenance, child support, and domestic violence. Judge Walker has been a Commissioner of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism since the inception of the Commission in 2006 and was a member of the special Supreme Court Committee on Civility that recommended establishment of the Commission. She has served as the Chair of the Commission since 2013. Judge Walker has facilitated numerous educational programs for lawyers and judges on topics of professional responsibility including civility, inclusiveness and diversity. She has also authored articles on these topics, most recently on #MeToo. From 2012-2018, Judge Walker served on the Access to Justice Commission by appointment of the Illinois Supreme Court. She serves as the treasurer for the Illinois Judges Foundation board of directors and has served on the board of the National Conference of Bar Foundations from 2013 to 2016. She is a past president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Illinois Bar Foundation, and the North Michigan Avenue Business & Professional Women’s Network, and an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Judges Association, and the Economic Club of Chicago. Judge Walker received both her accounting and law degrees from the University of Illinois.

Diana UchiyamaDiana Uchiyama joined the Illinois Lawyers’ Assistance Program (LAP) in 2018.  Prior to joining LAP, she was the Administrator of Psychological Services for DuPage County where she oversaw a DASA licensed substance use treatment program, including a Mentally Ill Substance Abuse (MISA program) and Seeking Safety program, and DHS Domestic Batterer Intervention Program for a court mandated population of clients.  Dr. Uchiyama has also worked for the Kane County Diagnostic Center, as both a Staff Psychologist and Juvenile Drug Court Coordinator, and has an extensive background doing court ordered evaluations including psychological, sanity, fitness, fitness to parent, and sex offender evaluations.  She is a licensed sex offender evaluator in the State of Illinois.  Dr. Uchiyama also conducts therapy with adults and adolescents.   She has implemented numerous changes to court ordered programs both in Kane and DuPage County and is a SAMSHA certified trauma informed care trainer.  Prior to obtaining her masters and doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Uchiyama was an Assistant Public Defender in Cook County working in various felony courtrooms at 26th and California. She obtained her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law.

J. Nelson WoodJ. Nelson Wood is a sole practitioner who resides in Mt. Vernon. He is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School (1980). His practice is limited to oil, gas, and coal matters. He is a former President of the Lawyers Assistance Program (L.A.P.) and currently sits on the Board of Directors. Mr. Wood has been active with LAP as a Trained Intervenor and has been a peer counselor and volunteer for over 27 years. 

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