The Supreme Court recognizes that changing the culture of the legal profession requires the involvement of lawyers at all stages of their careers, especially at the beginning. Accordingly, we collaborate with faculty, staff and students at each Illinois law school to ensure that our future lawyers are fully engaged in civility and professionalism.
All nine Illinois law schools hold a professionalism orientation that is designed to welcome students to the profession and introduce them to the core concepts of attorney professionalism. We support two orientation activities for law schools:
- Held at every law school, the first includes remarks on professionalism by Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices. The justices also administer a Pledge of Professionalism, by which the first-year law students commit themselves to upholding the highest standards and ideals of the legal profession.
- The second activity, held at select law schools, incorporates student participation in small group discussions, focusing on several challenging professionalism scenarios. The discussions are facilitated by attorneys from the community who may draw on their own experiences in similar situations.
Because professionalism education needs to be an ongoing part of every legal career, we work with law schools to create state-of-the-art educational programs for students, faculty and alumni. Recent collaborations representing this work include:
- Illinois Supreme Court Oral Advocacy Program – A popular program that facilitates students from each Chicago-area law schools attending Supreme Court oral arguments while the Court is in session in Chicago.
- Law School Liaisons – Started in 2014, a student representative from each Illinois law school serves as liaison to the Commission. Liaisons attend quarterly Commission meetings, provide input on law school activities relevant to our mission and learn about initiatives to enhance professionalism around the state.
- IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law – The Commission co-sponsored an emotional intelligence program with the Association of Corporate Counsel where facilitators discussed how emotional intelligence leads to career success. A networking reception with students and practitioners in attendance followed the program.
- The John Marshall Law School – The annual Justice Anne Burke Professionalism Series opens each year with remarks on professionalism by Justice Anne Burke and features leading members of the bench and bar discussing professionalism-related topics with students and attorneys.
- Loyola University School of Law – “Civility in the Profession; Building a Community of Legal Professionals” is a mandatory 1L program that brings together legal scholars and practitioners to offer their unique perspectives on civility. Loyola also held a Professional Responsibility Day. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas gave the opening remarks on civility, followed by an all-day workshop that included various panel experts discussing professional responsibility topics relevant to extern and practice settings.
- Northern Illinois University College of Law – “Is This The Real Life? The Professional Reputation of Lawyers and the Legal Profession” was a joint program between the Commission and the law school, mandatory for 1L students. Law school alumni also participated and discussed with the students the implications of social media, resume puffery and generational differences on their legal practice and reputation.
We partner with law schools that are sponsoring our Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program to support law students’ transition from the classroom to the practice of law, while simultaneously allowing alumni to give back to their law school, their legal community, and to the profession.
Illinois Law Schools
The nine law schools in Illinois are listed below. We are fortunate to have a variety of learning institutions in our state that offer quality legal education experiences.
- Chicago-Kent College of Law
- Depaul University College of Law
- John Marshall Law School
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law
- Northern Illinois University College of Law
- Northwestern University School of Law
- Southern Illinois University School of Law
- University of Illinois College of Law
- University of Chicago Law School
Legal Education Resources
To learn more about new and innovative ways to enhance law school learning and to discover other organizations dedicated to legal education, check out our Legal Education Resources.
If you are interested in becoming an attorney facilitator for law school professionalism orientation or want further information about our law school projects, please contact Michelle Silverthorn, our Diversity and Education Director.