Simply Having a Diversity Program is Not Enough

Do You Know if it Works?

For the past decade, the Illinois Supreme Court has encouraged attorneys to take diversity Continuing Legal Education courses, mental illness and addiction CLE courses and activities to fulfill part of their professional responsibility requirement. Over that decade, the percentages of those courses offered and taken in Illinois has remained practically unchanged.

On April 3, the Illinois Supreme Court amended Supreme Court Rule 794(d) to require all Illinois lawyers to complete one hour of diversity and inclusion CLE and one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE. The rule goes into effect on July 1 and starts a two-year reporting period ending June 30, 2019.

For diversity in particular, the amended rule recognizes the current demographics of our profession and the changing demographics of the public we serve. This makes diversity education even more urgent.

The movements across the country, the debates happening in legislatures, the marches and strikes and protests and counter-protests, the recognition that formerly excluded minority groups need their voices to be heard, all make it clear that there is a long conversation on diversity that we are still having. As does the response from many in the still-strong majority who feel their own voices and perspectives are being excluded from the conversation.

READ MORE Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Volume 163 No. 116 June 15, 2017

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