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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Michelle Silverthorn

Michelle Silverthorn

After spending seventeen years living in the Caribbean, Michelle undertook a number of around-the-world detours before ending up at the doorstep of the Commission, including four years as a general litigator in New York and Chicago. She remembers pretty much everyone she’s met in her travels but she would especially like to meet again the passengers on a January 2001 flight from Miami to JFK. At the pilot’s request, they donated enough money for Michelle, who had her wallet stolen, to get back to college safely. She would very much like to tell them all thanks.
Michelle Silverthorn

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