For the last eleven years, Illinois law schools have started the school year with professionalism. Since its inception, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism has partnered with the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois judges and justices, and law school faculty and staff to put on a professionalism program at each law school orientation.
Every law school’s approach to the professionalism orientation is unique, but one thing remains the same: the pledge.
At each law school orientation, members of the judiciary address the incoming law students and administer the Pledge of Professionalism. This pledge holds incoming law students accountable, ensuring that they uphold a higher standard of conduct as a legal professional.
Some law school orientations also incorporate professionalism education in small group facilitations. Attorneys from the Illinois legal community work with small groups of law students to discuss challenging hypothetical ethical scenarios. These hypotheticals raise questions about an attorney’s personal code of conduct and demonstrate the ethical and professional choices new lawyers may face as they begin their legal careers.
Law schools are uniquely situated to shape law students as they set forth on the path to becoming lawyers. At the Commission on Professionalism, we believe a large portion of their education should stress the importance of civility in a lawyer’s career.
When law schools join leaders in the legal community to introduce these values to students early on, the hope is that students will incorporate these lessons throughout law school. When they graduate and enter the legal profession, they will have a firmer understanding of how to conduct themselves in the civil, respectful, and professional manner expected of members of the bar.
Below are the dates for each upcoming law school orientation:
- DePaul University College of Law on August 15th and 16th;
- IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law on August 16th;
- The John Marshall Law School on August 17th;
- Northern Illinois University College of Law on August 17th;
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law on August 17th;
- Northwestern University Law School on August 22nd;
- University of Illinois College of Law on August 23rd;
- University of Chicago Law School on September 25th; and
- Southern Illinois University School of Law on October 26th
Professionalism education doesn’t just occur at law school orientation. The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism works with law schools year-round implementing educational programing. For more information, please contact our Diversity and Education Director, Michelle Silverthorn.
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 2Civility.org, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s website.