The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Deputy Director Stephanie Villinski has been appointed to the American Bar Association’s Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility and Collaboration Commission (Commission). Villinski was appointed by ABA President-Elect Deborah Enix-Ross. Her one-year term will commence alongside the 2022 ABA Annual Meeting, which will be held August 3 – 9.
The Cornerstones of Democracy initiative was formed to address challenges facing democracy and the rule of law, according to Commission leaders. The Commission, which is chaired by Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson, will promote civics, civility, and collaboration to restore confidence in our democratic institutions and the judicial system and to protect the rule of law.
“In the past few years, cracks in our country’s foundation have grown wider and deeper at a relentless pace. The pandemic and ongoing social, racial, and political unrest have shown structural flaws in our systems that demand immediate attention,” Villinski said. “I’m honored to have been appointed to this Commission and to have the opportunity to promote civility and civil discourse nationwide.”
Using the resources and policy tools of the ABA, the Commission will:
- develop conversation guides for state, local, practice specialty, and affinity bar associations, and civic, professional, and government organizations to use in developing programs or adapting existing programs to model civil discourse on topical issues;
- feature civics and civility programming at key ABA events throughout the 2022-2023 bar year;
- collaborate with ABA entities and outside organizations on programming and activities;
- assert civics and civility as the focus of the national programming and resources developed for the 2023 Law Day.
“The legal profession and its members often set an example for others in our democratic system and can demonstrate how to navigate inherently adversarial environments with civility,” said Commission on Professionalism Executive Director Erika Harold. “Importantly, the Cornerstones of Democracy initiative promotes collaboration among the legal profession, government, and other public and professional institutions to bring these foundational values to all bodies entrusted to promote justice.”
Villinski’s appointment expands her work and the Commission’s collaborations with the ABA. Villinski also serves as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism, assisting ABA entities, bar associations, the judiciary, law schools, and the legal community in the development and coordination of professionalism initiatives. Former Commission Executive Director Jayne Reardon served in the role from 2015 to 2018.
Villinski has served as Deputy Director of the Commission on Professionalism since October 2017. At the Commission, she oversees operations and supports the development of professionalism programming, including the Commission’s mentoring, CLE, and law school programs.
Before joining the Commission, Villinski was Content Director at Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO), where she oversaw the publication of user-centered content for those in need of legal assistance, and an attorney at LAF (now Legal Aid Chicago), where she specialized in public housing issues throughout Chicago.
Villinski is a member of the ABA, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, and an advisory committee member of Catholic Charities Legal Assistance.
She received a J.D. with Order of Coif distinction from DePaul University College of Law and graduated summa cum laude from Saint Mary’s College in Indiana.
About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism was established by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2005 under Supreme Court Rule 799(c) to foster increased civility, professionalism, and inclusiveness among lawyers and judges in Illinois. By advancing the highest standards of conduct among lawyers and judges, the Commission works to better serve clients and society alike. For more information, please visit 2Civility.org and follow us on Twitter @2CivilityOrg.
Laura Bagby, Communications Director
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