Civility

Submit Your Nominations for the Jeffrey D. Colman Access to Justice Award

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) is seeking nominations for the Jeffrey D. Colman Access to Justice Award.

The recipient of the award will be an individual who has made a significant or meaningful contribution to improving access to the civil court system for litigants who are self-represented, limited English proficient, disabled, or otherwise vulnerable.

Created in 2019, the award was named for Jeffrey D. Colman, the first Chair of the ATJ Commission and later, a Commissioner. Jeff is a staunch advocate for fairness and justice for all, a key developer of the ATJ Commission’s first strategic plan and many foundational programs, and a recipient of numerous awards for his pro bono and public service activities.

Submit your nominations to aspanner@illinoiscourts.gov by May 9, 2022.

How to apply for the Jeffrey D. Colman Access to Justice Award

Nominations should include a narrative that demonstrates how the individual has been involved in efforts to:

  • Increase litigants’ understanding of court processes and procedures.
  • Connect litigants with necessary resources regarding substantive areas of the law.
  • Provide technology or language support.
  • Secure access to legal assistance or representation.
  • Improve vulnerable litigants’ ability to meaningfully participate in their court cases, likely through a local or statewide program or change at the systemic level.

Nominations should also include letters of recommendation (three maximum) and can include articles featuring the nominee or their work. For a full rundown of the requirements, click here.

Current Commissioners of the ATJ Commission and members of the AOIC Access to Justice Division are not eligible.

More strategic initiatives by the ATJ Commission

The ATJ Commission recently announced updates to several Divorce and Family Law case forms. These updates are in line with the ATJ Commission’s 2020-2023 Strategic Plan to update and standardize its 45 ADA-compliant suites of instructions, forms, and orders using plain language to make them more easily understandable to the average court user.

The ATJ Commission was also instrumental in the policy change that allowed portable electronic devices in courthouses.

Both of these changes significantly impact access to justice for self-represented litigants, who can face difficulties navigating and accessing court services.

Staying up to date on issues impacting the legal profession is vital to your success. Subscribe here to get the Commission’s weekly news delivered to your inbox.

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