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Diversity Leadership Council Newsletter
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Council

June 2007, vol. 1, no. 1

Now every article is the start of a discussion. If you're a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, you can comment on any of the articles that appear below.

In This Issue…

  • Diversity in the Legal Profession: What we can do to open doors?
    The Illinois State Bar Association proudly stood as a co-sponsor of the ABA resolution supporting the creation of a Diversity Pipeline to help guide young minority students to the law. With over 70 official sponsors of the resolution, Illinois stands with 20 state bar associations and numerous county, city and specialty bars, as well as ABA sections, in support of opening doors to offer opportunities to any student who aspires to a career in the law.
  • Diversity in the Legal Profession: ISBA’s commitment continues
    The Illinois State Bar Association has a long-standing and unwavering commitment to diversity in the legal profession and in the Association.  
  • Chair’s column
    As chairs of the Standing Committees on Women and the Law and Minority and Women Participation, we are pleased to share with you the diversity outreach and educational efforts that our committees have undertaken during the past year. 
  • Diversity Roundtable: Pipeline to the future
    During the past year, the Standing Committee on Minority and Women Participation has been exploring ways that the Illinois State Bar Association can encourage more minorities traverse the educational pipeline into the legal profession.
  • The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and its mission
    The Illinois Supreme Court took a dramatic step forward by creating the Commission on Professionalism.
  • Diversity is a yarn, until women of color are woven into the law firm fabric
    Regardless how accomplished a woman may be, she cannot climb, much less reach the top of, the leadership ladder unless she spends a certain amount of years in her work environment.
  • Articulating the business case for inclusion
    Abundant research, practical experience, and media stories support the business case for diversity. Ensuring that diversity is achieved requires committed leadership and rigorous assessment so that change is both measurable and sustainable into the future.
  • Summary of the 2006 Diversity Luncheon
    On September 18, 2006, the Peoria County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee held its third annual Diversity Luncheon and outdid itself again.
  • The Chicago Call to Action for Women Attorneys: The right thing to do for law firms
    The Call to Action was launched on January 25, 2005 to increase the number of women partners and to enhance leadership opportunities for women attorneys in law firms.
  • Diversity news
    The Minority Corporate Counsel Association selected the law firm of Laner, Muchin, Dombrow, Becker Levin and Tominberg, Ltd. as the recipient of the Thomas L. Sager Award for the Midwest Region.
  • Mission Possible: Black Law Students Association at SIU Initiative
    BLSA, which is an organization comprised of a small group of African American and other minority law students, has targeted minority elementary, middle, and high school students, most of whom will come from low income and educationally deprived communities in Illinois and surrounding areas.
  • Excellence and strength through diversity: The positive impact on the future of our profession
    Increasing diversity within the legal profession not only contributes significantly to the quality of the profession, but also serves to enhance the public’s confidence in, and respect for, the legal system. As members of the legal profession, it is our duty and obligation to assume the lead in assuring that there is gender, racial, ethnic and sexual orientation diversity within our ranks.

Related Court Cases

Steidl v. Madigan

Plaintiff was convicted of two 1986 murders, and sentenced to death (later reduced to life imprisonment). Federal district court then granted Plaintiff's habeas corpus petition, vacated convictions, and ordered retrial within 120 days or release.  State did not appeal, and Plaintiff was then released from prison. Plaintiff then filed civil rights action in district court against several persons involved in his prosecution, including elected State's Attorney.  Court entered a "Consent Judgment" for $2 million plus interest, finding that State's Attorney had acted within scope of his employment. County and its insurers agreed to pay $375,000 in partial satisfaction; Plaintiff made formal demand on State and Attorney General per Section 2 of State Employee Indemnification Act for full payment of outstanding judgment with interest.  Court properly dismissed mandamus action, as Plaintiff failed to allege that terms of Consent Judgment were approved by Attorney General; thus, State has no obligation to indemnify State's Attorney.(ROCHFORD and DELORT, concurring.)

Involuntary Admission
In re Megan G.
Petition asserted a claim under Section 3-600 of Mental Health Code, alleging that Respondent is subject to involuntary admission to a mental health facility and is in need of immediate hospitalization. As petition sets forth the required allegations, on its face, the petition alleges existence of a justiciable matter, and thus the court had subject matter jurisdiction. As court was procedurally limited from hearing matter while felony charges were pending, it properly dismissed petition for involuntarily admission. Respondent did not contest personal jurisdiction, and received proper notice, and her appointed counsel was present at the hearing on her motion to dismiss. Thus, the trial court had personal jurisdiction over Respondent. (SPENCE, concurring; JORGENSEN, specially concurring.)

Fair Trial
In re Benny M.
Court granted State's petition to subject him to involuntary treatment with psychotropic medication. Respondent was denied a fair trial when court denied his request to remove his shackles during the hearing, without making any findings that such shackling was necessary. Court did not explicitly make any findings supporting shackling, and court conducted almost no independent assessment of factors involved in shackling decision; thus, court abused its discretion in ordering continued shackling of Respondent. Appeal falls within exceptions to mootness doctrine, as it is capable of repetition yet evades review, public interest exception applies, and there is uncertainty as to whether same factors must be considered when proceeding is a civil proceeding in which fundamental rights of Respondent are at issue. (ZENOFF and SPENCE, concurring.)

Bocock v. O'Leary
Plaintiff filed 21-count petition for mandamus to enforce provisions of Illinois DOC County Jail Standards which Plaintiff alleged that Will County Detention Facility violated. Only the DOC Director is statutorily authorized to petition a court to order compliance with county jail standards. Thus, Plaintiff lacks standing for his mandamus petition. DOC regulations do not create private cause of action to inmate seeking to remedy a county jail’s alleged noncompliance with regulations. (HOLDRIDGE and SCHMIDT, concurring.)

Whirl v. Clague
Court erred in dismissing inmates's pro se mandamus petition alleging that sheriff, county clerk, and correctional center warden violated his right to marry by frustrating his ability to acquire a marriage license and ultimately to marry.Inmate requested that Defendants follow through with correctional center's structured written procedural step of furloughing him to county clerk's office on a scheduled day and time to acquire his marriage license. Correctional center's memo describing procedure affords no discretion as to step involving furloughing of an inmate to get marriage license. Petition seeks to compel Sheriff, clerk, and warden to desist from actions that frustrate his constitutional right to marry and do what is necessary for him to secure a marriage license, and thus is a proper request for mandamus relief. (CARTER, concurring; SCHMIDT, dissenting.)

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