Continuing Legal Education

Lessons in Professional Responsibility: From the Illinois Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln

June 12, 2014
1:00 – 4:15 p.m.
3.00 MCLE hours, including 3.00 approved Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours

Old State Capitol
1 SW Old State Capitol Plaza - Foundation Hall
(map and directions)

Join us in celebrating Lincoln the Lawyer and earn three hours of
Professional responsibility MCLE credit!

Learn about professional responsibility from one of Illinois’ greatest lawyers, Abraham Lincoln, as you listen to the words of Lincoln and his law partner, William Herndon, through recorded reenactments of their recollections of cases, letters, speeches, and stories. The presentations are based upon historic research provided by John Lupton, Administrative Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission. The historic settings of the re-enactments, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office and the Old State Capitol in Springfield, were provided courtesy of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. After each recollection, John Lupton discusses the historical context, while our distinguished panel of attorneys and judges examine how the professional responsibility issues are addressed in the 21st century practice of law. The program provides opportunities for you to engage in discussions on the issues in your practice setting. Parking is available under the Old State Capitol and in the parking garage at the corner of 6th and Madison Streets.

Program Moderator:
Ruta K. Stropus, Illinois Attorney General's Office, Chicago

Guy C. Fraker, Attorney at Law, Bloomington
James J. Grogan, Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, Chicago
John Lupton, Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission Historian, Springfield
Hon. Ronald D. Spears, 4th Judicial Circuit, Taylorville


Join us at 10:00 a.m. on June 12 for a complimentary walking tour of Lincoln sites in the downtown area. The tour will begin on the south steps of the Old State Capitol and conclude at noon. Lunch will be on your own at one of Springfield’s downtown cafes.
Required: RSVP for the tour on the program registration page.



Topics and Lincoln Recollections

Managing Client Concerns and Expectations
In 1858, the New York law firm, Blatchford, Seward, and Griswold, sought Lincoln’s help in obtaining payment of a promissory note in the amount of $119.25. Listen to Lincoln reading his correspondence with the firm, and learn how he avoided litigation whenever possible and counseled his clients whenever necessary. In this presentation, the speaker offers practical tips on how to meet and even exceed your clients’ expectations.

Conflicts of Interest & Solicitation
Hear the words of Abraham Lincoln as he presented them in a letter to T.R. Webber, Esq. on September 12, 1853, learn the details of the McLean County Tax Case (one of Lincoln’s most famous cases) and examine how “conflicts of interest” and “solicitation” differ between the present and the past.

The Lawyer as Advocate: Representing the Unpopular Cause/The Unrepresented
Lincoln recollects his involvement with the historical Matson Slave case in which he, the great emancipator, represented the slave owner and argued for the continued enslavement of the Bryant family. This session examines the hard decision lawyers must make when representing the socially ostracized.

Zealous Advocacy
To be zealous means to show fervor for a cause or belief. What are the bounds of zealous advocacy? In this session, Lincoln reminisces about the People v. Mellissa goings case, while the speaker discusses the need for civility in the practice of law and examines Lincoln’s zeal in advocating for his clients, as well as his obligations to the tribunal.

Mental Health
In this session, Lincoln reads a melancholy letter written to his law partner, John T. Stewart, in 1841, while the panel examines the assistance available to lawyers through the Lawyer’s Assistance Program and discusses why intervention is important for many in the legal profession today.