Are you a government attorney or a private practitioner with government clients? If so, this newsletter is intended for you. It's jam-packed with helpful information and is organized in a manner that will enable you to find what you need quickly and to skip the rest. This is one of many free services provided by the Standing Committee on Government Lawyers because the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) realizes how important government lawyers are to the profession and is willing to commit a portion of its considerable resources to support an under-served population.
The Standing Committee has set several goals this year, in an effort to make your job easier. Below is a quick overview of what has been done recently and what is coming in the near future:
Networking--Thank you to the over 100 lawyers who attended a reception honoring government attorneys. On December 13, 2001, we were joined by several of the highest ranking government lawyers in the state, including, but not limited to: Hon. Marvin Aspen, Chief Judge of the Northern District of Illinois; Carole A. Doris, Chief Deputy Attorney General for Illinois; Mary Robinson, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission; Dick Devine, Cook County State's Attorney; and Jim Reilly, Director of the Department of Administrative Hearings for the City of Chicago. The leadership of the State Bar Association showed their support of government attorneys too. ISBA President Tim Eaton and Third Vice-President Ole Pace were present, despite the fact that the opening reception for the ISBA's Mid-Year Meeting was taking place at the same time. The reception, which was held at the ISBA's Chicago Regional Office, gave us an opportunity to meet and greet one another, as well as a chance to eat, drink and be merry in a festive holiday setting.
Professional development--Although we are attorneys first and employees second, there are times when we face challenges in convincing the administration at our respective agencies of the need to sharpen our skills. This may be caused by reluctance of management who are dealing with very limited budgets or by simple lack of awareness of our ongoing professional responsibilities. We can best serve our clients through direct contact with other professionals. Toward that end, the ISBA's Board of Governors adopted a resolution on October 12, 2001 (more details inside this newsletter) encouraging the establishment of standards that would allow for participation in professional associations and the provision of funds for licensing fees.
Continuing Legal Education--Our committee co-sponsored a CLE program on Illinois Administrative Law in Springfield on November 16, 2001. The 80 plus participants not only learned about the intricacies of administrative agency practice and its latest developments, but how to research this area of the law and use the internet as a resource. Attendees also left with their very own copies of the new Handbook on Administrative Law.
What can we do for you?--Our committee is comprised of government attorneys from all sectors and includes those who work for federal, state, county, local, and municipal clients. Even though our committee is representative of the broad spectrum of attorneys in this state, we do not presume to know all of your needs. Please take two minutes to complete the very short survey enclosed in this newsletter. I know, I hate surveys too. However, the results will help us to determine how to best use the resources of the ISBA to serve government lawyers. Since we strive to serve all attorneys in Illinois, and not simply ISBA members, feel free to duplicate the survey and to share it with friends and co-workers in government service. ISBA President Tim Eaton would like to see something special done for government attorneys during his term, so we ask you to return the surveys by March 15, 2002.
Please enjoy the rest of this newsletter. I'll end this column with words of wisdom from Pearl Bailey, the famous singer. "What the world needs is more love and less paperwork." Amen.