Supreme Court holds statewide meetings on civility and professionalism— Committee on Women and the Law to participate

“Civility costs nothing and buys everything”

— Mary Wortley Montagu

The Supreme Court is making great strides in raising the consciousness of the bar on issues of civility and professionalism in the courtroom and, more generally, in the practice of law. Recently, the Court established a Special Committee on Professionalism, whose purpose is, as stated on the court’s Web site, to recommend to the court “ways to promote respectful conduct, as the norm, within the legal profession.” David F. Rolewick of Wheaton is the Chair of the Committee, Professor Bruce A. Bower, of Loyola School of Law is the designated Professor-Reporter, and Justice Robert R. Thomas is the court’s liaison officer. Members of the Committee, and Justices of the Supreme Court, recently visited law schools throughout the state to speak to Illinois’ next generation of lawyers about the importance of civility in the practice of law. Law students were asked to take a “pledge of civility.”

As part of the court’s ongoing efforts at increasing civility within our profession, the Special Committee on Professionalism is holding meetings throughout the state to allow members of the bar to exchange ideas about how to promote civility within our practice and in the courtroom. The Court has asked ISBA for its assistance with the Committee’s meetings, and ISBA General Counsel Mary McDermott is coordinating these efforts.

The Committee on Women and the Law, a long-standing proponent of civility and professionalism within our profession, as well as in the courtroom, is pleased to participate in these meetings and to welcome a renewed aura of civility within our practice. As writer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu once said, “civility costs nothing, and buys everything.” Further, the Committee on Women and the Law has been involved in updating its prior work, from a decade ago, on a study it conducted concerning gender fairness in the courtroom. The opportunity to attend these meetings, and to listen to “fellow” members of the bar exchange ideas on how to promote respectful conduct within our profession, segues well with these ongoing efforts.

Meetings have already been held in Peoria, Collinsville and Carbondale. The next meeting of the Court’s Committee will take place in Champaign on Wednesday, November 19, 2003, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the University of Illinois College of Law. Champaign attorney Laura Clower, who is a member of the Court’s Special Committee on Professionalism, will be present. Claire Manning, from ISBA’s Special Committee on Women and the Law, will also be present. All members of the bench and bar are invited to attend. The Champaign program is co-sponsored by ISBA, the Champaign County Bar Association, and the East Central Women’s Bar Association.

Meetings in 2004 are planned as follows: January 14, Rock Island; January 28, Springfield; February 18, Dekalb; February 25, Joliet; March 10, Oakbrook; March 24, Waukegan area; April 7 and 21, Chicago. Those who would like to attend any of these meetings should make reservations with Vicki at ISBA by calling (800) 252-8908.

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November 2003Volume 9Number 2PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)