Justices Maureen E. Connors and Terrence J. Lavin of the Illinois Appellate Court’s First District addressed the incoming class of approximately 285 IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law students on August 21 during orientation week. Justice Connors addressed day division students; Justice Lavin addressed evening division students.
The annual professionalism orientation program is organized and sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism in conjunction with the nine Illinois law schools. “Professionalism is the touchstone of our legal community,” said Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert R. Thomas, who recommended the creation of the commission to encourage greater professionalism in the bench and bar.
“It is essential for incoming law students to consider and incorporate the ideals of our profession, both now as students, and later on as members of the Illinois bar,” said Justice Thomas who currently serves as the commission’s liaison with the court.
The Illinois Supreme Court established professionalism programs to give incoming students at Illinois law schools early exposure to concepts involving professionalism, ethics, civility and diversity as part of their law school orientations. Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride has said these programs help law students understand the responsibilities they have as members of the legal community and start them on the path towards successful legal careers.
The program consists of two parts. The first part of the program, held at each law school, includes remarks on professionalism by Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices. In the second part of the program, the justices administer the “Pledge of Professionalism” in which the students commit themselves to upholding the highest standards and ideals of the legal profession. Appellate Court justices Connor and Lavin, who participated in IIT Chicago-Kent’s program, are graduates of the law school.
“We were delighted to welcome Justices Connor and Lavin ‘home’ to speak with our incoming class about professionalism,” said IIT Chicago-Kent Dean Harold J. Krent. “Beyond their remarks to the students, their legal careers and commitment to public service are excellent examples of professionalism.”