At the end of October, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism announced the creation of a formally recognized mentoring program that recruits experienced attorneys to mentor newly admitted lawyers. This program comes after the experienced gained from a similar voluntary mentoring program started in 2011 in the 17th Judicial Circuit.
Newly admitted lawyers have not generally received much practical and clinical experience while in law school. Also, the intensive preparation for taking the bar exam, consumes most of their time upon graduating. The timely guidance and instruction by an experienced attorney can significantly enhance their transition into practice. Legal, practical and ethical issues should all be addressed.
The Supreme Court has made a change in the rules( Rule 795(d)(12) ) covering Continuing Legal Education (CLE) to help motivate new and seasoned attorneys to participate in the program. Each participant can receive up to six hours of professional responsibility credit for successful completion of the new program. There is a structured mentoring relationship established with documents and aids developed for guidance. However to provided needed flexibility, the program is administered by local organizations.
"By building relationships between new and experienced lawyers, experienced lawyers pass on fundamental skills and core values of professionalism essential to the practice of law at the highest levels of professionalism."