Illinois Appellate Court Justices Maureen E. Connors '79 and Terrence J. Lavin '83 to address incoming IIT Chicago-Kent students

Justices will administer Illinois pledge of professionalism on August 21

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Justices Maureen E. Connors and Terrence J. Lavin of the Illinois Appellate Court's First District will address the incoming class of approximately 285 IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law students on August 21 during orientation week. Justice Connors will address day division students at 3:30 p.m. Justice Lavin will address evening division students at 6 p.m. The program will be held at the law school, 565 West Adams Street (between Clinton and Jefferson streets) in Chicago.

Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism logo

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. The justices will also 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 will participate in IIT Chicago-Kent's program, are graduates of the law school.

"We are 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."

Justice Maureen E. Connors, a 1979 graduate of IIT Chicago-Kent, began her legal career in private practice and then became an assistant general attorney for the Chicago Park District. Justice Connors was appointed to the appellate court bench in 2010 after serving more than 20 years as a Cook County Circuit Court judge. She was re-elected to the appellate court in 2012.

Justice Terrence J. Lavin, a 1983 graduate of IIT Chicago-Kent, began his legal career as a trial attorney. Justice Lavin was appointed to the appellate court bench in 2010 after serving more than 25 years in private practice. He was re-elected to the appellate court in 2012.

The Commission on Professionalism was established by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2005 to help foster increased civility, professionalism and inclusiveness among the lawyers and judges in the state. Its duties are defined under Supreme Court Rule 799 (c). The Commission consists of a chair, law school faculty, judges, lawyers, and non-lawyers appointed by the court. Commissioners serve terms of three years.

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design, and law. In 1997, IIT Chicago-Kent received the ABA's E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association for its professionalism program, which was designed to provide law students with an opportunity to learn about the professional demands of the workplace from practicing lawyers and judges.