In the October 2003 edition of The Brief, I "boldly" predicted that MANDATORY continuing legal education was coming to Illinois soon. On September 29, 2005, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted Rules 790 through 799 imposing just that. In that piece suggested that MCLE had the potential to take away time from the profitable practice of law for lawyers in the trenches with no guarantee that it would ensure that lawyers were educated in ways which were germane to the individual practitioner. I was, however, gratified to see some of the concerns I had were addressed in the version finally adopted.
In particular, the rules do allow credit for teaching in colleges and community colleges not accredited by the ABA (apparently recognizing that the ABA doesn’t speak for the entire profession on every issue). And, while they allow large firms to develop in-house programs, they also allow the newly created Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board to charge those firms fees similar to those charged to other providers of CLE. I hope the Board will use those powers and recognize teaching in appropriate settings to encourage the reversal of the stratification between the so-called "upper tier" lawyers and the vast majority of lawyers (who are fine, ethical and competent lawyers in their own right). The rules also allow credit for scholarly writing which I imagine will make the job of my successor easier by providing an impetus for people to write. (But don’t put off writing that article you’ve been thinking about as the rules also allow a carryover of up to 10 hours to later reporting periods—get ahead of the curve now). The DCBA will certainly be at the forefront in providing quality CLE programs. I encourage your participation now, in the certification stage, and at programs produced in the future. You will find that you will have valuable and enjoyable personal experiences in conjunction with your fellow members while satisfying the requirements of the rules.
This month we are privileged to have articles on Promissory Estoppel, Representing Aliens in Removal Proceedings and "Late" Appeals as well as a fine summary of the new MCLE rules by our own Glenda Sharp. I want to thank Mary Field our lead articles editor for this month as well as all who provide their time and effort to this publication. I also want to take this opportunity to give a belated congratulation to our member (and my former boss), Robert R. Thomas, on his selection as Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.
John Pcolinski, Jr., Editor