The 2021 Joint Conference of the Appellate Court was held on October 14-15 and 18-19 this year via Zoom. The annual Joint Conference provides a forum for the discussion and consideration of matters related to the administration of the appellate courts, which includes Clerks, Legal Research Directors, and additional staff as well as the Appellate Justices from the five appellate districts.
The daily welcome and overview for each day was provided by Justice Bertina E. Lampkin of the 1st District, who served as Chair of the Appellate Court Administrative Committee. The Annual Meeting of the Appellate Court on the first day of the conference was presented by Justice Mary W. McDade of the 3rd District, who served as the Honorary Chair for the 2021 Annual Meeting. Also on the first day, Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Burke, the Supreme Court’s Liaison to the Appellate Court Administrative Committee, gave the Conference Address.
Courses were held on a daily basis with a blend of general courses and targeted courses for justices or clerks and staff. A number of courses featured distinguished professors from major universities who led courses on issues such as different approaches to drafting appellate judicial opinions and philosophical concepts of emotion in relation to their role in both legal theory and legal doctrine. Breakout sessions were held during several courses which allowed the attendees time to discuss specific issues in small groups.
The final courses held on the fourth day were an overview of the Access to Justice (ATJ) Commission and AOIC ATJ Division’s work to assist Self-Represented Litigant (SRLs) in civil appeals, targeted for clerks and staff, and a course which examined the intended and unintended consequences associated with methods of review, targeted for judicial law clerks and research attorneys.
The 2021 Joint Conference of the Appellate Court concluded with words from Jacob Jost, the Reporter of Decisions and Chair of the Illinois Judicial College Judicial Branch Staff Education Committee, and Justice Mary K. Rochford of the 1st District and a member of the Illinois Judicial College Judicial Branch Staff Education Committee.