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Details | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

New ARDC Webcast Offers Free Diversity and Inclusion CLE


August 28, 2017

The future of the legal profession is being shaped not just by technology but also by our increasingly diverse population. As our nation and state become more diverse, so does our workplace. Are lawyers prepared to meet not just the challenges of technology but also of understanding our diverse clients as well as our colleagues?

To better prepare lawyers to meet the needs of a multicultural society, the Illinois Supreme Court in April 2017 amended the MCLE requirements. Effective July 1, 2017, amended Supreme Court Rule 794(d) requires all Illinois lawyers subject to the MCLE requirements to complete at least one hour in the area of diversity and inclusion and also one hour in the area of mental health and substance abuse as part of the professional responsibility CLE requirement. Recognizing the need to provide more learning opportunities in the areas of diversity as well as mental health, the Court’s action puts Illinois at the forefront of a national trend. Of the 45 states that currently have mandatory CLE, Illinois becomes the fourth state to require a diversity CLE requirement and only one of three states that requires lawyers to complete some form of mental health and substance abuse education. Only California and Illinois require diversity and mental wellness training to be a required part of a lawyer’s professional responsibility continuing legal education. See Illinois Supreme Court Press Release (April 3, 2017).

Diversity and Inclusion: A Blueprint for 2017 and Beyond is a new ARDC-produced, CLE-accredited webcast that fulfills the new diversity and inclusion CLE requirement. Posted to the ARDC website on August 17, it is a free, one-hour recorded, on-demand webcast that features two dynamic speakers in the area of diversity and inclusion: Jeffery Cusic, Deputy Chief Counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Dennis Garcia, Assistant General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation. In part one of the webcast, Jeffery Cusic explores what is meant by diversity and inclusion. He gives a fascinating historical retrospect of the history of the U.S. Supreme Court and discusses how certain U.S. presidents have worked to diversify the Supreme Court. Mr. Cusic also talks about strategies for supervisors on how to lead inclusively. In part two of the webcast, Dennis Garcia discusses why diversity and inclusion is important to the health and wealth of an organization. He also provides tips on how the legal profession can become more diverse and inclusive. Mr. Garcia was also one of the featured speakers at the recent Illinois Commission on Professionalism’s 2017 The Future is Now: Legal Services conference. The ARDC produced this webcast in co-sponsorship with the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, the Chicago Bar Association, the Cook County Bar Association, and the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois.

A significant part of the ARDC’s mission is the education of Illinois lawyers. As an accredited MCLE provider in Illinois, the ARDC produces recorded MCLE accredited webcasts, free of charge and available on the ARDC website, to provide professional responsibility training and ethics education to the profession. The ARDC website currently offers 11 on-demand CLE webcasts, providing 9.5 hours of accredited CLE in the area of professional responsibility. ARDC webcasts can be accessed on the ARDC website at