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Comprehensive Judicial Education Plan for Illinois Judges


III.   Illinois Judicial Conference Education Programs

B. JUDICIAL CONFERENCE EDUCATION PROGRAMS

The education programs of the Illinois Judicial Conference will in general include an education conference, an advanced judicial academy, a new judges seminar, regional seminars, and mini-seminars.

1. Education Conference

a. Purpose. An education conference shall be conducted to provide a range of judicial education and professional development activities for Illinois judges.

b. Duration and Scheduling. With the approval of the Supreme Court, the conference shall be held biennially in even numbered calendar years and shall be of sufficient length to provide 30 hours of judicial education for each participant. The same conference will be held twice, with half the state's judges participating in one meeting and the other half in a second meeting. The conference meetings will be held in as close proximity to one another as scheduling permits.

c. Location. With the approval of the Supreme Court, the conference shall be held in Cook County.

d. Attendance. Each conference meeting shall have a blended population of associate, circuit and appellate court judges. All judges in the state shall be assigned to attend one of the two meetings. Attendance at the conference is mandatory and shall satisfy a judge’s 30 hour judicial education mandate. If, due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, a judge is unable to complete the 30 hour Education Conference mandate, then he/she shall make up any deficiency by attendance at Judicial Conference regional or mini seminars or any other Illinois Supreme Court sponsored judicial branch education programs.

e. Curriculum. The Committee on Education shall plan a wide range of continuing judicial education programs and activities that cover the core curriculum areas of judicial ethics and conduct, substantive and procedural law, procedural and technological developments, and personal and professional development. All conference meetings shall include a session on judicial ethics and conduct.

f. Faculty. The Committee on Education shall recruit faculty who shall consist of judges, retired judges not engaged in the practice of law, and law professors. For the purposes of this Plan, a retired judge engaged solely in the provision of mediation and/or arbitration services shall not be considered to be engaged in the practice of law. Additionally, faculty representing other disciplines (e.g., medical doctors, psychologists, accountants or others) may be utilized upon the recommendation of the Committee on Education and with the approval of the Supreme Court to discuss non-legal topics encountered by judges. The Committee on Education shall recommend faculty based on their expertise in the subject matter and ability to prepare and present educational material effectively. Each faculty committee shall be chaired by a judge with prior teaching experience.

g. Reading Materials. Faculty shall prepare appropriate reading materials. The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts shall work with all faculty committees to ensure that they are aware of and follow the benchbook format requirements promulgated by the Committee on Education.

2. New Judges

One of judicial education’s most important functions is providing comprehensive education and training for new judges to acquaint them with necessary legal knowledge and skills for everyday use on the bench. Orientation for new trial court judges shall begin as soon as possible after the election or selection of the judge.

a. Written Materials: The AOIC shall provide the new judge with the most recent New Judge Seminar notebooks, the Code of Judicial Conduct (Supreme Court Rules 61-71), and an order form listing the benchbooks produced by the Committee on Education (Civil Law and Procedure, Criminal Law and Procedure, Domestic Violence, DUI/Traffic, Evidence, and Family Law and Procedure) and the benchbooks produced by the Illinois Judicial Conference Study Committee on Juvenile Justice, and other resources identified by the Committee on Education. These materials shall be sent to the new judge prior to the new judge's taking the bench or as soon as possible thereafter.

b. New Judge Seminar

(1) Purpose: The New Judge Seminar shall provide intensive education and training to new judges in substantive legal areas, courtroom management, and judicial ethics and conduct.

(2) Duration and Scheduling: The New Judge Seminar shall be five days in length and shall be held annually in December in non-election years, and January following the year of a general election, unless otherwise directed by the Supreme Court.

(3) Attendance: Attendance shall be mandatory for all persons who have taken office since the preceding New Judge Seminar and have not previously served as a judge.

(4) Curriculum: The New Judge Seminar curriculum shall focus on the following areas: (1) judicial ethics and conduct, (2) substantive law, (3) procedural matters, (4) courtroom management.

(5) Faculty: Faculty shall consist of judges, retired judges, (See section III.B.1.f. for definition of a retired judge), full-time law professors, current and former members of the Judicial Inquiry Board, and faculty representing other disciplines (e.g. medical doctors, psychologists, accountants or others). The Committee on Education shall recommend the faculty based upon their expertise in the subject matter and ability to prepare and present educational material effectively.

(6) Reading Materials: The faculty shall provide reading materials to accompany their presentations. The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts shall work with all faculty members to ensure that they are aware of the benchbook format requirements promulgated by the Committee on Education.


3. Illinois Judicial Conference Seminars

a. Regional Seminars

(1) Purpose: Regional seminars provide an opportunity for detailed study of a specific area of interest. While serving as an intensive educational experience, these sessions also allow for communication and interaction among judges throughout Illinois.

(2) Duration and Scheduling: A two-day format will be utilized for regional seminars. A regional seminar is equivalent to fifteen (15.0) continuing judicial education hours.

(3) Number and location: In years in which no education conference is held, up to five regional seminars may be scheduled each year, subject to the approval of the Supreme Court and available funding. In years in which an education conference is held, up to three regional seminars may be scheduled. Seminar sites will be selected to promote and encourage judicial attendance throughout the state.

(4) Curriculum: The Committee on Education shall consider, but not be limited to, the following core curriculum areas when planning the annual regional seminar schedule:

(a) Substantive and Procedural law.

(i) Criminal law and procedure.
(ii) Civil law and procedure.
(iii) Evidence.
(iv) Supreme Court Rules.
(v) Juvenile law.
(vi) Family law.

(b) Procedural and Technological Developments.

(i) Trial management.
(ii) Settlement techniques.
(iii) Caseflow management.
(iv) Personal computers in the courts.
(v) Trends in technology and court automation.


(c) Judicial Ethics and Conduct.

(i) Code of Judicial Conduct.
(ii) Bias in the courts.
(iii) Pro se and indigent litigants
(iv) Literature and the law.

(d) Personal and Professional Development.

(i) Judicial writing.
(ii) Effective communication through the media.
(iii) Alcohol, drugs and the courts.
(iv) Stress management.
(v) Court management.

The curriculum shall include topics that appeal to and challenge associate, circuit and appellate court judges; appeal to metropolitan as well as rural judges; and address the education needs of new judges as well as experienced judges.

(5) Faculty: The Committee on Education shall recruit regional seminar faculty who shall consist primarily of judges, and retired judges (See section III.B.1.f. for definition of a retired judge), assisted by full-time law professors as needed. Each faculty committee shall be chaired by a judge with prior seminar teaching experience. Faculty representing other disciplines (e.g., medical doctors, psychologists, accountants or others) may be utilized upon the recommendation of the Committee and with the approval of the Supreme Court to discuss non-legal topics encountered by judges. The Committee on Education shall recommend faculty based upon their expertise in the subject matter and ability to prepare and present educational material effectively.

(6) Reading Materials: The faculty for all regional seminars shall provide appropriate reading materials. The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts shall work with all faculty committees to ensure that they are aware of the benchbook format requirements promulgated by the Committee on Education. Reading materials may be mailed to seminar participants in advance of the seminar at the direction of the seminar faculty.

 b. Mini-Seminars

(1) Purpose: The mini-seminar provides education and information to judges on specific substantive and procedural topics in a condensed time period.

(2) Duration and Scheduling: Each mini-seminar shall be approximately six hours in length. A mini seminar is equivalent to six (6.0) continuing judicial education hours.

(3) Number and Location: In a year in which no education conference is held, up to four mini-seminars may be scheduled each year, subject to the approval of the Supreme Court and available funding. In years in which an education conference is held, up to two mini seminars may be scheduled. Seminar sites will be selected to promote and encourage judicial attendance throughout the state.

(4) Curriculum: mini-seminars will address substantive and procedural topics of broad interest that are capable of an in-depth analysis in sessions of approximately six hours. The Committee on Education shall consider, but not be limited to, the same core curriculum areas considered for regional seminars.

(5) Faculty: The Committee on Education shall recruit mini-seminar faculty who shall consist primarily of judges, and retired judges (See section III.B.1.f. for definition of a retired judge), assisted by full-time law professors as needed. Each faculty committee shall be chaired by a judge with prior seminar teaching experience. Faculty representing other disciplines (e.g., medical doctors, psychologists, accountants or others) may be utilized upon the recommendation of the Committee and with the approval of the Supreme Court to discuss non-legal topics encountered by judges. The Committee on Education shall recommend faculty based upon their expertise in the subject matter and ability to prepare and present educational material effectively.

(6) Reading Materials: The faculty for all mini-seminars shall provide appropriate reading materials. The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts shall work with all faculty committees to ensure that they are aware of the benchbook format requirements promulgated by the Committee on Education. Reading materials may be mailed to seminar participants in advance of the seminar at the direction of the seminar faculty.

4. Advanced Judicial Academy

a. Purpose: The Academy is a residential judicial education program providing experienced jurists the opportunity to renew and re-energize their spirits and rekindle their passion for the administration of justice. With the assistance of outstanding scholars from Illinois and across the nation, the Academy’s goal is to explore the law’s interaction and potential working relationship with other disciplines and their current and potential effects on how judges do their jobs.

b. Duration and Scheduling: With the approval of the Supreme Court, the Academy may be up to five days in duration and shall be held every other year in non-Education Conference years.

c. Location: With the approval of the Supreme Court, the Academy may be held on the campus of an Illinois law school or other suitable venue.

d. Curriculum: The Committee on Education shall recommend judges who may or may not be members of the Committee on Education to serve on the Advanced Judicial Academy planning committee. The planning committee will recommend topics and speakers, and members will serve as mentors and discussion leaders during the week.

e. Faculty: Faculty shall consist of judges and retired judges (as defined in Section III.B.1.f.) and law professors. Additionally, faculty representing other appropriate disciplines may be utilized upon the recommendation of the planning committee, the Committee on Education and with the approval of the Supreme Court. Faculty shall be selected based on their expertise in the subject matter and ability to prepare and present educational material effectively.

f. Reading Materials: Faculty are strongly encouraged to provide reading and reference materials. The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts shall work with all faculty members to ensure that the materials are prepared or adapted specifically for the Academy.

5. Faculty Development

The Committee on Education, in coordination with the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, promotes the highest standards of teaching excellence. Faculty Development Seminars will provide opportunities for judges who serve as faculty to improve their teaching skills by making them aware of adult learning principles and appropriate program development and teaching techniques. All judicial faculty will be strongly encouraged to attend faculty development programs conducted by the Committee on Education and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.

6. Judicial Benchbooks

The Committee on Education, the Administrative Office, and other Supreme Court Committees as charged by the Court, shall coordinate the preparation, production and updates of comprehensive reference materials in the form of Benchbooks for Illinois judges regarding a range of topics and procedures. The Benchbooks are available digitally and as hard bound books. The following Benchbooks are currently available: Civil Law and Procedure, Criminal Law and Procedure, Domestic Violence, DUI/Traffic, Evidence, Family Law and Procedure, and Juvenile Justice (Volumes I and II).

7. Other Judicial Education Services

a. Resource Lending Library

(1) The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts shall maintain a resource lending library for utilization by the Illinois judiciary. The library shall contain copies of reading materials developed by the Illinois Judicial Conference, recordings developed for Illinois judicial education, and publications and materials from other sources that are of interest to Illinois judges.

(2) The Administrative Office shall prepare a listing of all materials in all forms which it maintains in the resource lending library and shall update the list regularly. This listing of materials shall be made available to each Illinois judge.

b. Electronic Recording of Seminars

In consultation with the seminar faculty, the Committee on Education may annually select one or more seminars to be recorded. The recording will be made available on loan to judges. Whenever a seminar is recorded, the attendees will be notified in advance. No one other than staff of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts or other party authorized by the Supreme Court shall be allowed to bring any audio or video recording equipment into any program of the Illinois Judicial Conference.

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