Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Civility Initiatives: The 2008 Allerton House Conference

Illinois Bar Journal, Vol. 96, p. 636, 2008

Posted: 10 Dec 2008  

Jeffrey A. Parness

Northern Illinois University - College of Law

Date Written: December 10, 2008


The 2008 Allerton Conference of the Illinois State Bar Association was devoted to possible new civility/professionalism initiatives for civil litigation. In this paper the conference reporter summarizes the discussions and recommendations. Conference panelists addressed such topics as whether recent changes in legal practice have prompted greater incivility; who should promulgate any new initiatives; how to handle lawyers who act unprofessionally beyond disciplinary, sanction and malpractice proceedings; free speech rights and other constraints on new civility initiatives; and, expanded civility training for law students and new lawyers. At the close of the panels attendees were questioned about possible new civility initiatives.

Most attendees opined that no single entity (i.e., Supreme Court, Commission on Professionalism, local courts, state or local bar associations) should maintain exclusive, or even primary, responsibility. They supported additional statewide training for law students as well as new and experienced lawyers. There was strong support for expanding both law student certification standards and the mandated skills courses for all new lawyers in order to promote professional conduct. Finally, there was strong support for continuing with civility pledge opportunities as well as for establishing new intermediary programs for lawyers and judges who acted unprofessionally.

Keywords: Professionalism, Civil Litigation, Civility, Litigation Misconduct

Suggested Citation

Parness, Jeffrey A., Civility Initiatives: The 2008 Allerton House Conference (December 10, 2008). Illinois Bar Journal, Vol. 96, p. 636, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Jeffrey A. Parness (Contact Author)

Northern Illinois University - College of Law ( email )

Swen Parson Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views