On behalf of the Illinois Supreme Court, my colleagues and I extend to you our best wishes for Law Day 2022 as we reflect on the idea of “Building a More Perfect Practice of Law in Illinois.”
For more than two years now, the COVID pandemic has affected every facet of society, including our court system. Yet, it has also provided us with the opportunity to re-examine how our court system functions and dispenses justice.
Due to the pandemic, the court opened up new lines of communication with judges, stakeholders and the public — including the Illinois State Bar Association-sponsored Virtual Listening Tour. With the collaboration and cooperation of our judiciary and many newly created task forces, the Court rapidly generated many lasting and positive advances in the last two years.
One example is the Illinois Supreme Court’s Technology Modernization Program. Through this program, circuit court chief judges and administrators are working with the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts to identify the circuit courts’ technology needs and to assist them in obtaining funding for necessary upgrades.
With these upgrades, in conjunction with new Supreme Court rules permitting remote hearings in a number of contexts, we are revolutionizing the way that justice is dispensed in Illinois. We have come to realize that justice is not a place, but a service.
The improved technological capabilities of our courts and our new rules not only increase the overall efficiency of court operations, but also assist attorneys in their ability to provide services to their clients in a more cost-effective and efficient manner. This benefits both attorneys and their clients, and is especially important now that redistricting has greatly expanded the areas of the four judicial districts outside Cook County.
Attorneys and all court users will also benefit from the new Illinois Supreme Court Policy on Portable Electronic Devices in state courthouses, adopted in January of this year. This new policy permits the use of portable electronic devices — such as smart phones and tablets — permitting court users to work more productively.
The pandemic has been an enormous challenge. However, at least for our court system, it has been the challenge we needed.
Again, best wishes for this Law Day 2022!