Yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court announced changes to Rule 711 that explicitly permit qualified law students and graduates who have not yet been admitted to practice to provide ADR representation starting July 1, 2013. Consistent with previous requirements, law students and graduates will offer legal services with client consent, under attorney supervision. However, the revised rule allows law students and graduates to appear on behalf of clients in court-annexed arbitrations and mediations in Illinois courts and administrative tribunals, and to represent clients in nonlitigation matters. It also reduces the coursework required before applying for permission to provide services.
With this change, access to pro bono representation in ADR should become easier for clients in need, and law students and graduates will have more avenues to develop practical skills. Previously, law students and graduates interested in ADR could serve as neutrals, yet were not explicitly approved to represent clients in mediation and nonlitigation matters. Because the revisions include ADR representation on the list of permitted activities, this amendment opens up opportunities to help law students and graduates develop a strong foundation in ADR while providing essential legal services.