The Illinois Supreme Court on Dec. 11 appointed O’Fallon attorney John Kujawski to the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.
“I received a phone call from Justice Karmeier, and I was totally honored by his phone call,” Kujawski said. “It was a unanimous appointment by the Illinois Supreme Court and I’m honored and touched that they would think enough of me to put me on this committee.”
Kujawski said that he hasn’t met with the committee yet, but is eager to learn more once he has attended a few meetings, and is looking forward to serving on the commission to help achieve the goals the commission sets out to accomplish.
“I plan to express my views with candor and energy,” he said.
The Commission's purpose is “to promote a culture of civility and inclusion, in which Illinois lawyers and judges embody the ideals of the legal profession in service to the administration of justice in our democratic society.”
Kujawski is the founding member of Kujawski Marcus LLC in O’Fallon and has been practicing law since 1973. He co-founded the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys (ARLA), which is a national association of plaintiffs' attorneys who represent injured railroad workers, and is a past president of the association. He is also a former commissioner for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) and a current member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 520.
Kujawski said that he believes the experience he has gained over the years will help him contribute to the vision the commission has of bringing about a positive change in how lawyers interact with the public and with the court system.
“I’ve tried a lot of cases and had a lot of clients. My practice is such that I practice in about 15 different states. So I’m exposed to attorneys and judges from not just Illinois, but from around the country. So I have a pretty rich background in just meeting all kinds of people and being in all kinds of situations, which I think is a good background,” Kujawski said.
The Commission on Professionalism aims to promote greater integrity, professionalism and civility among lawyers and judges, seeks to eliminate bias and divisiveness within the legal system, and is committed to ensuring the people of Illinois are served effectively, efficiently and fairly by the legal and judicial systems of the state. The Commission also seeks to connect the various members of the legal profession with one another to achieve a greater sense of purpose and reward in the profession.
Some of the duties placed on the Commission are: creating and compiling resources that promote professionalism and making them readily available to legal professionals; working on professional programs with law schools; and promoting cooperation within the various divisions of the legal profession on professionalism, ethics and public understanding of the legal system.
“I think the committee work is really important,” Kujawski said. “Whether you’re a plaintiffs’ lawyer, a defense lawyer, a corporate lawyer, or if you work in legal aid -- I think it’s really critical that the way people see lawyers is uplifted, and the way lawyers interact with each other is uplifted,” he said.
The Commission on Professionalism consists of law school faculty, judges, lawyers and non-lawyers appointed to volunteer service by the Illinois Supreme Court. The commissioners serve a three-year term.