printing Print

The site you are about to visit contain(s) information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. These links are provided for the user’s convenience.

The U.S. District Court of Northern District of Illinois does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information; nor does it control or guarantee the on-going availability, maintenance, or security of these internet sites.

Further, the inclusion of links is not intended to reflect their importance or to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.



LR83_11. Trial Bar
Local Rule

(a) Definitions. The following definitions shall apply to this rule:

(1)  The term "testimonial proceedings" refers to proceedings that meet all of the  following criteria:

(A ) they are evidentiary proceedings in which all testimony is given under oath and a record is made of the testimony;

(B)  the witness or witnesses are subject to cross-examination;

(C ) a presiding judge or administrative law judge is present;

(D ) the parties to such proceedings are represented by attorneys; and

(E)   where a proceeding is held before an administrative agency, the findings and determinations of the agency are based upon the record and are reviewable for sufficiency of evidence by a court of record.

Procedures limited to taking the deposition of a witness do not constitute testimonial proceedings for the purposes of this rule.

(2)   The term "qualifying trial" refers to an evidentiary proceeding that meets the following criteria:

(A ) it lasts at least one day;

(B)  it is a trial or hearing that involves substantial testimonial proceedings going to the merits; and

(C)   it is held in open court before one of the following: a district judge or magistrate judge of a United States district court; a judge of a United States bankruptcy court; a judge of the United States Tax Court; a judge of a trial court of record of a state, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States; or any administrative law judge.

(3)   The term "participation units" shall mean a qualifying trial in which the petitioner participated as the lead counsel or the assistant to the lead counsel.


(4)   The term "observation unit" shall mean a qualifying trial that the petitioner observed while  being supervised by a supervising attorney who consulted with the petitioner about the trial. At the time of the observation the supervising attorney must either be a member of the trial bar of this Court or have had previous trial experience equivalent to at  least 4 participation units.


(5)   The term "simulation unit" shall mean a trial advocacy program in which the focus is experiential, as contrasted to lecture, in which the petitioner satisfactorily participated either as a law school or a continuing legal education course.


(6)   The term "training unit of the District Court" shall mean a training seminar officially sanctioned by the Court (including, for example Pavey hearings on the administrative exhaustion defense to a prisoner case, or "EAR" hearings for early resolution of prisoner conditions-of-confinement claims).


(7)   The term "qualifying unit of trial experience" shall include any of the following: participation units, observation units, simulation units, or training units. A petitioner

shall be credited for units of trial experience as follows:

(A)  for each participation unit, 2 units where the trial lasted 5 days or less, 3 units where the trial lasted from 6 to 10 full days, and 4 units where the trial lasted 11 or more full days;

(B) for each observation unit, 1 unit;

      (C) for one allowable simulation unit, 2 units; and

      (D) for each training unit of the District Court, 1 unit.

(8)  The term "required trial experience" shall mean not less than 4 qualifying units of trial  experience no more than 2 of which may be simulation units.


(b)   Qualifications. An applicant for admission to the trial bar of this Court must be a member in  good standing of the general bar of this Court, must be a certified e-filer, must provide evidence of having the required trial experience, and must be sponsored by one current member of the trial bar who has known the applicant for at least one year and can attest to his/her competence. An attorney seeking admission to the trial bar who is not a member of the  bar of this Court may apply for admission to both bars simultaneously. Trial bar membership must be renewed every three years as set forth in section (i).


(c)    Petition Form. The Executive Committee will approve a form of petition to be used by  anyone applying for admission to the trial bar. Copies of the approved form will be provided on  request by the clerk.


(d)   Screening the Petition. The Clerk, under the supervision of the Executive Committee, will  screen each petition to assure that it is filed on the correct form, has been completed, and  contains sufficient information to establish that the petitioner meets the qualifications required  for the trial bar. Where these requirements are met, an indication to that effect will be placed on  the petition and the petitioner will be notified that the petition is approved. Where the  requirements are not met, the petition will be returned to the applicant with appropriate  instructions.


(e)    Admission Fee. Each petitioner shall pay an admission fee upon the filing of the petition, subject to refund, should the petitioner not be admitted. The amount of the fee shall be established by the court. The Clerk shall deposit the fee in the District Court Fund.


(f)     Duty to Maintain Contact Information. Every member of the trial bar must maintain current contact information (street address, telephone number, and e-mail address) with the Clerk, and must adivse the Clerk within 30 days of any change.

(g)    Duty to Supervise. Every member of the trial bar shall be available to be assigned by the  court to supervise attorneys who are in the process of obtaining observation units needed to  qualify for membership in the trial bar. Such assignments shall be made in a manner so as to  allocate the responsibility imposed by this rule equally among all members of the trial bar.


(h)   Duty to Accept Assignments. Each member of the trial bar shall be available for assignment  by the court to represent or assist in the representation of those who cannot afford counsel.


(i)        Renewal. Membership in the trial bar must be renewed every three years. An applicant for renewal must complete a Trial Bar Membership Renewal Form. The renewal fee shall be one-half of the current fee for admission to the trial bar. An attorney who does not renew his/her membership within one month of the expiration of the three-year anniversary date of admission to the trial bar will be deemed to have withdrawn.


(j)     Withdrawal from Trial Bar. A member of the trial bar may, on motion for good cause  shown, voluntarily withdraw from said bar. Such motion shall be filed with the Clerk for  presentation to the Executive Committee. Where the motion to withdraw is made by a member of  the current pro bono panel (LR83.35(b), the name of the attorney will be removed from the pro bono panel if  the motion is granted.


(k)   Reinstatement Any attorney who has withdrawn from membership in the trial bar pursuant to  section (i) but wishes to be reinstated must file a petition for reinstatement with the clerk for  presentation to the Executive Committee. Where the attorney was a member of a pro bono panel at the time the petition to withdraw was filed, the petition for reinstatement shall include a  statement indicating the attorney’s present willingness and ability to accept an assignment under LR83.35 through LR83.41. If the committee grants the motion in such an instance, it shall direct  that the attorney be included in the pro bono panel and remain there for one year or until the attorney is assigned, whichever comes first.


Amended May 27, 2015, June 29, 2015  and December 23, 2016 




Note: The court does not control nor can it guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this information. Neither is it intended to endorse any view expressed nor reflect its importance by inclusion in this site.
#Rule ID93