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Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism

The Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, the first body of its kind in the nation, was created in 1989 by the Supreme Court of Georgia with the primary charge to enhance professionalism among Georgia's lawyers. In carrying out its charge, the Commission provides ongoing attention and assistance to the task of assuring that the practice of law remains a high calling, enlisted in the service of client and public good. Composed of representatives of the organized bar, practicing bar, judiciary, law schools and the public, the Commission serves as the institutional framework for sustaining an environment that fosters professionalism in the legal community. The Commission's work centers around:

  1. educational programming;
  2. periodic recommendations to the State Bar, the judiciary, and the law schools in Georgia; and
  3. coordination of professionalism activities of the organized bar, courts, law schools and law firms.

To further its charge, the Commission:

  1. Develops educational materials, law school curricula, and continuing legal and judicial education programs on the values of professionalism: competence, civility, legal ethics, integrity, commitment to the rule of law, to justice and to the public good;
  2. Administers the Professional Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirement, effective Jan. 1, 1990, by which the Supreme Court of Georgia mandated that each active member of the State Bar complete one hour of CLE annually on the topic of professionalism;
  3. Serves as a resource, archive and clearinghouse for exchange of information regarding professionalism initiatives past and present, local, national and international; and
  4. Provides guidance to professionalism movements in other jurisdictions, nationally and internationally.

The Commission's major activities are:

  1. Approval and oversight of more than 500 Professionalism Continuing Legal Education sessions annually
  2. Production of Professionalism CLE curricula and materials
  3. Continuing Judicial Education sessions on Professionalism
  4. Law School Orientations on Professionalism and Upper Level Law School Professionalism Programs
  5. Transition into Law Practice Program (statewide mandatory mentoring)
  6. Mentoring Programs: lawyer-to-lawyer and lawyer-to-law student
  7. Judicial District Professionalism Program
  8. Statewide Convocations on Professionalism
  9. Statewide Town Hall Meetings for lawyers and judges to address ethics and professionalism concerns
  10. Annual Statewide Community Service Awards
  11. Annual Law School Symposia on Ethics and Professionalism in the Practice of Law
  12. Resource for professionalism initiatives of lawyers, judges, law firms and bar associations in Georgia and other jurisdictions

Committee/Department/Office Interaction

  • Bench and Bar Committee, State Bar of Georgia
  • Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency
  • Committee on Professionalism, State Bar of Georgia
  • Committee on the Standards of the Profession, State Bar of Georgia
  • Communications Department, State Bar of Georgia
  • Consumer Assistance Program, State Bar of Georgia
  • Equal Justice Commission, Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution and Office of Dispute Resolution, Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Justice Robert Benham Community Service Awards Selection Committee, State Bar of Georgia
  • Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia (ICLE) and Institute of Continuing Judicial Education of Georgia (ICJE)
  • Law Practice Management Program, State Bar of Georgia
  • Lawyer Assistance Program, State Bar of Georgia
  • Local and Voluntary Bars Committee, State Bar of Georgia
  • Office of Bar Admissions
  • Pro Bono Resource Center, State Bar of Georgia
  • Transition Into Law Practice Program, State Bar of Georgia
  • Young Lawyers Division, State Bar of Georgia

Click here to view the 2009-11 Annual Report.

Changes to How Active Members of the State Bar will Pay the Professionalism Surcharge

The Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism was created in 1989 by the Supreme Court of Georgia to enhance professionalism among Georgia's lawyers and judges. Since 1998, a $15 per hour fee for each professionalism hour has been charged. On Feb. 16, 2018, the Commission changed the Supreme Court-mandated surcharge to a $15 per year fee for unlimited professionalism courses taken for CLE credit during a calendar year. The change will take effect for CLE courses taken on or after July 1, 2018. The Supreme Court-mandated professionalism surcharge shall be assessed annually on the State Bar of Georgia dues notice for all active members, so beginning this year, active members of the State Bar of Georgia will see the surcharge on their dues statement. You may read more about the change here. The Commission welcomes the opportunity to present professionalism programming and information on the change to the professionalism surcharge to local and voluntary bar associations and to State Bar sections. For more information or to arrange a presentation, please contact the Commission Executive Director Karlise Y. Grier at or 404-225-5040.


Now that the Commission has completed more than 20 years of operation, it has sustained a number of its initiatives and continues to expand its agenda.

  1. Guiding Principles
  2. Lawyer's Creed and Aspirational Statement on Professionalism
  3. Mission Statement
  4. Awareness
  5. Response to Georgia Professionalism Effort
  6. Continuing Legal Education
  7. Professionalism CLE Guidelines
  8. Description of Video/DVD-Based Programs Produced by the Commission
  9. Continuing Judicial Education
  10. Convocations on Professionalism
  11. Town Hall Meetings I
  12. Town Hall Meeting II
  13. Mentoring
  14. Law schools
  15. Annual Law School Symposia on Ethics and Professionalism in the Practice of Law
  16. Publications and Electronic Communication
  17. 150th Anniversary of the Supreme Court of Georgia
  18. Community and Public Service
  19. Judicial District Professionalism Program
  20. National Professionalism Movement
  21. Measuring Professionalism