Our Blog


February 23, 2018

Top Ten Reasons the Billable Hour Needs to Go

The billable hour continues to be a significant and self-inflicted barrier to access to justice. Whatever its merits may be in the corporate market, for low and moderate-income individuals and small businesses the billable hour makes legal services less affordable and accessible because it lacks transparency and certainty and misaligns incentives for efficiency, innovation, and value.

Albert Einstein said “If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend the first 55 minutes defining the problem and 5 minutes finding the solution.” Here are my top 10 reasons the billable hour is a problem for access to justice.

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February 17, 2018

CBF Receives ABA Louis Brown Award for Legal Access

The CBF was honored to receive this year’s Louis Brown Award for Legal Access from the American Bar Association at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting earlier this month.

The Brown Award is an annual award presented by the ABA to programs and projects “that advance access to legal services for those of moderate incomes in ways that are exemplary and replicable.”

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February 15, 2018

JEPY Award Voting Underway, Legal Service Delivery Innovation Award Hotly Contested

The Second Annual JEPY Awards Ballot is live through Sunday, February 26. Votes are being cast for six categories ahead of the February 26th Awards Ceremony.

Voting has begun for the JEPY Awards, the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project’s annual event recognizing achievement in bringing affordable legal services to the masses and celebrating innovative and community focused practices.

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February 14, 2018

Breaking Poverty Barriers To Equal Justice

Join the CBA’s Legal Aid Committee on Tuesday, March 6th at 3pm for a multimedia, interactive video and panel CLE presentation designed to help legal professionals better understand the life circumstances and day-to-day challenges of their clients who are experiencing poverty. Expert panelists will provide practical strategies to help legal professionals communicate more effectively with their clients and improve client services and case outcomes. Attendees will receive 2.75 PR-CLE credits.

Register/Learn More

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January 25, 2018

A Bittersweet End, A Solid Model for the Future

In the ongoing budget saga for the Cook County government, one of the unfortunate casualties has been the Circuit Court Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program, which officially ended in December when its funding was not renewed.

While there is no doubt the current budget challenges facing the County in the aftermath of its recent “soda tax” debacle are real, eliminating this successful program is a shortsighted move that will end up costing the County much more than it would to fund the program at its prior 2017 level. As we continue to evaluate whether there are other potential County funding options to restart the program, looking back on what made the program most effective over the past 7+ years offers a good model for developing effective court-based programs going forward.

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January 24, 2018

Rebecca Eisner to Chair 2018 Investing in Justice Campaign

Rebecca Eisner, Partner-in-Charge of Mayer Brown’s Chicago office, will lead the CBF’s 12th Annual Investing in Justice Campaign. The Campaign is the CBF’s annual initiative that rallies Chicago’s entire legal community around our common cause of ensuring that everyone has access to necessary legal help, not just people who can afford it. This year’s Campaign will kick off on March 5th and run throughout the month. Thousands of individual lawyers and legal professionals at more than 150 Chicago-area law firms, corporate legal departments, companies, and other-law related organizations again will be part of the Campaign.

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January 23, 2018

Justice Entrepreneurs Project Accepting Applications

The Justice Entrepreneurs Project is seeking entrepreneurial and public interest-minded recent law graduates for its next class of lawyers who will begin the program in May 2018.

The JEP prepares talented and entrepreneurial lawyers in the Chicago area to manage innovative, socially conscious, and successful law practices. We believe in the power of entrepreneurial lawyers to make a difference as solo practitioners in the quest to ensure access to justice for all. And after welcoming ten cohorts into the JEP Network, we know it’s possible to do well while doing good. We’re excited to help the next generation of attorneys build businesses by meeting the needs of an untapped market for legal services.

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December 21, 2017

Maximize Your Year-End Charitable Giving

As 2017 comes to a close, many of us are taking out our checkbooks and making our end-of-year gifts to the charities we support. However, if you are considering a larger gift, a better strategy may be to put away your checkbook and pick up the phone to your financial advisor instead. With the stock market at an all-time high right now, a look at your entire financial picture may reveal that it’s more beneficial to your bottom line to give a gift of appreciated assets than to give cash.

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December 20, 2017

2018 New Year’s Resolution for the Legal Profession: Make it a Priority to Incorporate Technology Into Our Work, but Set Clearer Boundaries

Last year at this time, you may remember my new year’s resolution for our profession was to stop calling people non-lawyers, which sadly continues to be a problem and needs to carry forward as a 2018 resolution.

My new resolution for next year is that we as a profession make it a priority to catch up to the rest of the world in the way we use technology. But it comes with a critical corollary: wherever we are on the spectrum of technology adoption, we need to set much clearer boundaries so that technology doesn’t so overwhelm our lives that we lose what makes us uniquely valuable as professionals and people.

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December 14, 2017

Support the CBF with a Year-End Gift

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

That of course is the opening line of the Dickens classic, A Tale of Two Cities. It could also be a metaphor for the state of access to justice in 2017. We are getting dangerously close to a tale of two justice systems, one for those who can afford legal help and another for the growing numbers of people in our community who cannot.

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