Our Blog


July 26, 2017

Stand Up for Justice

As we got ready to honor eight truly outstanding lawyers at this year’s CBA and CBF’s Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon, I found some inspiration for my closing remarks while watching Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, where they once again took a break in the middle of the game for Stand up to Cancer.

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July 26, 2017

CBF Welcomes New Board President and Members

The CBF is excited to welcome Terrence J. Dee  as our 36th Board President for the 2017-2018 term. A Partner at McDermott Will & Emery, Terry focuses his practice on product liability, class action, trade secrets, and other complex litigation. He has tried cases in federal and state courts throughout the country, including Illinois, Ohio, Washington, DC, Maryland, Arizona and Missouri, and has handled numerous commercial arbitrations.

Terry is also strongly committed to the cause of equal access to justice. He has served on the CBF board since 2011 where he has particularly played a lead role in the CBF’s development efforts, and also served on the board of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. His dedication puts him in an excellent position to continue advancing the CBF’s mission, especially following an impactful year under outgoing CBF President Chuck Smith’s exemplary leadership.

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July 18, 2017

Honoring Careers of Dedication and Service

Eight attorneys recognized for outstanding work at the CBA and CBF Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon

Eight unsung heroes in the legal profession were recognized and celebrated for their extraordinary service to the community at the CBA and CBF’s 19th Annual Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon on July 17, 2017.

About 700 people attended this year’s event held at the Fairmont Hotel Chicago, co-chaired by David Bamlango, a partner at DLA Piper LLP (US), and Susan L. Lees, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Allstate Insurance Company.

This year’s award recipients were recognized for their unflagging commitment to advancing access to justice and inspiring others to do likewise.

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June 27, 2017

Put Yourself in Your Own Shoes

When it comes to improving access to justice, one of the most important things we can do as a profession is to put ourselves in the shoes of our clients and potential clients. Looking at things through the lens of our customers opens the door to a myriad of ideas for improving how our profession markets and delivers legal services and revamping the design and operation of the court system. In many ways though, we only need to put ourselves in our own shoes and look in the mirror to see how we can do better.

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June 26, 2017

Investing in Justice Campaign Sets New Records, Leverages Hundreds of Thousands More

The 2017 CBF Investing in Justice Campaign set new records in individual donations while raising awareness and critical funding for pro bono and legal aid services in the Chicago area. 153 law firms, corporate legal departments and other law-related organizations participated in this year’s Campaign, which was chaired by Jesse H. Ruiz, partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. Nearly 5,100 individual attorneys and legal professionals contributed more than $1.51 million, both the highest amounts in the Campaign’s 11-year history.

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June 26, 2017

Removing Barriers for People with Disabilities

Access Living was founded in 1980 as one of the nation’s first ten Centers for Independent Living (CILs). The organization’s goal is simple: to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as those without disabilities to conduct lives of dignity and independence. With departments specializing in independent living skills, advocacy, and legal services, Access Living provides a unique combination of assistance in championing the rights and empowerment of people with disabilities. Access Living is the only CIL that has a Legal Services Program, and it is this impactful program that you support through the Investing in Justice Campaign.

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June 23, 2017

New LSC Study on the Justice Gap

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) released a comprehensive new study last week that shows the number of low-income Americans in need of legal help far exceeds the legal aid services available to help them. We encourage you to continue reaching out to Senators Durbin and Duckworth and your member of Congress to thank them for their continued support of strong funding for LSC.

Take Action

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June 16, 2017

CARPLS Hotline

Interested in non-litigation pro bono work with flexible day and evening training/volunteer options? CARPLS, the Cook County legal aid hotline, offers the majority of its training online, and the next in-person portion will be offered on July 12 at 10am, 2pm, or 5:30pm. No experience is required and attendees will receive CLE credit.

Register/Learn More

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May 25, 2017

Another Self-Inflicted Barrier to Access to Justice: The Rules Governing Lawyer Marketing and Advertising

Many thousands of Illinoisans who need or would benefit from legal assistance and can afford to pay something aren’t getting it. They often don’t recognize their problem as a legal one, and when they do, they too often don’t know where to go for quality legal help or whether it would be a cost-effective solution for them. At the same time, we have more lawyers than ever before, most of whom have capacity and interest in helping more paying clients. In economics, this is called a market failure, and our profession is compounding this failure by unnecessarily restraining market forces from fixing the problem.

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May 24, 2017

First Defense Legal Aid Helps Close a Key Gap in Access to Justice on the Criminal Side of the System

When someone gets arrested, the first 48 hours can be a critical time. During this period, police officers have access to any number of resources that detainees may not, including access to the State’s Attorney for legal counsel. Low-income detainees, on the other hand, rarely have legal representation at this point and often don’t understand all of their rights in what can be a very intimidating situation for them.

In Illinois, people who are arrested and need legal counsel but cannot afford it have to wait until a hearing from a judge to have a public defender appointed for them. The problem, however, is that this appointment can take 48-72 hours to take place and happens usually after the arrestee has been formally charged. When looking at the numbers, this lack of legal help for detainees is striking. In 2016, only 1% of almost 87,000 people arrested and in the custody of the Chicago Police Department had access to an attorney.

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