Your Time

Lawyers and legal professionals have unique expertise to make the justice system fair and accessible to all. And for lawyers, being granted the exclusive privilege to practice law comes with a special responsibility to use those skills to help those who can’t afford our services. Other business partners of the legal community bring unique skills to the table to advance this cause as well.

There are three distinct ways you can make a difference with your time:


Pro Bono

Lawyers can do pro bono work by providing direct legal assistance to low-income and disadvantaged clients, and by providing representation to organizations that serve those clients or advance the larger cause of making the justice system fair and accessible for everyone.

Learn how to get involved in pro bono


Leadership and Training

Another way that lawyers and legal professionals use their time to make a difference is by providing training and support to pro bono and legal aid lawyers and their organizations, and by serving on the board and in other leadership positions for those organizations or related initiatives.

You can provide training and support through the CBF Legal Aid Academy or directly through one of the many outstanding pro bono and legal aid organizations serving our community. That training often will qualify as pro bono services for purposes of the Illinois Supreme Court Pro Bono Reporting Rule.

You also can provide important leadership and support by serving on the board, auxiliary board or other advisory bodies of the pro bono and legal aid organizations serving our community, or serving on bar or court committees or similar initiatives that are focused on advancing access to justice. The process for getting involved in that way varies for each organization.


Other Law-Related Volunteering

One other way that lawyers and legal professionals contribute their unique experience and expertise is by volunteering in other law-related efforts that build awareness of access to justice issues. Examples include teaching young people about the law through the Edward J. Lewis Lawyers in the Classroom or Street Law programs, or mentoring law students who are interested in legal aid and public service careers.

Help Make the Courts More User-Friendly and Accessible

The CBF works with the courts, the legal community, and pro bono and legal aid organizations to ensure that the courts are fair, accessible, and user-friendly for people without lawyers. Contact Kelly Tautges at ktautges@chicagobar.org or (312) 554-8356 to get involved with the CBF’s work on these issues. Volunteers may serve on an advisory committee, help evaluate and research relevant issues, or connect with the CBF’s partners in this work for other kinds of service, including volunteering at court-based advice desks.

A list of some of the court-based help desks that provide legal advice or legal information is available here or in the CBF Guide to Pro Bono Opportunities.

 


If you have questions or would like additional information about how you can use your time to advance the cause, contact Angela Inzano at the CBF at 312-554-4952 or ainzano@chicagobar.org.