Director of Innovation & the JEP
Jessica Bednarz is the Director of Innovation & the JEP for the CBF. Jessica directs special projects to advance innovation in the practice of law, including the CBA/CBF Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law & Innovation. Jessica is also responsible for leading and overseeing all activities of the Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP), a small business incubator for lawyers to start their own socially conscious and innovative law firms targeting low- and middle-income people and small businesses.
Prior to serving in this role, Jessica was the Director of Innovation & Training and the Program Manager for the CBF. As the Director of Innovation & Training, Jessica helped JEP lawyers chart new paths in the practice that made their services more accessible and affordable for the public. Jessica developed and managed the JEP curriculum and associated resources to help JEP lawyers fulfill this mission and identified and documented replicable models that proved successful. In her role as Program Manager, Jessica coordinated the CBF’s legislative and policy advocacy work, served as primary staff for the CBF Young Professionals Board, managed the day-to-day operations of the CBF Legal Aid Academy and the CBF Pro Bono Support Program, and worked on a number of JEP projects.
Prior to working at the CBF, Jessica was in private practice specializing in family law, both as a solo practitioner and as an associate at O’Connor Family Law, P.C. She later served as the MCLE Coordinator for The Chicago Bar Association.
Jessica earned her law degree from DePaul University College of Law, where she graduated cum laude and earned a Family Law Certificate. While at DePaul, she interned in the legal department at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, clerked for Judge Elizabeth Loredo Rivera in the Cook County Circuit Court, and was a law clerk for two family law firms.
Jessica served as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for four years, regularly volunteered at a local legal aid advice clinic, and served on the Young Professionals Board for the Legal Aid Society. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Utah Peoples’ Legal Services.
Jessica is originally from Fishers, Indiana and graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business. In her free time, she enjoys exploring different parts of the U.S. and world. She is also the Co-Founder of On Purpose Legal Network, On Purpose Legal Workshop and A Different Practice.