Hundreds of lawyers, law students, and legal professionals came together during the 18th Annual CBA/CBF Pro Bono Week to celebrate the important pro bono work being done in our community and to learn more about new opportunities to make an impact in the months ahead. Whether you were able to participate in one of the events or not, as detailed below there are many ways you can get involved right now and make a difference, and the CBF is here to help.
This year’s Pro Bono Week was co-chaired by Matthew Walsh of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP and Michael Stone of the Center for Disability & Elder Law. The programs and events centered around this year’s theme, Empowering People, Empowering Communities, which was also reflected in the many great pro bono articles and stories featured in a special edition of the CBA Record and in this year’s Pro Bono Week testimonials.
A big thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the 18th annual Pro Bono Week. Chicago was home to the nation’s first pro bono week and sparked what has now become a national celebration spearheaded by the American Bar Association each year. We are proud of this legal community which continues to set a great example for our colleagues throughout the county, and we hope this year’s Pro Bono Week inspired everyone to make pro bono work an integral part of both their own practice and the greater legal community.
Read on for a recap of this year’s activities and how you can get involved right now:
This year’s Pro Bono Week kicked off with a lunchtime CLE on Pro Bono in Communities. Panelists from the Center for Disability & Elder Law, the Legal Aid Society Communities Partnering 4 Peace Program, and the CBA’s Lawyers in the Classroom Program gave us a look into the impactful work their organizations participate in and how the legal community can get involved to be a part of that impact.
Missed the Action? Don’t worry!
Get involved with volunteer opportunities that were featured during Pro Bono Week:
- Center for Disability & Elder Law
- Legal Aid Society Communities Partnering 4 Peace Program
- CBA’s Lawyers in the Classroom Program
- Election Protection in Illinois and Indiana
Here are a few upcoming pro bono trainings to get you started:
- CVLS Seminar: What to know about the migrant displacement: Recent actions by TX, FL, and AZ moving migrants to “Sanctuary Cities” November 2nd, 12 PM – 1 PM
- CVLS Seminar: A Guardian’s Duty to Pursue Benefits: Medicaid Planning in Guardianship November 9th, 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
- Legal Aid Chicago’s Veteran’s Rights Training November 10th, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
- NIJC’s Fall Pro Bono Asylum Training, November 15th, 11 AM – 2 PM
The CBF is always here to help you find and connect with pro bono that is meaningful to you. Check out our online Pro Bono Opportunities Guide.
On Monday evening, guests gathered at Revolution Brewing for a special story slam event, Justice: An Evening of Stories and Community, once again emceed by the incomparable Angela Vigil of Baker & McKenzie. Brave storytellers from our pro bono and legal aid community, including our Pro Bono Week Co-Chairs, made us laugh, made us cry, and inspired us to follow their impressive examples in the coming year.
Carrying the momentum from the previous day, attorneys from Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Kirkland & Ellis LLP spoke on a very timely topic at Tuesday afternoon’s CLE program on Voting Rights & Election Protection. Not only did everyone learn about the history of voting rights and the state of the law in Illinois and Indiana, but they also heard about pro bono and volunteer opportunities people can get involved in right now surrounding the upcoming midterm elections on November 8th.
Finally, on Thursday evening, the week’s events closed out with a full house for the 29th Annual Pro Bono & Community Service Fair, presented by the CBF and the CBA Young Lawyers Section and generously hosted by Kirkland and Ellis LLP. Participants met with representatives from 30 of Chicago’s pro bono, community service, and youth mentoring organizations. Attendees were able to connect right there with volunteer opportunities suited to their interests, skills, and experience while networking with like-minded professionals.