A Changing of the Guard at Illinois JusticeCorps

It is an exciting time for Illinois JusticeCorps, with the program expanding into more courthouses around the state, a new Program Manager starting at the CBF as part of that expansion, and a new class of JusticeCorps fellows coming on board for the new year as our prior fellows class moves on to the next stage of their careers. JusticeCorps recruits college students and recent graduates to serve as courthouse guides for people without lawyers, helping them to navigate the court system by providing procedural information, referrals to legal aid, and assistance with filling out and filing court documents.

As part of the expansion of IllinoisJusticeCorps to additional courthouses around the state, Mercedes Boykin, who has been the CBF Program Manager for Illinois JusticeCorps the past two years, is leaving for a new role. Fortunately, Mercedes is not going too far! She will continue to work with Illinois JusticeCorps as a Program Manager for the northwestern part of the state and will be working with our program partner, the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF). We are excited for Mercedes to continue her good work with Illinois JusticeCorps closer to her home near Rockford. Good luck, Mercedes!

With Mercedes transitioning to this new role, Jessica Uwamusi joined the CBF staff in August 2023 as the new CBF Program Manager for Illinois JusticCorps. In this role, Jessica is responsible for overseeing all Illinois JusticeCorps operations for the Circuit Court of Cook County, including the Daley Center and suburban district courthouses. Prior to joining the CBF, Jessica obtained a Master of Laws from the University of Illinois College of Law, during which she served in several school leadership positions and received recognition for her academic performance. Before getting her LLM, Jessica obtained a Barrister of Law at the Nigerian Law School and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Benin in Edo, Nigeria. Welcome, Jessica!

It is also the time of year when another amazing group of Illinois JusticeCorps fellows have completed their terms of service and move on to the next phase of their careers. These four fellows have dedicated the past year to helping people in need and have played a key role in the CBF’s larger efforts to make the court system more user-friendly and accessible for the growing number of people without lawyers. We are thankful to be able to work with such passionate and strong individuals for the past year and hope they find all the success they deserve as they move forward with their careers.

Ah’Shaiyah Mitchell will be participating in the Language and Culture Assistants Program in Spain as an English language teaching assistant in a K-12 school for a school year.

Austin Nagel is starting his first year of law school at Northwestern University School of Law.

Haily Buckman wants to continue working in the public interest legal sector and is pursuing a paralegal position at a legal aid organization.

Nene Elliott plans to pursue a career in the juvenile justice field in Chicago and has recently accepted a position that will help her begin that journey.