Last week, attorneys and staff members representing the CBA and CBF, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the American Bar Association traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in ABA Day, the ABA’s annual advocacy event in Washington. Each year, Congress considers legislation that impacts access to justice, the justice system, and the legal profession. That’s why it’s vital that leaders in our legal community in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois participate in ABA Day each year, cutting through the noise of other special interests and educating Congress on important issues impacting access to justice for Illinois residents. Proudly representing the CBF were CBF President Jesse H. Ruiz, Board of Directors member Paula Hudson Holderman, Advocacy Committee member Emily Roschek, Executive Director Bob Glaves, and Program Manager Jessica Bednarz.
This year our delegation met with counsel for both Illinois Senators and Representatives or legislative staff members from every Illinois Congressional district. We advocated on three important access to justice issues: Legal Services Corporation funding, funding for the federal judiciary, and over-incarceration; and two other significant issues impacting our profession: comprehensive immigration reform and burdensome tax reform proposals that could negatively affect law firms and other personal service businesses. A couple members of our group also were invited to attend a special White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice on Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday evening, our delegation joined other ABA Day participants for a reception and remarks by Justice Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court. Day three led off with an Illinois constituent breakfast hosted by our two Senators Durbin and Kirk. Unfortunately, Senator Kirk was unable to attend the breakfast this year, but Senator Durbin was able to provide us with an update on what was happening in Congress that week, as well as a lively Q & A session. Our delegation then stormed the Hill for the final time that week before heading back to Illinois.
This year’s trip was a great success for the CBF and for the many thousands of low-income and disadvantaged Illinois residents on whose behalf we advocate. Everyone was inspired by the process and pleased to see firsthand that our Illinois congressional delegation overall is very supportive of our key issues.
To learn more about ABA Day or how you can get involved in CBF advocacy work, please contact Jessica Bednarz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 554-4952.