Fulfilling Your Responsibility as a Trustee of the Justice SystemNovember 4, 2014
CBF Report October 2014
Fulfilling Your Responsibility as a Trustee of the Justice System
Time, Money, and Influence
By Bob Glaves | CBF Executive Director
While we all get called on to support a lot of causes, the justice system is our home turf as lawyers and legal professionals. Wherever you are in the legal community, you are a trustee of the justice system, and it is our common cause to make sure the system is fair and accessible for all people regardless of their income or circumstances.
For too many people today the justice system is falling short of our nation’s ideals. About 700,000 low-income people in the Chicago area are expected to encounter a legal problem this year, yet fewer than half of them will be able to access legal help because there aren’t enough pro bono and legal aid resources to go around. A growing number of moderate-income people are unable to find affordable legal help as well. The net result is that many thousands of people in our community are left without the assistance they need to fairly and effectively resolve their legal problems.Every day that goes by when people in our community can’t count on the justice system being fair and accessible, we lose a key part of who we are as a profession and as a country. You can take a concrete step to do something about that wherever you are in the legal community by contributing your time, your money, and your influence to advance our common cause. Some of us have more time to give than money, while for others the opposite is true. All of us have important influence in our networks, in the justice system, and in the policymaking process.
There are several great opportunities coming up over the next month for you to make a difference in each of these three ways. It all starts with CBA/CBF Pro Bono Week the week of October 20. There will be multiple opportunities to learn how you can use your time to make a difference, highlighted by the 21st Annual Pro Bono & Community Service Fair on October 23.
The following week, the CBF’s Justice Wednesday is a great opportunity to use your money to make a difference in this cause through your foundation, the CBF. Check out the sidebar with this article for more information. You also can contribute any time this fall to the CBF and the many outstanding pro bono and legal aid organizations serving our community. October is a great time to contribute, as you will be receiving your ARDC renewal forms soon, and you can include these donations on your reporting form.
Lastly, in late November the CBF will be hosting an advocacy workshop that will give you practical tips on how you can make a difference in this cause through the legislative and policy process. Watch for more details on that workshop at https://chicagobarfoundation.org/ and in upcoming CBA emails.
This summer, the CBF will formally launch the Justice Pledge, a leadership commitment to use your time, money and influence to advance the cause of making the justice system fair and accessible to all. We are looking for a few good men and women this fall to be the forerunners in this charge, 250 to be exact. If you are interested in being one of those leaders, take the pledge today!