This month, the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project brought seven motivated attorneys into the program, starting them on a path towards establishing and operating innovative and affordable law firms. The new JEPers join a network of over 50 alumni and current participants who are still on that path. For the thirteenth time, CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves kicked off the JEP boot camp week of trainings. He set the tone for eighteen months of forward-looking, thoughtful programming put together by the JEP Director of Innovation & Training Jessica Bednarz and facilitated by an outstanding roster of experts and educators who donate their time to support JEPers’ development.
Though the JEP has reached its teens, true to its credo of doing things differently this thirteenth cohort features some firsts for the program. For the first time, a JEP network firm will be founded to work exclusively on issues related to criminal records. Courtney Kelledes and Nikki Donnelley will use skills developed on staff at CBF partner Cabrini Green Legal Aid, as well as new skills and connections created at JEP residency pro bono placements with LAF and the Legal Aid Society, respectively, to launch that records-focused firm and help clients after involvement with the justice system. In another first, Michael Norton will build a firm focused on efficiently addressing traffic tickets. He will work as a pro bono resident at Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing to bolster his tech acumen and experience in the Daley Center.
Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, the go-to placement for JEP family law attorneys, will host January Stramaglia and Chelsea Herring for sixteen hours each week over the next six months. Mahdis Azimi will complete her pro bono residency at the National Immigrant Justice Center to strengthen her network and skillset as she grows her immigration practice. Rounding out the cohort, Mitha Rao will work with the Center for Disability and Elder Law to lay the foundation for a practice that helps elderly folks with estate planning and offers aid in instances of abuse.
We’re excited to welcome these seven fantastic attorneys into the JEP family. Please say hello and wish them well if and when you see them around!