Pro Bono Week 2017 – For the Sake of the Community

The CBA and CBF’s 13th Annual Pro Bono Week featured a number of successful programs and events that underscored this year’s theme, For the Sake of the Community.  Jan Feldman, Executive Director of the Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and Trisha M. Rich, an attorney at Holland & Knight LLP, co-chaired this year’s Pro Bono Week that kicked off on October 23rd. Hundreds of lawyers and other legal professionals in Chicago came together to celebrate the important pro bono work being done in our community and to learn about additional opportunities to make an impact through pro bono in the year ahead.

Monday kicked off with a panel CLE presentation hosted by Ropes & Gray LLP, Community Development through Pro Bono, about the ways in which transactional pro bono work can benefit nonprofits, small businesses, and social entrepreneurs and positively transform our communities. The informative and inspirational conversation was followed by a reception to kick off the Week’s festivities.

Tuesday evening, we gathered at Revolution Brewing for a special story slam event, Justice: An Evening of Stories and Community, emceed by Ben Weinberg from Dentons US LLP and Candace Moore from the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Nine incredible storytellers inspired us, made us laugh, and brought us together as a pro bono and legal aid community.

Inspired by Monday and Tuesday’s programs, we heard the business case for pro bono at Wednesday’s CLE panel program: How Pro Bono Contributes to a Successful Career, and equipped ourselves to better represent our clients at Friday’s standing room only program, Effective Representation of Individuals with Mental Health Conditions, hosted over lunch by Holland & Knight LLP.

On Thursday, more than 300 people attended the 23rd Annual Pro Bono & Community Service Fair generously hosted by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. At the Fair, which again was presented by the CBA Young Lawyers Section, participants met with representatives from over 40 of Chicago’s pro bono, community service, and mentoring organizations, and found volunteer opportunities suited to their interests, skills, and experience while networking with likeminded professionals.

Feeling left out? Don’t worry!

  • All CLE programming from the week will be archived for free viewing anytime on the CBA website.
  • You can read about, or watch, just a handful of the many great pro bono stories in our community as they are told through articles and stories in the CBA Record and the Pro Bono Week testimonials.
  • The CBF is always here to help you find and connect with pro bono that is meaningful to you. Check out our recently updated Pro Bono Opportunities Guide, and you can always contact the CBF Pro Bono Support Program by emailing or calling Angela Inzano (ainzano@chicagobar.org or 312-554-4952).

Thanks to all who contributed to the success of the 13th annual Pro Bono Week. Chicago’s legal community continues to set a great example for our colleagues throughout the country in the birthplace of what has now become a national celebration. Most importantly, we hope that the Week’s events have inspired everyone to recommit themselves to making pro bono work an integral part of both their practice and the overall justice system.