Our Blog


March 27, 2019

Uber, Taxis and the Legal Market

Take a trip down bad memory lane to about ten years ago when you needed to get a cab but were not in a place where taxis tend to be plentiful on the street. Remember what that was like?

Hold that thought for a moment, and now think of what it is like today for someone who is looking for a lawyer and doesn’t know where to turn. While it is sure to get most lawyers upset to be compared to the taxi industry, the similarities in these two market failures are striking. We can write a different script for what happens in the legal market but need to start now.

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February 27, 2019

What Are We Selling?

It seems a simple question to ask, but one we do not think enough about in law and too often answer incorrectly. Getting that answer right is the first essential step towards carrying out my New
Year’s Resolution for 2019
for the legal profession to tackle our affordability problem for everyday people.

Two recent commentaries in the New York Times and the Atlantic challenge us to re-examine our profession’s longstanding assumptions on this question, and offer a good jumping off point for discussion.

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February 27, 2019

Leading the Way to a Justice System that Works for Everyone

Justice is a simple concept. Even very young children understand the basic concept of fairness. But getting to justice can be anything but simple. Ensuring that everyone has equal access to the justice system is a fight that happens on many fronts—from the courts to the pro bono and legal aid organizations, law firms and […]

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February 26, 2019

Limited Scope. (Almost Boundless Opportunity)

The American Bar Association recently featured an article touting the potential “win-win” benefits of limited scope representation in the January/February 2019 issue of its GPSolo magazine. The article was penned by CBF Director of Innovation & Training Jessica Bednarz and CBF Director of Pro Bono & Court Advocacy Samira Nazem.  They highlight that the […]

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February 7, 2019

Gaining Hope and Healing Thanks to Legal Aid

Each year, Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (DVLC) helps hundreds of domestic violence survivors break the cycle of domestic violence, helping survivors escape the isolation of abuse and regain control of their lives. Edith is one of the many survivors who show up at DVLC’s office every day seeking to keep themselves and their children safe.

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February 1, 2019

A Heartfelt Thanks to Lisa Madigan and Her Team at the Office of the Attorney General

Public officials at all levels of government play a critical role in the fight to ensure access to justice for all, and we have been fortunate in Illinois to have a number of exemplary elected officials from both sides of the aisle as partners.

Some officials really stand out for their leadership in the cause, […]

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February 1, 2019

A Make or Break Issue for Access to Justice

Whether an issue is a challenge or an opportunity is often simply a matter of perception. As Winston Churchill once put it, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” Over the CBF’s first 70 years, we have taken pride in confronting challenges head on and converting them into opportunities, and that has led to a number of significant innovations and long-term improvements in access to justice.

But sometimes an issue really is both a challenge and an opportunity at the same time. There is one such issue for access to justice looking ahead, a central one where our legal community will need to lead the way in striking the right balance if we are to reach the ultimate goal of a legal system that is truly fair and accessible for all.

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January 28, 2019

Civil Rights Pro Bono Opportunities

Did you know that each month the CBF’s online pro bono guide features one spotlight opportunity? This month you can learn more about how you can help the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights combat housing discrimination in both a discreet clinic setting and through further representation in filing administrative complaints.

See More Civil Rights Opportunities […]

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January 17, 2019

Steeped in History But Forward-Looking: Making the Courts Work for Everyone

Courts are, by design, backward-looking institutions. Lawyers and judges rely on case law from bygone decades. Clerks hand out paper forms sprinkled with ancient Latin phrases. The black robes, the gavels, and the rituals are steeped in history and tradition.

By choice, however, courts can also be forward-looking institutions. A foundational role in American society does […]

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January 14, 2019

Justice for All and the Critical Role of Advocacy

Over the CBF’s first 70 years, advocacy at the federal, state and local levels has been a central part of our overall efforts to improve access to justice and make the legal system more fair and accessible for all. It has been quite a ride and has made a real difference, growing each year and with each new challenge.

So, what’s next, and why is it going to be even more important going forward?

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