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October 12, 2018

Investing in Illinois’ Legal Aid Attorneys: The 2006 Recruitment & Retention Report

At the turn of the 21st century, a problem that had been simmering for many years exploded—law student debt had become a serious burden to lawyers pursuing legal aid or other public service jobs. Law school tuitions had skyrocketed, and legal aid salaries had not kept pace with this rising law school debt or private […]

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October 12, 2018

Clearing Voting Barriers for Chicagoans with Disabilities

Imagine you are excited about casting your ballot on Election Day and are turned away simply because you have a disability. Or imagine having to cast your ballot where other voters can see exactly how you vote.

Cynthia, a voter with a disability, was unable to use the accessible electronic voting machine at her polling place because the election judges did not know how to operate it. She was forced to cast her ballot sitting at a table in plain view of other voters with absolutely no privacy. Her only other option was to not vote at all. Cynthia’s experience illustrates the type of barriers people with disabilities routinely face when they seek to vote but are denied access to the election process.

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October 11, 2018

Following in the Pro Bono Footsteps of Edward Lewis

Erin McCloskey Maus receives the 2011 Lewis Award from Co-Chair Stephanie Scharf

Edward J. Lewis II was, and continues to be, an inspiration to our entire legal community. Prior to his death at age 37, Edward had completed over 2,000 pro bono hours and inspired dozens of fellow attorneys at Jenner & Block to get […]

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October 9, 2018

The Illinois State Government’s Conduit for Access to Justice

“Equal justice is a basic right that is fundamental to democracy in this State, and the integrity of this State and this State’s justice system depends on protecting and enforcing the rights of all people.”

That is the opening paragraph for the Illinois Equal Justice Act, which the Illinois General Assembly passed in 1999 with broad […]

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October 4, 2018

From Zero to Two Million and Counting

Back in 1999, when the initial conversations that led to what is now Illinois Legal Aid Online began, the idea that people would have access to and use the Internet to get legal information and resources—particularly low-income and disadvantaged people—was considered questionable at best. While it is hard to imagine now when virtually everyone has […]

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October 4, 2018

CBF and Paladin Announce Groundbreaking New Partnership

The CBF is pleased to announce the launch of a new statewide pro bono website, the Online Pro Bono Opportunity Guide, a joint initiative with Paladin, a legal tech startup. The new pro bono portal matches the CBF’s acclaimed pro bono resources with Paladin’s groundbreaking platform to help attorneys find and connect with pro bono and legal aid organizations that are a good fit for their expertise, interest, and availability.

This dynamic resource lets all Illinois lawyers and legal professionals explore a comprehensive database of opportunities at pro bono and legal aid organizations across the state, and sign up to get involved. Users can sort through over 100 opportunities by area of law, type of client, or scope of work. The new site will also allow legal aid and pro bono organizations to update and add content in real-time to ensure that this is always the most current and comprehensive listing of pro bono opportunities in Illinois.

The CBF has long published a popular Pro Bono Opportunities Guide as a print publication to help lawyers find and connect to pro bono opportunities, and CBF staff with expertise on these issues helps facilitate these partnerships. This joint project between CBF and Paladin leverages that content and expertise to increase efficiency and accessibility.

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October 3, 2018

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (for Pro Bono)

It seems like every day and week is some quirky celebration these days. The first full week of March is National Procrastination Week. National Waffle Week falls from September 2nd-8th this year. September 19th is the fan-favorite International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Here at the CBF, our favorite, for the 14th year running, is […]

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September 28, 2018

Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same […]

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September 27, 2018

A Voice in the Court System for People without Lawyers

Pro se litigants may not have an advocate in the courtroom, but they have an advocate in the court system thanks to the efforts of the CBF and the Circuit Court of Cook County, who joined forces in 2009 to establish the Circuit Court Pro Se Advisory Committee.

The Committee works to improve coordination and effectiveness […]

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September 25, 2018

CBF Sun-Times Fellowship Gives a Lifeline to 50 Legal Aid Attorneys

In the past 15 years, cy pres awards directed to the CBF have made a tremendous impact in our work to make the justice system more fair and efficient for all. One award gave the CBF the opportunity to launch the groundbreaking, 10-year CBF Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellowship program, designed to help make it […]

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