Our Blog


August 14, 2018

Seeding Innovation in the Practice of Law

Flash back to 2010, a time few of us would look back on fondly. Our legal community was in the full throes of the recession, with the job market for newer lawyers in tatters and more people than ever in need of legal help yet unable to get it.

Never let a good crisis go to waste was a quote often heard from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel around the time, and the CBF did not. The CBF saw a prime opportunity to tackle this growing dysfunction in the legal market and began the work that ultimately led to the launch of the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project in early 2013.

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August 10, 2018

CBF Grants: A Legacy of Impact

In the 70 years since its founding, the CBF has given out nearly $50 million in grants to support pro bono, legal aid and related initiatives, and more than $42 million since 1999.

Over that time, the CBF has honed its grantmaking focus around access to justice and expanded its grantmaking partnerships with other foundations, the courts, and government entities. More than 5,200 individual donors, more than 200 law firms, corporations and other law-related organizations, and the CBF’s many dedicated partners have enabled the CBF to increase our annual grants more than tenfold over the past 20 years. Today, the CBF awards over $2 million in grants, investing in the entire pro bono and legal aid system in our community.

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August 8, 2018

The CBF Marovitz Scholarship: Helping Future Legal Aid Leaders

“Everybody can’t do big things, but we all can do little things that help others.”

That phrase was one of the trademarks of the late Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, both in word and deed. Throughout his distinguished life and career, Judge Marovitz, or Judge Abe to the many who knew him, was a firm believer that financial need should not be a bar to dedicated young students who want to pursue careers in public service.

As we celebrate the CBF’s 70th Anniversary, we look back to a little thing Judge Marovitz did to help aspiring law students pursue their dreams of helping others–the CBF Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Public Interest Law School Scholarship. First awarded in 2004, the Marovitz Scholarship was made possible by a generous planned gift by Judge Marovitz.

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August 6, 2018

A Pro Bono Checklist for Success

A good pro bono program takes work to develop, maintain, and improve. It requires a lot of planning to ensure it meets the needs of the client population, fills a gap in existing resources, and incorporates feedback from all stakeholders. It should have clear criteria for screening cases and a plan for periodic review and adjustment to reflect changes in the community, the law, or the courts.

If that sounds like a lot to think about, that’s because it is. Fortunately, the CBF has created a tool to help organizations looking to establish new pro bono programs to think through these and the many other issues that are critical to designing and implementing a successful program.

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August 3, 2018

Young Professionals Dive in at the CBF

Young legal professionals today are busier than ever. Between balancing challenging work obligations and growing families, we’re grateful for the dedication of some of our best ambassadors:  the members of the CBF’s Young Professionals Board (YPB).

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August 2, 2018

CBA Legal Aid Committee: Sometimes You Want to Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Of the 100+ committees that the Chicago Bar Association provides, an attorney is sure to find a place to call home among like-minded professionals in their field. The legal aid community is no exception.

The CBF is proud to partner with and staff the CBA Legal Aid Committee, bringing together representatives from pro bono and legal aid organizations to address topics of common interest and to share information with one another. The Committee also works to further the understanding that each legal aid organization is part of a broader network in order to encourage collaboration and foster a sense of community.

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July 31, 2018

A Friendly Guide in the Courthouse Maze

Through the CBF’s work to make the courts more user-friendly and accessible for the growing number of people without lawyers, it became clear that court patrons often have a more immediate challenge than the legal issue that brought them there. People coming to court on their own often have a difficult time navigating a building […]

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July 27, 2018

Summer Fun with the CBF Young Professionals Board

A Chicago summer is short, but there’s always time for hanging out with friends and enjoying the weather while it lasts. In our first 70 years at the CBF, one of our key goals in bringing Chicago’s legal community together around our common cause of equal access to justice always has been to have fun […]

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July 26, 2018

CBF Op-ed in Crain’s Makes the Case for Innovation in the Practice of Law

In an op-ed in Crain’s Chicago Business, CBF President Carrie Di Santo and CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves lay out why the Chicago legal community needs to commit to doing things differently and how that will expand legal assistance for people left out of the market now.

While the causes of the current failure in the market for legal services are complex and long in the making, the urgency for change could not be clearer. Unfortunately, too many lawyers don’t see the problems firsthand in their practices and thus cling to long-held traditions despite stark evidence that the current system is not working for the majority of the public.

Read the article…

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July 25, 2018

70 Years of CBF Presidents

As we welcome Carrie Di Santo as the CBF’s 37th President since our inception in 1948, we reflect on the many leaders in Chicago’s legal community and beyond who have steered the CBF.

Past Presidents of the CBF include legal legends like George Overton and Esther Rothstein, general counsel of Fortune 500 companies, founders and leaders of prominent law firms, and many other noteworthy leaders in Chicago’s legal community.

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