Our Blog


June 26, 2017

Investing in Justice Campaign Sets New Records, Leverages Hundreds of Thousands More

The 2017 CBF Investing in Justice Campaign set new records in individual donations while raising awareness and critical funding for pro bono and legal aid services in the Chicago area. 153 law firms, corporate legal departments and other law-related organizations participated in this year’s Campaign, which was chaired by Jesse H. Ruiz, partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. Nearly 5,100 individual attorneys and legal professionals contributed more than $1.51 million, both the highest amounts in the Campaign’s 11-year history.

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June 26, 2017

Removing Barriers for People with Disabilities

Access Living was founded in 1980 as one of the nation’s first ten Centers for Independent Living (CILs). The organization’s goal is simple: to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as those without disabilities to conduct lives of dignity and independence. With departments specializing in independent living skills, advocacy, and legal services, Access Living provides a unique combination of assistance in championing the rights and empowerment of people with disabilities. Access Living is the only CIL that has a Legal Services Program, and it is this impactful program that you support through the Investing in Justice Campaign.

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June 23, 2017

New LSC Study on the Justice Gap

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) released a comprehensive new study last week that shows the number of low-income Americans in need of legal help far exceeds the legal aid services available to help them. We encourage you to continue reaching out to Senators Durbin and Duckworth and your member of Congress to thank them for their continued support of strong funding for LSC.

Take Action

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June 16, 2017

CARPLS Hotline

Interested in non-litigation pro bono work with flexible day and evening training/volunteer options? CARPLS, the Cook County legal aid hotline, offers the majority of its training online, and the next in-person portion will be offered on July 12 at 10am, 2pm, or 5:30pm. No experience is required and attendees will receive CLE credit.

Register/Learn More

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May 25, 2017

Another Self-Inflicted Barrier to Access to Justice: The Rules Governing Lawyer Marketing and Advertising

Many thousands of Illinoisans who need or would benefit from legal assistance and can afford to pay something aren’t getting it. They often don’t recognize their problem as a legal one, and when they do, they too often don’t know where to go for quality legal help or whether it would be a cost-effective solution for them. At the same time, we have more lawyers than ever before, most of whom have capacity and interest in helping more paying clients. In economics, this is called a market failure, and our profession is compounding this failure by unnecessarily restraining market forces from fixing the problem.

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May 24, 2017

First Defense Legal Aid Helps Close a Key Gap in Access to Justice on the Criminal Side of the System

When someone gets arrested, the first 48 hours can be a critical time. During this period, police officers have access to any number of resources that detainees may not, including access to the State’s Attorney for legal counsel. Low-income detainees, on the other hand, rarely have legal representation at this point and often don’t understand all of their rights in what can be a very intimidating situation for them.

In Illinois, people who are arrested and need legal counsel but cannot afford it have to wait until a hearing from a judge to have a public defender appointed for them. The problem, however, is that this appointment can take 48-72 hours to take place and happens usually after the arrestee has been formally charged. When looking at the numbers, this lack of legal help for detainees is striking. In 2016, only 1% of almost 87,000 people arrested and in the custody of the Chicago Police Department had access to an attorney.

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May 23, 2017

Thank you Kelly!

This month marked a bittersweet occasion at the CBF as Kelly Tautges, our Director of Pro Bono and Court Advocacy since 2008, followed her heart back to her home state of Minnesota and took on a new role there as Pro Bono Counsel and Director of Pro Bono and Community Service for the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

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May 22, 2017

Second Chance Expungement Summit

Interested in helping someone get a fresh start? The Cook County Second Chance Expungement Summit will be held on Saturday, June 10. Volunteer attorneys are needed to review the criminal records of attendees, determine whether they qualify for adult expungement or sealing, and assist with the filing of court forms. A required training session for volunteer attorneys will be held on May 31, from 3pm-6pm at 69 W. Washington.

Training is provided by Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. Attorneys may earn up to 2.5 General MCLE credits.

The Second Chance Expungement Summit will be held on Saturday, June 10 at Unity Junior High School, 2115 S. 54th Avenue in Cicero. Learn more/Register

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May 19, 2017

CBF Joins Colleagues from Throughout the Country to Advocate for Access to Justice

The CBF once again co-anchored the Illinois team at the annual ABA Day in Washington last month. Working with our colleagues at the CBA, ISBA and ABA and a number of dedicated volunteers, our Illinois team once again met with the entire Illinois Congressional delegation.

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May 17, 2017

JEP Welcomes New Cohort of Participants

On May 8, the Justice Entrepreneurs Project welcomed a new cohort of participants into the incubator program. They are the ninth class of lawyers to join the JEP network, which now includes over 50 solo and small law firms with lawyers who are currently participating in or have completed the JEP program. We are excited to help these seven attorneys build innovative, affordable, and accessible law practices that meet the needs of low and moderate income people in and around Chicago. The participant attorneys, for their part, are eager to begin their pro bono residencies at CBF-supported legal aid organizations.

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