Our Blog


November 2, 2016

Don’t Miss the Annual CBF Advocacy Workshop!

After all the election results are in and the dust has settled, the CBF will hold its 3rd annual Advocacy Workshop! Larry Suffredin, CBA Legislative Counsel and Cook County Board Commissioner, will share his wisdom about the new landscape at the federal, state and local levels and how that may impact access to justice issues.

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October 19, 2016

Strengthening Organizations that Lift Communities

Breaking Ground had been providing education, job readiness, and employment services to Chicago’s North Lawndale community for years before seeking help from The Law Project, a program under Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and one of the many outstanding organizations you are supporting through the Investing in Justice Campaign. Breaking Ground needed legal assistance with the purchase of a residential building to provide transitional housing for ex-offenders who successfully completed their job-readiness program, and The Law Project had the resources and expertise to help make that a reality. A partnership soon developed, and Breaking Ground continued to turn to the program for help with other legal matters, including a merger with another organization, partnership with general counsel, and tax issues.

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October 17, 2016

New Class of Talented Legal Aid Attorneys Receive Awards to Cap Off 10-Year CBF Fellowship Program

CBF Fellowships awarded to five legal aid attorneys will help them to pursue careers in public service and continue serving the most vulnerable people in our community

Five outstanding legal aid attorneys tonight became the final class of CBF Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellows. This program, in its tenth and final year, has made it more manageable for 50 legal aid lawyers to continue their careers in legal aid in the face of significant student debt loads. In doing so, the program has played a key role in improving access to justice for people in need and making the legal system more fair and efficient for everyone.

First awarded in 2007, this is the tenth and final year the CBF will award Sun-Times Fellowships. Through a generous $2 million cy pres award from a case involving the Chicago Sun-Times, in 2006 the CBF was able to create this 10-year Fellowship Program to provide significant loan repayment assistance to 50 legal aid attorneys in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Over 92% of the CBF’s Sun-Times Fellows remain in public service today.

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October 17, 2016

Inspiring Law Student Gets Boost for Her Dream of a Career in Public Service

Prestigious $40,000 scholarship will help Amanda Insalaco achieve that dream

From a young age, Amanda Insalaco has aspired to a career in public service. As the first in her family to attend college, she graduated with honors and determined she wanted to pursue that dream as a public service lawyer. Tonight, she is one big step closer to realizing that dream after she received the 2016 Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Public Interest Law Scholarship.

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October 17, 2016

Pro Bono and the Power of Proximity

Last year at this time I kicked off the “Bobservations” series with what then seemed like a great idea to me: seven pro bono related posts in one week, one post for each day of Pro Bono Week 2015. I ultimately succeeded in that quest, but may have been the only person who actually read all of them. So I am not going to try that again this year. Instead, I want to focus on one of the key pro bono themes I referenced in last year’s series—the power of proximity—as it sets a great tone for this year’s CBA/CBF Pro Bono Week and its theme of “Caring, One Person at a Time.”

Proximity in this context is drawn from the great Bryan Stevenson and refers to the importance of getting closer to the problems that low-income and disadvantaged people experience in the justice system. While there of course are many other reasons that pro bono plays a critical role in our profession and in our communities, proximity is the most underrated and arguably the most powerful benefit of pro bono for all concerned.

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October 13, 2016

Supreme Court’s Pro Bono Reporting Rule and You

All Illinois lawyers can expect to receive their annual ARDC registration statements this month, which again will include questions about their pro bono work and related financial contributions over the past year pursuant to the pro bono reporting requirement adopted by the Supreme Court in 2006. If you haven’t taken a pro bono case or made a financial contribution yet this year, it’s not too late. There’s still time for you to get involved and contribute before you complete your registration, and below are some resources to help you do that.

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September 29, 2016

The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be

The legendary Yogi Berra was the source of so many great quotes that they became the source for a whole book, and his quote about the future is a very fitting title for my concluding post in the “legal future” series I kicked off back in January.

When it comes to the legal profession and access to justice, the future surely does look a lot different than it would have even a few years ago, and that is largely a good thing. While many of us face new professional challenges today that were not present ten years ago, we all have promising opportunities that could fundamentally change access to justice for the better while making for a happier, healthier and more effective legal profession for many years to come.

Another sports legend, Wayne Gretzky, offers us great advice as we look out towards that future: skate to where the puck is going, not where the puck has been.

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September 28, 2016

Removing Legal Obstacles to Artistic Dreams

Chicago is known for its thriving arts scene, which is a big draw for both locals and tourists alike and an increasingly potent economic force for the city. A number of talented individuals and organizations make up that thriving arts scene, and a lot goes into their success. Perhaps the most underrated component of success in the arts is the availability of good legal help, particularly when individuals and organizations are just getting started.

Lawyers for the Creative Arts is the only nonprofit in Chicago that offers legal assistance to financially eligible artists and small arts organizations, and is also one of the many outstanding organizations you are supporting through the Investing in Justice Campaign.

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September 27, 2016

Advocacy Workshop

On November 17th, from 8 to 9:30 am (location TBD), after all the election results are in and the dust has settled, the CBF will hold its 3rd annual Advocacy Workshop. Larry Suffredin, CBA Legislative Counsel and Cook County Board Commissioner, will discuss what the results mean for access to justice on the local, state, and federal level. 1 hour of CLE credit is expected. To register, or for more information, email Angela Inzano.

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September 27, 2016

CBF Welcomes New Board President and Members

The CBF is excited to welcome Charles (Chuck) Smith as our 35th Board President for the 2016-2017 term. A Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Chuck leads Skadden’s litigation practice in Chicago and represents a broad array of U.S. and international companies, as well as their top executives, in complex regulatory investigations, enforcement matters and litigation.

Chuck is also a recognized leader in the Chicago legal community and strongly dedicated to the cause of equal access to justice. He takes over at an exciting time for the CBF after an impactful year under outgoing CBF President Allegra Nethery’s leadership.

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