Our Blog


January 19, 2017

Legal Aid Committee—Selected Highlights 2016

The CBA Legal Aid Committee—which the CBF staffs—recently published a compilation of highlights submitted by some of the pro bono and legal aid organizations that participate in the Legal Aid Committee. Legal Aid Committee—Selected Highlights 2016 features news from 29 pro bono and legal aid organizations on: programs and projects; class action; significant litigation; and policy changes and legislation. Not all organizations were able to submit highlights, but this compilation provides an overview of some of the great work happening in our community.

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January 17, 2017

JEP Accepting Applications for Participants

The Justice Entrepreneurs Project is seeking entrepreneurial and public interest-minded recent law graduates for its next class of lawyers who will begin the program in May 2017.

At the Justice Entrepreneurs Project, we prepare talented and entrepreneurial lawyers in the Chicago area to manage innovative, socially conscious, and successful law practices. We believe in the power of entrepreneurial lawyers to make a difference as solo practitioners in the quest to ensure access to justice for all.

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December 20, 2016

More than a Century of Delivering Justice for People in Need

Whenever there needed to be a legal voice at the table, the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services had a seat. With former U.S. presidents on the board, and handwritten letters from Presidents Nixon and Roosevelt outlining their appreciation for the work the organization does, LAS has a legacy that is unparalleled.

As the second oldest legal aid organization in the nation, LAS, one of the many outstanding organizations you are supporting through the Investing in Justice Campaign, has been a pioneer in defining what justice for all really means. Founded in 1886, the organization was one of the first in the country to provide legal services for the poor. Its mission is to protect and strengthen families by providing equal access to justice for the most vulnerable citizens, including low-income people, the elderly and victims of domestic violence.

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December 20, 2016

A New Year’s Resolution for the Legal Profession: Stop Calling People Non-lawyers!

Every once in a while I will read an article or hear a speech that causes me to recognize I’ve been acting like a fool in one way or another. And I am certain I have many more opportunities ahead of me for that kind of recognition. A great example of this phenomenon occurred for me not long ago when I heard Jordan Furlong, a very perceptive analyst of the legal market and the future of our profession, note that we are the only profession who describes everyone who is not one of us as a non.

He’s right. You don’t hear doctors calling everyone else in the medical field non-doctors, or CPAs calling their colleagues non-CPAs. In fact, it sounds absurd to even imagine them or any other professionals doing that. Yet that’s exactly what we do as lawyers, and I have certainly been guilty of my share of it over the years.

While I have no idea how we got started using the non-lawyer expression, and I don’t think it is something lawyers do with any ill will, it is pretty offensive when you think about it. And it betrays a shortsighted and artificially limiting mindset that has a number of negative consequences for access to justice, the future of our profession, and our public image as lawyers.

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December 19, 2016

Making the Most of Your Year-End Charitable Giving

For many, December is the time to get out our checkbooks and make year-end gifts to the charities near and dear to our hearts.  However, if you are considering a larger gift, a better strategy might be to put away your checkbook and pick up the phone instead. A look at your entire financial picture may reveal that it’s more beneficial to your bottom line to give a gift of appreciated assets over cash.

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December 15, 2016

National Immigrant Justice Center

Looking to provide critical pro bono representation for asylum-seekers in the new year? National Immigrant Justice Center is holding a training on February 2nd from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at Greenberg Traurig (77 W. Wacker). CLE credit will be available.

To sign up, RSVP to cramazzinavanmoorsel@heartlandalliance.org.

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December 13, 2016

Miami Nights: A Casino Night featuring a Texas Hold’em Tournament €“ February 24

Shake off the cold weather and raise funds for the CBF while enjoying an exciting evening with your colleagues and friends at Miami Nights! The Young Lawyers Section invites you to The University Club on Friday, February 24 for an evening of table games, a Texas Hold’em Tournament, and South Beach inspired food and drink. Proceeds from the evening support the CBF’s work in Chicago’s legal community to make the justice system more fair and accessible for everyone. Attendees can choose from an all-access pass that includes the poker tournament or a standard casino pass (early bird rate through February 10).

Visit www.chicagobar.org/ylscasino to learn more and purchase tickets.

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November 17, 2016

What Makes a Good Charity?

The eminent Peter Drucker famously said, There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all. Mistaking efficiency for effectiveness is a danger for any organization, and particularly so for nonprofits. Yet that is exactly what most of the entities that give advice about what makes a good charity tend to do, often compounding their error by utilizing misleading standards for determining efficiency. There is a better way.

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November 16, 2016

Worth a Second Chance

The police did not know how to support her. The 12-year-old had repeatedly abused her guardian and seemed to be in an endless cycle of getting arrested and then hospitalized. Time and time again, she faced the criminal justice system, only to be subsequently failed by it.

The staff at the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, one of the many outstanding organizations you are supporting through the Investing in Justice Campaign, quickly realized that her core issues were not being addressed. They fought within the school system, advocating that she be residentially placed. They argued that she was unfit to stand trial and could not be held responsible given her complex mental health issues. The court lacked the services to help her with these issues, so The Moran Center attorneys and social workers ensured she would receive these services from her school.

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November 16, 2016

Thank Your Cook County Commissioner

The Cook County Board passed its FY 2017 budget on Tuesday and it includes continued funding for the Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program. If you live in Cook County, please join us in calling or emailing your Cook County Commissioner to thank them for their support for the program.

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