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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

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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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 9, 2016

The Day After€¦

History was going to be made one way or another in last night’s Presidential election, and a lot will be written today and in the coming weeks about what it all means now that we know the outcome. While I’ll leave it others to opine on the larger consequences of last night’s verdict,* there is one question of particular import for those of us in the legal community: what does it mean for access to justice?

The answer to that question largely remains to be written, and as always has been true, our legal community will have a big say in what the answer will be. While we don’t yet know to what degree a President Trump will prioritize access to justice in his Administration, there is a lot that we do know, and some fundamental facts are just as true this morning and going forward as they were before the election.

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November 3, 2016

Pro Bono Week 2016 Enthusiastic Crowds, Exciting New Programs

The CBA and CBF’s 12th Annual Pro Bono Week featured a number of successful programs and events that underscored this year’s theme, Caring, One Person at a Time. Rachel O’Konis Ruttenberg, Executive Director of the Family Defense Center, and Andrew Vail, Partner at Jenner & Block LLP, co-chaired the Week, which ran from October 24 to 28. We are delighted that hundreds of legal professionals in Chicago came together to celebrate the important pro bono work being done in our community and to encourage even more pro bono work in the year ahead.

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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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