Our Blog


February 17, 2017

Newly Released: Grant Guidelines for Veteran and Military Family Hotline & Services

The centerpiece of the Access to Justice Act one of the CBF’s major legislative priorities the past three years is funding for a new legal hotline and network of services for Veterans and military families in Illinois. With the funding made possible by the Act now available for the new program, the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation has released their grant guidelines for organizations that want to apply to be part of the program. Grants are anticipated to be announced in the early summer.

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February 8, 2017

Have Opinions about Pro Bono?

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice wants to hear from you on the pro bono survey they recently sent to all Illinois lawyers. The CBF is cosponsoring the survey with the Commission, the Illinois Bar Foundation, and the Public Interest Law Initiative. This survey is part of a national effort led by […]

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January 27, 2017

Hands off Chicago’s legal aid funding

In an op-ed for Crain’s Chicago Business, CBF President Chuck Smith and Executive Director Bob Glaves respond to recent talk of eliminating federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation.

“Wherever we stand politically, we all should take this opportunity to restore confidence that everyone will get a fair shake in the justice system. Ensuring that there is proper funding for LSC is a critical part of our collective charge. This is not a partisan issue: It is a part of who we are as a country.”

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January 24, 2017

Our Language Problem

If You See Something, Do Something!

As lawyers trained to worship at the altar of precedent, there are all kinds of bad habits we can pick up without even thinking about them. There of course are many legal principles we continue to follow today because they are critical underpinnings of our society that rightly have stood the test of time the rule of law and the fundamentals of our Constitution, for example. There unfortunately also is a lot of legal terminology and procedure that we continue to use today for a very different reason: because it is just the way we always have done it. And breaking out of that default pattern is one of the easiest steps we all can take right now to improve access to justice.

I got a great lesson on this early in my legal career.

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January 23, 2017

Take Action: Voice Your Support for the BRIDGE Act

Join us in thanking Senator Durbin for his leadership in introducing the bipartisan BRIDGE Act, which would protect young people who stepped forward to receive protection under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) from deportation if the program is discontinued. If you are in Representative Luis Gutierrez’s district, please thank him as well for introducing the companion bill in the House, or encourage your Representative to join them to support this critical piece of legislation.

Contact Your Legislator

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January 23, 2017

Jesse Ruiz to Chair 2016 Investing in Justice Campaign

Jesse Ruiz, Partner at Drinker, Biddle & Reath, will lead the CBF’s 11th Annual Investing in Justice Campaign. The Campaign, which kicks off the week of March 6th and runs throughout the month, is an annual initiative where the entire legal community comes together around our common cause as a legal profession helping to ensure that […]

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January 20, 2017

Mediation Skills Training

Interested in building your mediation skills and volunteering as a mediator? Take the Center for Conflict Resolution’s (CCR) Mediation Skills training. This hands-on 40 hour training will be held on February 27-28 and March 6-8 from 8:30am-5pm at 11 E. Adams. For pricing, CLE credit availability, other information, and to register, visit CCR’s website.

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January 20, 2017

CBF & JEP Pricing Toolkit Recognized by the ABA

The CBF and its Justice Entrepreneurs Project are being recognized by the ABA for the Pricing Toolkit. The Toolkit provides lawyers practical guidance on alternative pricing options to help them deliver value in a way that is more predictable, transparent and accessible for regular people. The Toolkit came about after the CBF discovered in the early stages of the […]

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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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