Our Blog


February 1, 2019

A Heartfelt Thanks to Lisa Madigan and Her Team at the Office of the Attorney General

Public officials at all levels of government play a critical role in the fight to ensure access to justice for all, and we have been fortunate in Illinois to have a number of exemplary elected officials from both sides of the aisle as partners.

Some officials really stand out for their leadership in the cause, […]

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February 1, 2019

A Make or Break Issue for Access to Justice

Whether an issue is a challenge or an opportunity is often simply a matter of perception. As Winston Churchill once put it, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” Over the CBF’s first 70 years, we have taken pride in confronting challenges head on and converting them into opportunities, and that has led to a number of significant innovations and long-term improvements in access to justice.

But sometimes an issue really is both a challenge and an opportunity at the same time. There is one such issue for access to justice looking ahead, a central one where our legal community will need to lead the way in striking the right balance if we are to reach the ultimate goal of a legal system that is truly fair and accessible for all.

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January 28, 2019

Civil Rights Pro Bono Opportunities

Did you know that each month the CBF’s online pro bono guide features one spotlight opportunity? This month you can learn more about how you can help the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights combat housing discrimination in both a discreet clinic setting and through further representation in filing administrative complaints.

See More Civil Rights Opportunities […]

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January 17, 2019

Steeped in History But Forward-Looking: Making the Courts Work for Everyone

Courts are, by design, backward-looking institutions. Lawyers and judges rely on case law from bygone decades. Clerks hand out paper forms sprinkled with ancient Latin phrases. The black robes, the gavels, and the rituals are steeped in history and tradition.

By choice, however, courts can also be forward-looking institutions. A foundational role in American society does […]

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January 14, 2019

Justice for All and the Critical Role of Advocacy

Over the CBF’s first 70 years, advocacy at the federal, state and local levels has been a central part of our overall efforts to improve access to justice and make the legal system more fair and accessible for all. It has been quite a ride and has made a real difference, growing each year and with each new challenge.

So, what’s next, and why is it going to be even more important going forward?

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December 28, 2018

This is what the fight for access to justice looks like.

It’s the end of the year, and while that has always been a period for reflection, this time we’re not just thinking back over the last year but the last 70. Since June, we’ve been digging through old photos, articles, and reports and uncovering some very interesting tidbits along the way. (Did you know the […]

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December 26, 2018

Community Leadership in Times of Crisis

Over the course of our 70-year history, one of the CBF’s hallmarks has become community leadership in times of crisis and emerging issues for access to justice. The great recession of 2008, and the swelling numbers of homeowners facing foreclosure in the associated housing crisis, was a particularly important example.

Growing numbers of foreclosures had already […]

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December 21, 2018

Improving the Pro Bono Experience in Federal Court

Federal court may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of pro se litigants, but every year, hundreds of people without lawyers file cases in the Northern District of Illinois. The vast majority of those cases are filed by prisoners seeking relief from allegedly substandard conditions or poor treatment in […]

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December 20, 2018

2019 Resolution—Time to Tackle our Affordability Problem for Everyday People

Lawyers often joke that they couldn’t afford themselves if they ran into a serious legal problem. While that is (usually) an exaggeration when a lawyer says it, it reflects a reality we all know to be true for most people in our community. It was not always like this, but somewhere along the way our profession managed to price the proverbial “regular guy” out of the market for most legal services.

As lawyers, we like to think of ourselves as problem solvers. This time the problem is us, and in 2019 we all need to make it a priority to solve it.

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December 20, 2018

Helping to Incubate Pro Bono and Legal Aid

As we celebrate the CBF’s 70th Anniversary, we have been looking back on many of the long-standing partnerships we have with pro bono and legal aid organizations in the Chicago area. Throughout our history, the CBF has played a critical role in many new organizations getting off the ground by providing inaugural grant funding, which […]

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