Our Blog


November 9, 2020

jep 13th cohortNewly Minted JEP Alumni Ready to Grow and Serve

Last week the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project celebrated the graduation of the May 2019 cohort, the thirteenth cohort of participants to successfully complete the 18-month program. The graduates include Mahdis Azimi, Nikki Donnelley, Chelsea Herring, Courtney Kelledes, Michael Norton, Mitha Rao, and January Stramaglia. All seven graduates have built socially conscious and innovative businesses targeting middle-income people […]

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November 2, 2020

story slam 2020 screenshotAn Extraordinary Pro Bono Week

Like most gatherings in these times, last week the CBA/CBF’s 16th Annual Pro Bono Week went virtual for the first time. That didn’t stop hundreds of lawyers and other legal professionals in Chicago from participating in one of the many fan favorite events to celebrate the inspiring pro bono work in our community and to […]

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October 21, 2020

Does it Really Matter?

News Flash: Pro bono is not the complete solution to the huge gap in access to justice. That is actually not news to anyone involved in this work, but it seems a lot more people of late have been highlighting what pro bono can’t do as they make their case for other solutions, often implying in the process that pro bono is less important or less worthy of our resources and attention.

Well, that is just plain wrong. Just because pro bono is not the solution on its own does not mean it is not an integral part of the larger quest to fulfill our nation’s ideal of a fair and accessible justice system for all. Pro bono in fact has a big role to play, and it matters in many other ways as well.

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October 6, 2020

task force report cover pageCBA/CBF Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law & Innovation Releases Final Report and Recommendations

The Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law & Innovation officially released its final report and recommendations today after formally submitting them to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The problem the Task Force seeks to address in a nutshell is an untenable failure in the legal market: at the […]

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October 5, 2020

jep logoJEP Applications are Open

The CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project is seeking entrepreneurial and social justice-minded applicants for its next class of participants who will begin the program in January 2021. 

The JEP prepares talented and entrepreneurial lawyers in the Chicago area to build innovative, socially conscious, and thriving law practices serving low and middle-income legal consumers and small businesses. We believe in the power […]

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October 1, 2020

Jessica BednarzJessica Bednarz Named to Law Bulletin’s 40 Under 40

Congratulations to Jessica Bednarz, CBF Director of Innovation & the JEP, on being named one of this year’s Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s 40 Under 40 recipients. Jess joins a very distinguished group of 2020 honorees, and we are incredibly proud of all the work she has done to improve access to justice in our community. […]

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September 24, 2020

A Fork in the Road for Our Profession

The 1980’s called and they want their Rules of Professional Conduct back. And they can have them.

As the world around us has changed dramatically since those heady days when seeing a music video on MTV was mind-blowing, we have seen only modest changes in the Rules governing the business of law. The result is our profession has gradually priced the everyday person out of the market for legal services even though we have more lawyers practicing than ever before.

Something is clearly wrong, and we now face a clear choice: continue down the same unsustainable path, or set a new course where we empower the middle class to access the quality, affordable legal services they need and enable lawyers to sustainably provide those services to them.

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September 24, 2020

sean berkowitzInvesting in Justice Through Thick and Thin

A message from Sean Berkowitz, 2020 Investing in Justice Campaign Chair

Thanks to your dedicated leadership, I am pleased to announce outstanding results for this year’s Investing in Justice Campaign despite the unprecedented circumstances we all find ourselves facing today. At a time when it is needed more than ever, more than 4,200 attorneys and legal […]

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September 17, 2020

jep participantJEP Helps Small Businesses Navigate the Pandemic

As small businesses wrestle with the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic, the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) hosted a free virtual workshop for the small businesses in the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce earlier this month. “Ask JEP: Navigating Legal Relationships in a Time of COVID” was designed to help these businesses understand and respond […]

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September 16, 2020

justicecorps using language lineNew Illinois JusticeCorps Court Information Helpline Launches

The Illinois JusticeCorps program is proud to announce the launch of its new Court Information Helpline – a phone resource created to aid people without lawyers trying to access the courts during the ongoing pandemic. The helpline now serves as one central location for unrepresented litigants to call for legal information and resource referrals for […]

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