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October 31, 2018

A Family-Friendly Tradition for Our Legal Community

This is the time of year when we our minds turn to traditions. From Halloween and Dia de los Muertos to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, this is the season for annual traditions with friends and family. In 1997, the CBF started its own tradition in our legal community—the annual Fall Benefit. Each November since then, […]

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October 25, 2018

Pro Bono Connects JEPers to Practice Experience and Their Community

The CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project is in an open-plan, loft office space just west of the Loop. This is where program participants (JEPers) start their innovative, socially conscious law practices serving low and middle income Chicagoans. This is where they learn skills and techniques for “doing law differently”—setting predictable prices, offering unbundled services, making use […]

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October 19, 2018

Fun and Frolic for a Great Cause

In 2001, several members of the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators teamed up with the CBF Young Professionals Board to create an event unlike any other the legal community had seen before or since—the Fat Tuesday Challenge. Kyle Woodward was the main driving force, co-chairing the event for the first 10 […]

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October 18, 2018

Partner-Powered Training Helps JEP Lawyers Innovate

At the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP), we prepare talented and entrepreneurial lawyers in the Chicago area to launch and manage innovative, socially conscious, and successful law practices. One way we do this is through our comprehensive training program that focuses on building a new kind of practice—one that is more accessible and affordable to […]

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October 16, 2018

Top of the Class: The CBF Legal Aid Academy

Chicago’s pro bono and legal aid organizations are top notch, teeming with some of the best lawyers in their respective fields. Even the most dedicated legal aid lawyers in these organizations, however, can face daunting challenges to making long-term commitments to these vital careers.

Financial challenges—which can be very real for lawyers making relatively modest public […]

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October 16, 2018

Stand by Someone Who Needs You, In a Way Only You Can

This year’s Pro Bono Week theme, “Celebrating the Power of Pro Bono,” invites us to think about what that power looks like in real life to someone who is facing a serious legal issue but unable to afford the legal help they need. As I often do, I am turning to music for my inspiration, echoing the choice of theme song for our Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon earlier this year.

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October 12, 2018

Investing in Illinois’ Legal Aid Attorneys: The 2006 Recruitment & Retention Report

At the turn of the 21st century, a problem that had been simmering for many years exploded—law student debt had become a serious burden to lawyers pursuing legal aid or other public service jobs. Law school tuitions had skyrocketed, and legal aid salaries had not kept pace with this rising law school debt or private […]

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October 12, 2018

Clearing Voting Barriers for Chicagoans with Disabilities

Imagine you are excited about casting your ballot on Election Day and are turned away simply because you have a disability. Or imagine having to cast your ballot where other voters can see exactly how you vote.

Cynthia, a voter with a disability, was unable to use the accessible electronic voting machine at her polling place because the election judges did not know how to operate it. She was forced to cast her ballot sitting at a table in plain view of other voters with absolutely no privacy. Her only other option was to not vote at all. Cynthia’s experience illustrates the type of barriers people with disabilities routinely face when they seek to vote but are denied access to the election process.

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October 11, 2018

Following in the Pro Bono Footsteps of Edward Lewis

Erin McCloskey Maus receives the 2011 Lewis Award from Co-Chair Stephanie Scharf

Edward J. Lewis II was, and continues to be, an inspiration to our entire legal community. Prior to his death at age 37, Edward had completed over 2,000 pro bono hours and inspired dozens of fellow attorneys at Jenner & Block to get […]

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October 9, 2018

The Illinois State Government’s Conduit for Access to Justice

“Equal justice is a basic right that is fundamental to democracy in this State, and the integrity of this State and this State’s justice system depends on protecting and enforcing the rights of all people.”

That is the opening paragraph for the Illinois Equal Justice Act, which the Illinois General Assembly passed in 1999 with broad […]

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