Our Blog


April 20, 2021

Welcome Melanie and Introducing Our New CBF Staff Leadership Team

It has been a time of transition at the CBF as we said goodbye to our longtime Associate Director, Dina Merrell last month. However, with change comes new opportunities, and we are pleased to announce a new CBF leadership team who will work closely with CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves to lead the CBF into […]

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April 16, 2021

justice kilbrideCBF Inaugurates New Public Service Award in Honor of former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride

To honor a truly exemplary public servant and the many unsung lawyers and judges who represent the best of public service in the law, the CBF is inaugurating the Thomas L. Kilbride Public Service Award this year.

As CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves said as part of a recent Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to […]

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March 25, 2021

Just Because We Can Doesn’t Mean We Should, and Just Because We Should Can Never Again Mean We Can’t—Part Two

Doing a sequel is a fraught exercise. For every classic movie like the “The Godfather” or “Die Hard” that nailed it a second time, there are many more examples like “Caddyshack” and “Airplane” where an ill-advised sequel did no justice to the original masterpiece.

With knowledge of that risk, it feels particularly timely to do a follow-up to my post last May, one of the more popular ones in Bobservations history (a low bar, yes). It has only become clearer over the past ten months how critical it will be for remote access to remain a central feature of the court system for the long haul. At the same time, however, we have also learned some things during that time that will be key to making a hybrid system work effectively.

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March 24, 2021

Illinois Immigration Funder Collaborative Continues to Strengthen Our Community

Since its inception in 2012, the Illinois Immigration Funder Collaborative (IFC) has grown from a handful of founders to more than 20 foundation partners and has made more than $12 million in grants to serve immigrants throughout Illinois, and the CBF is proud to have been there from the start.

The IFC was formed in 2012 […]

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March 24, 2021

dina merrellOur Heartfelt Thanks to Dina!

The end of March will mark the end of the era at the CBF when our longtime Associate Director Dina Merrell moves on from Chicago and from the CBF after a truly amazing 16+ year run.

Our friends and partners at CARPLS did a great tribute to Dina this month that included great quotes from many […]

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March 15, 2021

jep logoJEP Applications are Now Open

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

Interested in obtaining the skills and resources necessary to build an innovative and successful law practice? Interested in making a positive impact on your community as a social entrepreneur? The JEP is an […]

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March 15, 2021

court buildingNew Supreme Court Rule Expands the Use of Electronic Signatures

When the pandemic arrived last March, we quickly learned how much could be done remotely – remote court, remote school, remote happy hour. However, the pandemic also shined a light on some of the outdated court rules and procedures that prevented basic tasks from working well remotely.

One stark example was the limits on the use of electronic signatures on court documents. In the best of times, this would be an inefficient roadblock to access to the courts, but during the pandemic, it often forced people to put their own health and the health of others at risk or be effectively shut out of the system even in matters that could be critical to their safety and independence.

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March 3, 2021

Gil Soffer to Chair 2021 Investing in Justice Campaign

The CBF is excited to announce that Gil Soffer, managing partner at Katten Muchin & Rosenman LLP, will lead the CBF’s 15th Annual Investing in Justice Campaign. The Campaign is the CBF’s annual initiative that rallies Chicago’s entire legal community around our common cause of ensuring that everyone has access to necessary legal help, not just […]

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February 24, 2021

Start With Why

You may recognize that as the title of one of the all-time great business books by Simon Sinek. While I highly recommend the book if you have not read it (as well as his TED Talk on the subject), I borrowed his title for this month’s post, because it offers a great roadmap for the next chapter in my 2021 Resolution series: building a better new normal for offices, conferences, and trainings.

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February 22, 2021

elena dennisThank You Elena and Good Luck!

February brought the bittersweet news that our Director of Development & Communications, Elena Dennis, is going to be leaving us at the end of the month for a new position with LINK Unlimited Scholars. LINK Unlimited is an impressive organization helping African American youth to succeed in high school and beyond, and Elena will have […]

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