Our Blog


December 18, 2018

The Battle Over Cy Pres Awards

In settling class actions, there is a recurring practical problem: what to do with undistributed settlement funds? That question has now reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and was the topic of a spirited panel discussion last month hosted by the CBA Class Action Committee and the CBF: The Future of Cy Pres After the Supreme Court: Perspectives from Academia, the Bar, and the Bench.

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December 14, 2018

CBF Staff Share a Common Passion for Justice

Over the course of 70 years, the CBF has gone through quite an evolution to become the organization it is today one focused on improving access to justice through grants, community leadership, and policy advocacy in the courts and legislative process. For nearly half of the CBF’s existence, there was no need for staff offices […]

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December 13, 2018

Educational Debt and Access to Justice: An Increasingly Toxic Brew

We occasionally get the question: why do you work on student debt reform isn’t the CBF’s advocacy focused on improving access to the justice system? In fact, mounting student loan debt in the United States is directly related to access to justice, and addressing it is a key strategy in leveling the playing field in […]

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December 11, 2018

Sharing the JEP’s (Not So) Secret Keys to Success

The goal of the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project has always been twofold. First and most obviously, we want to increase access to affordable legal services for low and middle-income people and businesses in the Chicago area through the direct efforts of the lawyers in the JEP network.

The second aim of the JEP has always been to […]

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December 7, 2018

The Price of Admission to the Courts: Tackling a Barrier to Access to Justice

The events in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and their aftermath shined a national spotlight on an access to justice issue that too often was previously below the radar: the undue burden that court fees and fines can present for low-income and disadvantaged members of the community.

Illinois already was ahead of the game in recognizing these […]

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December 6, 2018

Leading By Example

Law firms and corporations play an integral role in the CBF and the larger cause of equal access to justice in many ways. Before 2008, however, our community lacked the means to recognize those firms and companies who embody best practices in their leadership and comprehensive support for the cause.

Then, as now, firms and companies […]

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December 4, 2018

Guiding the Gatekeepers

Often, when a person goes to court without a lawyer, the first person they interact with will be a court clerk. Clerks often serve as the gatekeepers of the court, playing a pivotal role any time a litigant tries to file a document, request a court order, check in for a hearing, or pay a […]

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November 30, 2018

It was 6 ½ Years Ago Today…

Granted, that is not as catchy as the Beatles’ lyrics in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But in access to justice circles, it was a pretty big deal.

It was June 13, 2012, to be exact, when the Illinois Supreme Court entered the order creating the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice, and […]

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November 29, 2018

Getting a Second Chance

Each year, Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) helps thousands of people who seek a second chance. A single arrest can result in a cascade of barriers for an individual the loss of employment, the loss of housing and the break-up of families. CGLA works to prevent these consequences from happening, while also working to remove the collateral damage of arrest and conviction. Michael is one person who received a second chance with CGLA’s assistance.

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November 29, 2018

JEP Network Embodies Best Practices

At the beginning of summer in 2013, ten attorneys signed on to a program that offered them the training, resources, and connections they’d need to launch innovative and socially conscious solo and small law firms that serve low and middle income clients. The CBF had done its research; we knew the need for affordable services […]

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