Our Blog


October 4, 2018

From Zero to Two Million and Counting

Back in 1999, when the initial conversations that led to what is now Illinois Legal Aid Online began, the idea that people would have access to and use the Internet to get legal information and resources—particularly low-income and disadvantaged people—was considered questionable at best. While it is hard to imagine now when virtually everyone has […]

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October 4, 2018

CBF and Paladin Announce Groundbreaking New Partnership

The CBF is pleased to announce the launch of the new statewide pro bono website, the Online Pro Bono Opportunity Guide, a joint initiative with Paladin, a legal tech startup. The new pro bono portal matches the CBF’s acclaimed pro bono resources with Paladin’s groundbreaking platform to help attorneys find and connect with pro bono and legal aid organizations that are a good fit for their expertise, interest, and availability.

This dynamic resource lets all Illinois lawyers and legal professionals explore a comprehensive database of opportunities at pro bono and legal aid organizations across the state, and sign up to get involved. Users can sort through over 100 opportunities by area of law, type of client, or scope of work. The new site will also allow legal aid and pro bono organizations to update and add content in real-time to ensure that this is always the most current and comprehensive listing of pro bono opportunities in Illinois.

The CBF has long published a popular Pro Bono Opportunities Guide as a print publication to help lawyers find and connect to pro bono opportunities, and CBF staff with expertise on these issues helps facilitate these partnerships. This joint project between CBF and Paladin leverages that content and expertise to increase efficiency and accessibility.

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October 3, 2018

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (for Pro Bono)

It seems like every day and week is some quirky celebration these days. The first full week of March is National Procrastination Week. National Waffle Week falls from September 2nd-8th this year. September 19th is the fan-favorite International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Here at the CBF, our favorite, for the 14th year running, is […]

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September 28, 2018

Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same […]

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September 27, 2018

A Voice in the Court System for People without Lawyers

Pro se litigants may not have an advocate in the courtroom, but they have an advocate in the court system thanks to the efforts of the CBF and the Circuit Court of Cook County, who joined forces in 2009 to establish the Circuit Court Pro Se Advisory Committee.

The Committee works to improve coordination and effectiveness […]

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September 25, 2018

CBF Sun-Times Fellowship Gives a Lifeline to 50 Legal Aid Attorneys

In the past 15 years, cy pres awards directed to the CBF have made a tremendous impact in our work to make the justice system more fair and efficient for all. One award gave the CBF the opportunity to launch the groundbreaking, 10-year CBF Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellowship program, designed to help make it […]

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September 21, 2018

A Match Made in Justice: Cy Pres Awards and Legal Aid

In class action cases (and occasionally in other types of proceedings like bankruptcy and probate matters), it is fairly common that some of the funds ordered to be paid to the class cannot be distributed to all of the class members or go unclaimed. What to do then?

Over the years, cy pres or residual fund […]

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September 20, 2018

What Do We Mean When We Say “Access to Justice”?

Access to justice—or equal access to justice, as it often is stated*— is the promised land we all are seeking. But what is it? And what is necessary to achieve it?

After I proposed a banned words list for access to justice earlier this year, several people commented that we should add another phrase to the list: “access to justice!” That was not meant as snark, but as genuine concern that the phrase has grown too amorphous and inconsistent to be meaningful. And that presents a big problem for all of us who care about these issues.

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September 20, 2018

JusticeCorps Expands to the Criminal Court

Every year in Cook County, over one million criminal cases are filed. They range from low-level misdemeanors to serious felony charges, and everything in between. Most of these cases are heard at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse located at 2650 S. California in Chicago. Victims, family members, probationers, and the criminal defendants themselves churn […]

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September 20, 2018

Legal Aid Yields a Strong Return on Investment

A well-funded legal aid system helps to ensure that our justice system is fair and efficient for all, regardless of income. Like us, you’re probably thinking that’s all the reason anyone would need. But then there’s the icing on the cake. Studies from more than 25 states, including Illinois, have repeatedly shown that it is […]

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