2020 Selected Legal Aid Highlights

In January, the Chicago Bar Association Legal Aid Committee celebrated the impressive achievements of 25+ legal aid organizations here in the Chicagoland area in 2020. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, these dedicated institutions have demonstrated tremendous innovation and have continued to serve the legal needs of underrepresented communities.

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marcia meis2020 – Marcia M. Meis

Throughout her entire legal career, Marcia has dedicated herself to service in the public sector. Beginning her career as a law clerk in the Illinois Appellate Court, Marcia found her home at the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) in 1999. During her 20-year tenure at the AOIC, Marcia has assisted with every division […]

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judge cheryl starks2019 – Hon. Cheryl A. Starks

From the time she finished law school, Judge Cheryl A. Starks has dedicated her career to public service. She practiced as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago and at the Chicago Board of Education Law Department before becoming a Judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. When she retired from the […]

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mercedes luque-rosales2018 – Mercedes Luque-Rosales

For 29 years at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Mercedes Luque-Rosales showed an unwavering commitment to public service. She started as an Assistant State’s Attorney beginning in 1989 and rose through the ranks to the position of Felony Trial Specialist, where she developed a well-earned reputation as an excellent trial attorney who demonstrated deep […]

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cba logoLimited Scope Referral Panel

Every year in Illinois, hundreds of thousands of people go to court without the help of an attorney. Nearly two-thirds of defendants are unrepresented, and for some types of cases, that number exceeds ninety percent. While some are “DIY litigants” who prefer to go it alone, the vast majority would rather have an attorney—they simply can’t find or can’t afford one.

The Chicago Bar Association’s Limited Scope Referral Panel aims to fix that problem.

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shari mecklenburg2017 – Sheri Mecklenburg

After leaving a successful career in private practice 19 years ago, Sheri Mecklenburg not only has demonstrated excellence in her work in the public sector, she has continually gone above and beyond the call of duty to improve the justice system.

Sheri began her public service career at the City of Chicago Law Department and later […]

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deborah hagan2016 – Deborah Hagan

For over 30 years, Deborah Hagan has been a strong and exemplary advocate for consumer protection in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. In her role as leader of the Consumer Protection Division, Deborah advances and defends the interests of Illinois consumers in critical areas such as mortgage origination and servicing, student loan servicing, […]

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2015 – Leslie Landis

For more than three decades, Leslie Landis has been a strong voice for victims of domestic violence through direct service, advocacy, and policy work. In her current role as Chief Court Administrator in the Domestic Violence Division, Leslie works to support and implement the court’s goals while improving access to justice for litigants within the […]

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2014 – Michael J. Pelletier

Michael J. Pelletier is described by colleagues as a “zealous advocate,” “a skilled appellate attorney of unimpeachable ethics” and a “highly regarded leader in the criminal defense bar.” In his 38 years at the Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD), Michael has worked tirelessly to ensure that every OSAD client receives the high-quality representation that they deserve…

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