2014 – Caroline Manley

DSC_4270Caroline Manley began working at Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) shortly after graduating from law school in 2011. She was awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Borchard Center on Law & Aging to launch a project to develop legal clinics in four senior centers in high need suburban communities. Following the one-year fellowship, Caroline was awarded a two-year Equal Justice Works Fellowship sponsored by The Chicago Bar Foundation to continue her development of the clinics. In just three years, Caroline launched ten Senior Legal Assistance Clinics, which are located both in the suburbs and in high-need urban communities. At the clinics, low-income seniors meet one-on-one with CDEL volunteer attorneys and receive advice or direct representation on a wide array of legal issues impacting this population, including housing law matters, collections defense, and advanced directives. In addition to supervising the clinics, Caroline, now a CDEL staff attorney, is responsible for recruiting and training volunteers and directly representing a caseload of clients. Caroline’s work is vital to ensuring that these vulnerable seniors, who are often isolated and cannot access legal services, receive the assistance they need.

Caroline’s deep commitment to public service – and to low-income seniors in particular – is truly inspiring. After graduating from college, Caroline served as a program coordinator at Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly for nearly two years before entering law school. While at DePaul University College of Law, Caroline served on the Center for Public Interest Law Committee, was a Child and Family Law Fellow, and was awarded the Senior Service Award. In addition, Caroline interned with the West Suburban Senior Services, AARP Foundation, Cook County Office of the Public Guardian, and in the Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Unit at Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Impressively, she was able to balance her service and extracurricular activities with academics, graduating magna cum laude with a Certificate in Public Interest Law.

As a result of her extraordinary efforts and accomplishments advocating for low-income individuals, Caroline was awarded a CBF Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellowship in 2014, a financial award that will help meet her law school loan obligations. “The generosity of the Sun-Times Fellowship is humbling. I feel so lucky that I am able to serve the clients that I am privileged to work with every day. This award allows me to continue the work that I love by easing my financial aid burden.”