2016 – Adrian G. Barr
Adrian Barr’s strong commitment to making our justice system more fair and efficient for all has been the hallmark of his 13-year legal career. Upon his graduation from the University of Illinois College of Law, he joined Prairie State Legal Services as a staff attorney where he handled landlord-tenant, public benefits and disability cases. After 5 years in that role and facing financial pressure from his student loans, Adrian shifted to private practice for 3 years. During his time at a law firm in Peoria, he handled several pro bono cases for Prairie State clients and realized legal aid would be his path long-term. He returned to Prairie State’s Bloomington location as Managing Attorney in 2011.
In his role as Managing Attorney, Adrian supervises the delivery of civil legal services to low-income people and seniors in McLean, Livingston, and Eastern Woodford Counties. Under his leadership, Prairie State has implemented many innovations to expand access to justice, including playing an important role in the launch of an early Illinois JusticeCorps collaboration in McLean County with the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court and The Chicago Bar Foundation. Over the past three years, Adrian has focused his efforts on improving access to justice for victims of domestic violence. After noticing that organizations that provide domestic violence services in the county had a long history of conflict and a lack of coordination, he brought them together to meet for the first time in over a decade. Thanks to Adrian’s work, a collaboration with court staff, law enforcement, legal aid and social services has formed in order to resolve issues faced by victims of domestic violence. Even though it is fairly new, the collaborative has already resulted in improved and more comprehensive services to domestic violence victims.
Adrian’s devotion to public interest law extends far beyond his work at Prairie State. Adrian serves on the board of directors of the Immigration Project, a nonprofit organization in Bloomington providing immigrants with affordable immigration legal services. He serves on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice Name Change Standardized Forms Subcommittee, and chaired it in 2015. In addition, he is a member of the PILI Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee and is active in the McLean County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee.