2013 – Matthew Hulstein

Matthew HulsteinMatt Hulstein began working at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) shortly after graduating from law school in 2012. As a staff attorney on CVLS’ Chancery Court Access to Justice Pro Bono Project, Matt represents low-income people without lawyers in mortgage foreclosure cases, insurance cases, and administrative appeals from government agencies such as the Chicago Housing Authority. In addition, one of Matt’s primary functions is to recruit, train, and support pro bono attorneys who volunteer to take these cases for extended representation. The cases Matt and his pro bono volunteers take on are frequently complex matters where the stakes are high. Without the assistance of an attorney, it is often difficult for a pro se party with a meritorious case to prevail in these actions. Fortunately for his clients, Matt is already well on his way to accomplishing his career goal of connecting those who need help with those people who want to help, thus making due process of law a working reality.

Matt’s unwavering commitment to public service is truly inspiring. During college, Matt volunteered with a mentoring organization in his community and also spent a semester interning at CVLS, where he first encountered the hardships of marginalized groups. It was this experience that propelled Matt to attend law school and pursue a career as a legal aid attorney. Matt’s volunteerism continued through law school, where he volunteered or interned at Iowa Legal Aid, the Johnson County Public Defender in Iowa City, the Johnson County Circuit Court, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, and CVLS. In addition, Matt was a member of both the Equal Justice Foundation and the Pro Bono Society, and organized a spring break service trip to Chicago in which 20 students participated. At graduation, Matt’s passion and dedication earned him “Highest Service Honors” for volunteering more pro bono hours than any other member of his class.

Despite his hectic schedule, Matt also found time to make academics a priority. He graduated in the top 20% of his class at University of Iowa College of Law and in the top 15% of his class at DePaul University College of Law, where he spent his third year as a visiting student. Matt also worked as a research assistant to a human rights scholar and served as a contributing editor on Iowa’s Journal of Gender, Race and Justice.

As a result of his extraordinary efforts and accomplishments advocating for low-income individuals and families, Matt was awarded a CBF Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellowship in 2013, a financial award that will help meet him law school loan obligations.