Frequently Asked Questions
As lawyers and guardians of the justice system, the huge gap in access to justice in our community today is simply unacceptable. The Law Firm Leadership Circle underscores the commitment of Chicago’s law firms to reverse this trend.
With the support of more than 150 law firms and corporations and thousands of individual donors, the CBF plays a distinct and vital role in the community by taking a system-wide approach to tackling this issue. Through grants, advocacy and other leadership, we:
- Advance the work of our community’s bro bono and legal aid organizations;
- Enable dedicated lawyers to pursue careers in legal aid and help pro bono attorneys most effectively supplement their efforts; and
- Make the courts and legal system more user-friendly and accessible for all.
The Law Firm Leadership Circle’s Statement of Principles embodies The Chicago Bar Foundation’s comprehensive approach to addressing the justice gap in our community
Rather than adopt these higher amounts as a minimum threshold for the Leadership Circle, the Statement of Principles have adopted the Gold ($600 per attorney) and Platinum ($1,000 per attorney) standards as aspirational targets for law firms in the Leadership Circle.
It is widely recognized today that having a good pro bono program is good business for a law firm and an essential part of the firm’s long-term success. The firm’s pro bono program generates important benefits for the firm in recruiting, training and retaining the best and brightest young lawyers and can yield significant marketing and public relations benefits for the firm as well. As noted above, the firm’s financial support for local legal aid organizations is an integral part of the firm’s pro bono program, as these organizations provide the infrastructure and support that are critical to successful law firm pro bono programs.
Because the Campaign is geared towards individual lawyers and is intended to raise funds above and beyond what law firms already are giving to the cause, firm matching contributions for the Campaign are treated separately from the firm’s core contributions to our community’s legal aid organizations and to the CBF. Matching contributions underscore the firm’s commitment to the Campaign and are a proven incentive for increasing individual giving; even a partial match from the firm has been shown to increase individual contributions, and that impact increases as the amount of the match increases.