Our Work

The Chicago Bar Foundation brings the legal community together through advocacy, funding, and innovation to improve access to justice for people in need and to make the legal system more fair, equitable, and effective.

As the charitable arm of the Chicago Bar Association, the CBF’s mission recognizes that taking a leadership role to ensure equal access to justice is our common cause as a profession, and that we can make a distinct impact in advancing that cause by the legal community coming together through the CBF.

The CBF pursues two overarching goals to improve access to justice:

  • Increasing access to free and affordable legal assistance for people in need, and
  • Making the courts and legal system more user-friendly and accessible for people without lawyers

Using a mix of grants, advocacy, pro bono and partnerships, the CBF pursues a two-pronged strategy to accomplish these goals:

  1. Supporting proven solutions that have an immediate effect, such as the CBF’s grants to established pro bono and legal aid organizations made possible by the annual Investing in Justice Campaign.
  2. Developing new and innovative solutions that drive long-term, systemic improvements, through initiatives such as the Justice Entrepreneurs Project, developing a network of Court-based Advice Desks and the CBF Legal Aid Academy.

Strategic Plan and Evaluation

The CBF’s work is guided by a comprehensive strategic plan developed and periodically updated by the CBF Board with input from all of our key stakeholders.

Thanks to growing leadership and support from throughout Chicago’s legal community and among our many other dedicated partners, the CBF has made tremendous impact improving access to justice and making the justice system more fair and efficient for everyone. Thousands of individual lawyers and other dedicated individuals, more than 200 law firms and companies, and many other committed partners make the CBF’s work possible. Learn more about how you can make an impact through the CBF.