2023 – Steven P. Blonder

Steven Blonder has been dedicated to pro bono and community service work throughout his legal career. Since his time at the University of Chicago Law School, he has been committed to increasing equity and fairness in the justice system. As both a legal counselor and a litigator, he has used his experience and expertise to consistently take on big pro bono cases for some of Chicago’s most vulnerable community members while also leading and supporting pro bono work among his colleagues and peers. 

Steve started his legal career at Jenner & Block, where he had the good fortune to meet Edward Lewis, whom he greatly admired for his pro bono commitment. Now as a Principal and Management Committee Member at Much Shelist P.C., Steve uses his position to engage in pro bono work and increase access to justice for underserved people. He leads the firm’s social responsibility initiative – Much Community – and encourages his colleagues to support nonprofit groups, dedicate time to pro bono work, and volunteer for important causes outside of the office.

As one of his colleagues aptly put it, “Steve stands tall as an advocate for the voiceless.” He has advocated for survivors of sexual abuse, victims of housing discrimination, people with disabilities, immigrants, and many others. He has authored amicus briefs on immigration issues and Jim Crow laws before federal appellate courts and state supreme courts. Steve’s peers note that he does not shy away from complicated or intimidating circumstances. As just one example, Steve enthusiastically took on a complex case on behalf of Access Living and led a federal lawsuit against Uber under the Americans with Disabilities Act to help ensure users of motorized wheelchairs were given adequate services. Steve also provides legal and strategic counsel behind the scenes to a number of community organizations on a wide array of issues.

Along with his exemplary pro bono work, Steve currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Ark, a human services organization that supports members of the Chicagoland Jewish community. He has also served in leadership roles on many other nonprofit boards over the years.

Steve’s devotion to pro bono, equity, and access to justice embodies the qualities celebrated by the Edward J. Lewis II Public Service Award.