News Tag: Above and Beyond Volunteers


October 12, 2018

Clearing Voting Barriers for Chicagoans with Disabilities

Imagine you are excited about casting your ballot on Election Day and are turned away simply because you have a disability. Or imagine having to cast your ballot where other voters can see exactly how you vote.

Cynthia, a voter with a disability, was unable to use the accessible electronic voting machine at her polling place because the election judges did not know how to operate it. She was forced to cast her ballot sitting at a table in plain view of other voters with absolutely no privacy. Her only other option was to not vote at all. Cynthia’s experience illustrates the type of barriers people with disabilities routinely face when they seek to vote but are denied access to the election process.

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June 14, 2018

JEP Attorney Ericka McFee Is a Pro Bono Champion

Congratulations to JEP attorney Ericka McFee for being named the 2018 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Pro Bono Champion for the Chicago Chapter!

Ericka is a member of the May 2017 cohort of the Justice Entrepreneurs Project. She concentrates her practice on immigration matters of all kinds, from employment and family based immigration to removal defense and asylum. Prior to launching McFee Law Offices, P.C. in 2016, she was an Associate Attorney at the Chicago office of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen, and Loewy, LLP. She is an active member of the Chicago chapter of AILA, the Chicago Bar Association, and the DuPage County Bar Association. She also dedicates her time to volunteering at a variety of Chicago area non-profit organizations, including the National Immigrant Justice Center, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, the AILA Pro Bono Project, CARPLS, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, World Relief DuPage/Aurora, and The Resurrection Project.

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May 19, 2017

CBF Joins Colleagues from Throughout the Country to Advocate for Access to Justice

The CBF once again co-anchored the Illinois team at the annual ABA Day in Washington last month. Working with our colleagues at the CBA, ISBA and ABA and a number of dedicated volunteers, our Illinois team once again met with the entire Illinois Congressional delegation.

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August 17, 2016

Art SussmanArt Sussman (1942-2016)

The CBF mourns the passing of Art Sussman, a great lawyer and an even better person. Among Art’s many contributions to making our community a better place over the course of his accomplished legal career, Art was one of the charter members of the Steering Committee that developed the CBF’s Justice Entrepreneurs Project. Art played an integral part in taking the kernels of a good idea to shape and grow the JEP into the thriving initiative it is today. The MacArthur Foundation and the University of Chicago both published good articles about Art and a life well lived, and we extend our condolences to Art’s family and many friends.

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June 8, 2016

Unlimited Legal Training Thanks to PLI and Leonard McKenzie

Legal Aid Academy Colleague Corner
By Meg Benson, Co-Chair of the CBF Legal Aid Academy Advisory Committee

Leonard McKenzie loves legal aid lawyers. At least in the professional sense. He admires the work they do and wants to help them help their clients better.

Leonard is the Scholarship/Pro Bono Privileged Membership Manager for the Practising Law Institute, a national continuing legal education and professional training organization in New York. PLI offers attorneys hundreds of accredited CLE programming, both in person, on the web and on demand. Many programs are relevant to legal aid and pro bono attorneys. In fact, just a quick glance at the current schedule shows programs for working with homeless youth, serving on a nonprofit board, consumer law for pro bono clients, defending immigration proceedings and a public interest boot camp. There are scores more.

Leonard’s job is to make sure legal aid lawyers get these programs for free. Yes, free.

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February 8, 2016

The Honorable Mark A. Drummond: A Triple Threat

Legal Aid Academy Colleague Corner
By Meg Benson, Co-Chair of the CBF Legal Aid Academy Advisory Committee

Mark Drummond is a trial lawyer, a jurist and a teacher. All at once.

Judge Drummond has been on the bench in west-central Illinois’ 8th Judicial Circuit since 1999. Sitting in Quincy, on the banks of the Mississippi River, he presides over both civil and criminal trials.

We know that once an attorney puts on that black robe, he or she has to put aside the advocacy of litigation to remain impartial and objective. However, many attorneys believe that, Once a trial lawyer, always a trial lawyer and, underneath this judge’s black robe, beats the passionate heart of a trial attorney. As a result, in addition to serving as a judge in Quincy, he teaches litigation skills to attorneys around the world.

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October 21, 2015

Unconventional Donations Find Many Grateful Homes

When we think of ways law firms can support our pro bono and legal aid community, we think of the big two financial support and pro bono attorney hours. But as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom recently showed, support can take many forms, like in-kind contributions of equipment, supplies or services.

Several weeks ago, Skadden reached out to the CBF. After purchasing new equipment, the firm was getting rid of 40 high-speed, used but still perfectly-functioning printers. An email went to CBF grantee organizations and JEP participants. The response was swift and enthusiastic 13 pro bono and legal aid organizations and 6 JEP participants (and the CBF) each were thrilled to receive one or a few new printers.

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May 20, 2015

Meet Catherine Sanders Reach, CBA Director of Law Practice Management & Technology

Catherine Sanders Reach wants attorneys to know that no matter how proficient they are with today’s technology, there is always more to learn. Technology makes our work easier, more efficient, more productive and, often, more fun.

Director of Law Practice Management & Technology for the Chicago Bar Association, Catherine’s words of wisdom come from experience. Her first job out of the University of Alabama with her master’s of library and information studies in hand, was as a law firm librarian. The late €˜90’s were a heady time for her profession as information moved from print to digital…

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October 14, 2014

Andersons Continue to Lead by Example with $250,000 Gift to Renew Fellowship

A report on the financial challenges facing public interest lawyers caught the attention of Kimball Anderson while he was the leadership track on the CBF Board 12 years ago. The report revealed that these lawyers were not only underpaid, but many carried exorbitant school debt, causing them to leave the sector after a year or two.

At the time, however, a law school debt of $60,000 was considered to be high; today, it is not unusual for a recent grad to be saddled with a six-figure burden. In response to skyrocketing student debt, Kimball and his wife Karen Gatsis Anderson, notable philanthropists and Chicago attorneys, funded a groundbreaking public interest fellowship through the CBF in 2002 to help dedicated lawyers pursue these important careers. This year, the Andersons decided to renew their eponymous fellowship with the CBF for another five years, which will award five outstanding new legal aid lawyers $50,000 each to help with repayment of their law school debt. It is the couple’s second renewal since the fellowship was first awarded in 2003.

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May 30, 2014

Volunteers Take a Turn as Judge

Four CBF Young Professionals Board and CBA Young Lawyers Section members recently served as judges at the 12th Annual Mikva Challenge Action Civics Fair, which took place at the Chicago Cultural Center on May 28. The Action Civics Fair is a culminating celebration of the civic activism projects that Mikva youth throughout Chicago have been working on all year.

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