News Tag: Advocacy


December 7, 2018

The Price of Admission to the Courts: Tackling a Barrier to Access to Justice

The events in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and their aftermath shined a national spotlight on an access to justice issue that too often was previously below the radar: the undue burden that court fees and fines can present for low-income and disadvantaged members of the community.

Illinois already was ahead of the game in recognizing these […]

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October 9, 2018

The Illinois State Government’s Conduit for Access to Justice

“Equal justice is a basic right that is fundamental to democracy in this State, and the integrity of this State and this State’s justice system depends on protecting and enforcing the rights of all people.”

That is the opening paragraph for the Illinois Equal Justice Act, which the Illinois General Assembly passed in 1999 with broad […]

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September 28, 2018

Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same […]

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September 21, 2018

A Match Made in Justice: Cy Pres Awards and Legal Aid

In class action cases (and occasionally in other types of proceedings like bankruptcy and probate matters), it is fairly common that some of the funds ordered to be paid to the class cannot be distributed to all of the class members or go unclaimed. What to do then?

Over the years, cy pres or residual fund […]

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September 14, 2018

Local Challenges, State and National Solutions

Many of the access to justice issues we face in the Chicago area require action on the state or federal level to resolve. Working with many dedicated partners on the local, state and national levels, the CBF’s advocacy and community leadership extends well beyond the borders of Cook County, along with its impact.

A good example […]

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August 31, 2018

Justice for Youth Campaign Called Attention to a Budding Crisis

Back in the early 1990’s, the juvenile court and juvenile welfare systems were fighting an increasingly losing battle to protect and care for thousands of abused, neglected or troubled children in Cook County and elsewhere in Illinois. The CBF saw this budding crisis as an opportunity and, in partnership with The Chicago Bar Association, launched […]

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August 17, 2018

What’s in a Name?

Many know the CBF works with the courts, the legal community, and pro bono and legal aid organizations to ensure that the courts are user-friendly, accessible, and fair for the increasing number of people navigating the legal system without lawyers. What is less known, however, is that work sometimes takes us to Springfield to advocate for changes in the laws that have made the court system unduly complicated in the first place.

While many changes can be implemented at the court level, others are embedded in the fabric of our laws. Several years ago, the CBF recognized that there was a unique opportunity for us to include these kinds of simplification efforts in our annual advocacy plan. But where to start?

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July 5, 2018

Advocacy and Access to Justice

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, the CBF is reflecting on the legislative advocacy work that has been an integral part of fulfilling our nation’s promise of equal access to justice for all. We look forward to highlighting a number of specific successful initiatives over the course of our 70th Anniversary year.

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April 24, 2018

CBF Goes to Washington: Legal Aid Funding, Student Debt and Immigration

Leaders from the CBF again traveled to Washington D.C. earlier this month along with representatives from the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) and American Bar Association as part of the ABA’s annual ABA Day in Washington. Each year, Congress considers legislation and budget issues that impact access to justice, the court system, and the legal profession. That’s why it is vital that leaders in our legal community in Chicago, and elsewhere in Illinois, engage with our members of Congress on important issues impacting access to justice for Illinois residents.

This year we focused our efforts on three important access to justice issues: funding for the Legal Services Corporation, maintaining the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-based forgiveness programs as part of broader student debt reforms, and continuation of two proven programs recently suspended by the Department of Justice: legal orientation programs (LOP) for immigrants in detention and help desks in the immigration court in Chicago and elsewhere in the country.

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March 27, 2018

Educational Debt, Public Service Loan Forgiveness on the Agenda for Congress this Spring

As the costs of higher education and the resulting explosion of debt to finance it increasingly weigh on newer lawyers pursuing legal aid, public service and other socially conscious careers in law, it has created whole new challenges for access to justice. The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and several income-based repayment (IBR) programs for federally backed student loans have made these legal careers viable for thousands of dedicated lawyers who otherwise would have to take a different path due to the financial challenges.

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