News Tag: Legal Aid Organizations


August 10, 2018

CBF Grants: A Legacy of Impact

In the 70 years since its founding, the CBF has given out nearly $50 million in grants to support pro bono, legal aid and related initiatives, and more than $42 million since 1999.

Over that time, the CBF has honed its grantmaking focus around access to justice and expanded its grantmaking partnerships with other foundations, the courts, and government entities. More than 5,200 individual donors, more than 200 law firms, corporations and other law-related organizations, and the CBF’s many dedicated partners have enabled the CBF to increase our annual grants more than tenfold over the past 20 years. Today, the CBF awards over $2 million in grants, investing in the entire pro bono and legal aid system in our community.

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August 2, 2018

CBA Legal Aid Committee: Sometimes You Want to Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Of the 100+ committees that the Chicago Bar Association provides, an attorney is sure to find a place to call home among like-minded professionals in their field. The legal aid community is no exception.

The CBF is proud to partner with and staff the CBA Legal Aid Committee, bringing together representatives from pro bono and legal aid organizations to address topics of common interest and to share information with one another. The Committee also works to further the understanding that each legal aid organization is part of a broader network in order to encourage collaboration and foster a sense of community.

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January 11, 2018

Legal Aid Committee—Selected Highlights 2017

In 2017, perhaps more than ever before, we saw the impact that the pro bono and legal aid community can have when everyone bands together to effect change. We saw lawyers come together all over the country, and in Chicago we can be particularly proud as is evidenced by the CBA Legal Aid Committee’s Selected Highlights from 2017.

The Committee’s—which the CBF staffs—compilation highlights some of the very best of how pro bono and legal aid can have a positive impact on every level, from helping individual clients to sweeping class actions, from legislation and far-reaching policy changes to entirely new programs, like the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network, that help people most in need. These highlights include everything from how advocates helped to end the Illinois budget crisis to collaborations addressing the needs and fears of our immigrant neighbors and their families.

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November 17, 2017

Serving as the Court’s Eyes and Ears to Protect the Vulnerable: CVLS’ Guardian ad Litem Program

Ajay Sundar, an associate at Skadden Arps, wanted to put his legal skills to help others, and he volunteered to do just that through the CVLS Guardian ad Litem for Minors Program.

As Ajay recently recounted, CVLS quickly assigned him a pro bono case involving an eight-year-old named Ley’gacy, who was living with her grandmother. Her grandmother had guardianship because Ley’gacy’s mother was unable to care for her, but her mother—who had a history of mental illness and instability–was now seeking to assert her parental rights. Then, one day, Ley’gacy disappeared from her grandmother’s home. She had been kidnapped by her mother.

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July 21, 2017

Pro Bono Opportunities with CVLS

Interested in doing pro bono work and want the opportunity to explore different types of cases and time commitments? Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) is having a new volunteer orientation on Thursday, August 24th at 12:15pm at their offices (33 N. Dearborn St., #400) where you can sit down with a CVLS staff attorney as they take you through the ins and outs of being a CVLS pro bono attorney.

Register Online

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June 26, 2017

Removing Barriers for People with Disabilities

Access Living was founded in 1980 as one of the nation’s first ten Centers for Independent Living (CILs). The organization’s goal is simple: to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as those without disabilities to conduct lives of dignity and independence. With departments specializing in independent living skills, advocacy, and legal services, Access Living provides a unique combination of assistance in championing the rights and empowerment of people with disabilities. Access Living is the only CIL that has a Legal Services Program, and it is this impactful program that you support through the Investing in Justice Campaign.

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May 24, 2017

First Defense Legal Aid Helps Close a Key Gap in Access to Justice on the Criminal Side of the System

When someone gets arrested, the first 48 hours can be a critical time. During this period, police officers have access to any number of resources that detainees may not, including access to the State’s Attorney for legal counsel. Low-income detainees, on the other hand, rarely have legal representation at this point and often don’t understand all of their rights in what can be a very intimidating situation for them.

In Illinois, people who are arrested and need legal counsel but cannot afford it have to wait until a hearing from a judge to have a public defender appointed for them. The problem, however, is that this appointment can take 48-72 hours to take place and happens usually after the arrestee has been formally charged. When looking at the numbers, this lack of legal help for detainees is striking. In 2016, only 1% of almost 87,000 people arrested and in the custody of the Chicago Police Department had access to an attorney.

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April 24, 2017

An Evolving Partnership to Advance Civil Rights

“Kayla,” a mother of three holding Housing Choice Vouchers, sought to move her family into a safer neighborhood. Although she was initially welcomed by a landlord to visit the unit, once he discovered that she held federal housing vouchers, he was no longer interested. The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, one of the many […]

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March 22, 2017

Improving Financial Stability One Tax Dispute at a Time

“Mark” was awarded a settlement from a wrongful death suit, but his legal problems did not end when he received the money. The IRS processed this money incorrectly, treating it as taxable income. At the point when Mark turned to the Center for Economic Progress (CEP) for assistance, he had an IRS balance exceeding $130,000 and a levy on his wages. A Taxpayer Advocate at CEP’s Tax Clinic was able to help him correct his account with the IRS. Because of CEP’s help, the IRS ended the wage levy, eliminated Mark’s balance, and refunded him over $16,000 for wrongfully levied proceeds.  Almost half of this money has gone to cover Mark’s student loan debt.

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February 27, 2017

Promoting Justice and Due Process for Immigrants for Over 30 Years

Growing up in El Salvador, sisters Maria and Ana lived in constant fear. A gang had forcibly recruited the older sister by threatening to harm the younger sister. On top of that, both siblings suffered significant child abuse from a family member. The sisters fled the country and sought safety in the U.S. Once in the Chicago area, they were connected with the National Immigrant Justice Center, one of the many outstanding organizations you support through the Investing in Justice Campaign. NIJC’s staff spent extensive time earning the children’s trust and learning their story. With NIJC’s legal assistance, Maria and Ana were granted asylum and can now begin their recovery in the United States.

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