News Tag: Legal Aid Organizations


October 12, 2018

Investing in Illinois’ Legal Aid Attorneys: The 2006 Recruitment & Retention Report

At the turn of the 21st century, a problem that had been simmering for many years exploded—law student debt had become a serious burden to lawyers pursuing legal aid or other public service jobs. Law school tuitions had skyrocketed, and legal aid salaries had not kept pace with this rising law school debt or private […]

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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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September 11, 2018

How a Gift to the CBF Becomes a Grant with Exponential Impact

Grants to support pro bono and legal aid organizations have been a central part of the CBF’s work since its inception. Last year, the CBF awarded over $2 million in grants, investing in the entire pro bono and legal aid system in our community.  A lot goes into determining how the CBF allocates these grant […]

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August 16, 2018

Pointing the Way to the Right Legal Help

We are fortunate in Chicago to have a robust and committed pro bono and legal aid community, with more than thirty organizations offering free or affordable legal help to people who would otherwise have nowhere to turn. While there is not nearly enough help to go around for everyone who needs it, people looking for help still struggle to figure out how and where to start their search. Upon seeing a list of the many excellent pro bono and legal aid organizations serving the Chicago area, people often describe it as “alphabet soup” and can find it overwhelming.

The CBF saw a need for a better way to connect people with the valuable free and low-cost legal resources in our community. Almost two decades ago, the CBF worked with the CBA Young Lawyers Section, CARPLS and other partners to create the original version of “Where to Go for Legal Assistance in or Around Chicago.”

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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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