News Tag: Resources


November 8, 2018

Looking at the Court System through the Eyes of the People

To the say that the legal system looks daunting to someone who is not trained in the law and is often facing a serious legal issue when they arrive at the courthouse would be a vast understatement. And that is even more true at the Daley Center, perhaps the largest and busiest single courthouse in […]

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November 5, 2018

Pricing for Access to Justice

The billable hour is dead! You’ve likely seen this headline a time or two over the past couple of years, and for good reason. As CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves pointed out in his 2016 blog post on pricing, we’ve largely priced the proverbial regular guy, and even ourselves sometimes, out of the market for […]

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October 16, 2018

Top of the Class: The CBF Legal Aid Academy

Chicago’s pro bono and legal aid organizations are top notch, teeming with some of the best lawyers in their respective fields. Even the most dedicated legal aid lawyers in these organizations, however, can face daunting challenges to making long-term commitments to these vital careers.

Financial challenges—which can be very real for lawyers making relatively modest public […]

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October 16, 2018

Stand by Someone Who Needs You, In a Way Only You Can

This year’s Pro Bono Week theme, “Celebrating the Power of Pro Bono,” invites us to think about what that power looks like in real life to someone who is facing a serious legal issue but unable to afford the legal help they need. As I often do, I am turning to music for my inspiration, echoing the choice of theme song for our Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon earlier this year.

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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 4, 2018

From Zero to Two Million and Counting

Back in 1999, when the initial conversations that led to what is now Illinois Legal Aid Online began, the idea that people would have access to and use the Internet to get legal information and resources—particularly low-income and disadvantaged people—was considered questionable at best. While it is hard to imagine now when virtually everyone has […]

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September 20, 2018

Legal Aid Yields a Strong Return on Investment

A well-funded legal aid system helps to ensure that our justice system is fair and efficient for all, regardless of income. Like us, you’re probably thinking that’s all the reason anyone would need. But then there’s the icing on the cake. Studies from more than 25 states, including Illinois, have repeatedly shown that it is […]

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August 30, 2018

Expanding Practices and Access through Limited Scope

Across the country, the civil justice system is undergoing a transformation. More and more litigants are appearing in court without lawyers, making up well over half of the civil litigants in Illinois and closer to 75% nationally. Self-representation is no longer limited to the poorest users of the court system; growing numbers of middle-class people […]

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August 22, 2018

A Roadmap to Resources in the Courts

Throughout the thirty floors and 120 court and hearing rooms of the Richard J. Daley Center, you can frequently hear court patrons asking the same question over and over again, “Where do I go?” The building is big, the largest courthouse in the state, and it can seem overwhelming with its multiple elevator banks and unclear signage.  While many helpful resources are located in the building, its sheer size and scale can make it challenging to keep track of who they are and what they do. Court patrons in a need of a specific service may not be able to find it easily, and Illinois JusticeCorps volunteers can’t cover the entire building.

The CBF saw an opportunity to improve the navigation process within the building by working with the Circuit Court of Cook County Pro Se Advisory Committee to develop a referral sheet for people without lawyers.

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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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