The JEPY Awards

The Sixth Annual JEPY Awards took place on Tuesday, June 14 at Midwest Coast Brewing Company (2137 W. Walnut St.). Stars of the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project, friends, family, and community partners gathered to celebrate innovative practices, expanded access to legal services, and lawyering with panache. We hope you can join us next year!

Questions about COVID-19 and events? Please, visit the CBF’s COVID-19 Event Policy here.


Innovation in Legal Service Delivery

Innovation is at the heart of JEP network practices and necessary to meet the needs of the underserved. This award is for the JEP network firm pushing the envelope — whether through set pricing, unbundled offerings, tech efficiencies, innovative delivery models, or community accessibility– to better serve the underserved middle market for legal services.

You Don’t Know Until You Try

Doing things differently is risky. Sometimes, you take a chance and are rewarded for your bold decision, your trailblazing idea, your spectacular effort. Sometimes not. This award celebrates the resilience of pioneering practices and is for a courageous attempt that showed promise, but just didn’t pan out.

Branding All Star

Is it the logo? The tag line? The clothes? The hair??? This award will go to the JEPer who has distinguished themselves in the marketplace with a distinct and memorable identity and brand that resonates with potential clients before the JEPer says a word. Check out their websites, social media, e-newsletter, blog, etc. to get a feel.

Pro Bono Champion

To the JEPer who has gone above and beyond in their service to the legal aid community and the clients unable to afford any legal help.

Spirit of the JEP

To the JEPer who most embodies the ideals and aspirations of the JEP, its Alumni, Advisory Board, Partners, and Participants. This lawyer’s association with the program makes us all proud to be a part of it!

Best Lawyer in a Limited Scope Role

Offering unbundled, customized services is one way JEPers make their help affordable to middle income clients. This award recognizes the JEPer doing an outstanding job of offering limited scope options to their clients.

Best Pandemic Pivot

“The Rona” threw us quite a curveball this past year. The world changed overnight and JEP attorneys and others had to respond quickly. Sometimes the response required JEPers to pivot by including a new practice area, reworking pricing structures, or reworking their business model. Luckily, JEPers were up to the challenge. This award recognizes the JEPer who made the biggest pandemic-inspired pivot in 2020.

2021 Winner:  Tie – Rao Legal, LLC (Mitha Rao) and Vanguard Advocates, LLP (Robert Alexander and Kimber Russell)

Best JEP Website

For many legal consumers, their first contact with a lawyer is through the lawyer’s website. This is especially true during a pandemic. It’s therefore important for the website to make a good first impression. As we’ve learned from our GrowthPlay friends, legal consumers buy emotionally and then use logic and facts (e.g., pricing) to rationalize their decision. This award goes to the JEPer who has accomplished both goals with their website.

2021 Winner:  Next Level Law by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq. (Daniel R. Hernandez)

2017 Winner:  Chi City Legal (Conor Malloy and John Norkus)

Best JEP Lawyer in a Supporting Role

The JEP network and experience would not be what it is today without the support, collaboration, mentorship, and camaraderie of fellow JEP attorneys. All JEP attorneys commit to these principles upon acceptance into the program. This award recognizes an attorney who has gone above and beyond in these areas and in doing so has enhanced the JEP experience for others.

2021 Winner:  Tie – Rufus Barner, Daniel R. Hernandez, Roya Samarghandi and Phillip Sprouse*