ISBA honors John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award recipients
NIU College of Law, Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic
During its 137th annual meeting, the Illinois State Bar Association awarded John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Awards to attorney Michael McEIvain, the McDonald’s Corporation, and the Clark County Bar Association for performing extraordinary pro bono service in civil legal matters. The John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Awards are awarded each year to individuals, law firm / corporate legal departments, and bar associations who either provide free legal services to residents of Illinois who are unable to afford a private attorney or expand the availability of legal services to income eligible residents of Illinois. The John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Awards are granted each year in memory of attorney John McAndrews who was a champion of pro bono services throughout his career and instrumental in establishing the Illinois Pro Bono Center, as well as implementing the findings of the Illinois Legal Needs Study.
Attorney Michael McElvain is the recipient of the John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award for an individual attorney. Attorney McElvain was nominated for the McAndrews award by the McLean County Bar Association and Prairie State Legal Services. Attorney McElvain was instrumental in the creation of the McLean County Pro Bono Plan which was adopted in 2010 by the McLean County Bar Association to expand the voluntary efforts of bar members to deliver legal services to low income persons. Attorney McElvain serves as Chairperson of the Pro Bono Committee and as the Chair of the McLean County Bar Association’s Conflicts Board. In the last year, attorney McElvain personally handled 14 pro bono cases and dedicated well over a hundred hours to providing direct legal representation to individual clients in need. Assistant Clinical Professor Stacey L. Tutt, who previously served as the managing attorney of Prairie State Legal Service’s Bloomington office, described attorney McIvain as “a man of great humility who rarely takes credit for his contributions” and who “work[s] tirelessly both for his clients and underserved.”
The John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service is awarded to the McDonald’s Corporation for its dedication and commitment to creating and expanding pro bono opportunities for attorneys, paralegals, and legal support staff at all levels and providing critical legal services to low income residents of Illinois. In Chicago alone, McDonalds has partnered with over ten public interest law organizations, including the Center for Disability and Elder Law, Equip for Equality, the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, the National Immigration Justice Center, and the Public Interest Law Initiative. In the last year, 70 % of the attorneys working at McDonald’s Oak Brook legal department participated in pro bono activities which totaled over 650 hours of pro bono service. According to Mary Meg McCarthy, Director of the National Immigrant Justice Center, “the legal services provided by McDonald’s attorneys are critical to the well-being of our communities” and that “[w]ithout the assistance and commitment of the McDonald’s team, many of these individuals [victims of domestic violence and other crimes] would not be able to obtain legal protection or employment authorization, or to remain safely with their family.”
The Clark County Bar Association is awarded the John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service award in recognition that 100% of the eligible attorneys in Clark County delivered pro bono legal services in 2012. Ramona Sullivan, attorney for Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, commends the pro bono attorneys in Clark County who “provide free and reduced fee services to many other individuals and organizations beyond the clients referred through Land of Lincoln, but they still make to participate in our pro bono program.”