Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
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Pro Bono

In early 2017, the Illinois Bar Foundation joined the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice, the Chicago Bar Foundation, and the Public Interest Law Initiative in releasing a statewide survey to hear directly from attorneys about their experiences with pro bono.

The Pro Bono Survey Project is part of a national effort spearheaded by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service to study broader pro bono trends across the country. Nearly 6,000 attorneys in every judicial circuit, county, and practice setting in the state responded to the survey. The thousands of responses reflect the diversity of both our state’s attorneys and their experiences with pro bono. 

This month, as we celebrate Pro Bono Week, we would like to share some survey highlights and helpful websites to learn more about pro bono.

The ABA Futures Initiative and the association's Center for Innovation have created ImmigrationJustice.us, a portal for attorneys and others responding to President Trump's executive order on immigration (now stayed by a restraining order). People interested in volunteering legal or language expertise can sign up there to work on behalf of affected immigrants. Attorneys and others can also find information on the travel ban and other immigration-related issues, such as habeas corpus and detention. Find our more from the ABA Journal.

Another new website, Airport Lawyer, connects travelers affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban with free lawyers who can help them. The ABA Journal has more.

Antonio Romanucci
Antonio Romanucci
John Marshall Law School alumnus Antonio Romanucci has given $100,000 to the law school’s Pro Bono Program & Clinic. This first-of-its-kind gift will help fund the clinic for the next two years, John Marshall Dean John E. Corkery announced today.

Romanucci, a leading Chicago plaintiff’s attorney, hopes his gift will make the Clinic’s work more impactful. “I would like to see the Clinic not only help the individual client, but also help insure the right policies are put in place moving forward so society is affected positively by the work we do,” said Romanucci, a 1985 graduate of the law school.

Holland & Knight announced Thursday that it has established a pro bono program for lawyers in financial need facing Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) proceedings. Called the “Attorney Defense Initiative,” the new program is the first of its kind in the nation.

By Marisa Wiesman

Are you a retired, inactive, out-of-state, or in-house corporate attorney? Did you know that you can perform pro bono services in Illinois? 

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756(k) (formerly 756(j)) allows retired, inactive, and out-of-state attorneys to perform pro bono services through a not-for-profit legal services organization, governmental entity, law school clinical program, or bar association sponsoring entity. (For a partial list of sponsoring entities, click here.). The process is simple: the pro bono attorney and sponsoring entity file a pro bono authorization form with the ARDC; the pro bono attorney completes any training the sponsoring entity requires; and the pro bono attorney and sponsoring entity annually file a pro bono renewal form with the ARDC.  It’s that easy!

Steven Hunter
Steven Hunter
The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced that Chicago partner Steven Hunter has been appointed as the pro bono general counsel of the Northeast Illinois Council (NEIC) of the Boy Scouts of America, Inc.

The NEIC - Boy Scouts of America has been building a strong foundation of leadership, service, and community for thousands of America's youth since 1929. The council serves to help prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The Northeast Illinois Council (NEIC) serves 12,000 scouts, operates 3 off-site camping facilities and has over 100 people on staff. "I'm honored to serve as the pro bono general counsel of the Northeast Illinois Council of the Boy Scouts of America," stated Hunter. "I am also honored that my firm would commit the time and resources necessary to provide first-rate pro bono counsel to an organization with such diverse and challenging legal needs."

Hunter is a trial lawyer with first-chair experience representing companies in all phases of litigation and alternative dispute resolution, including discovery, "e-discovery," motions practice, arbitration, mediation, jury trials, bench trials, and appeals. He also represents pro bono clients in criminal, family law, and political asylum proceedings.

He received his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and his bachelor's degree from Brown University.

About Quarles & Brady LLP

Pro Bono Attorneys Serve Legal Prep Families and Neighbors in Garfield Park

The Alumni Network Leadership Council of the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) has partnered with Legal Prep Charter Academy and Chicago Volunteer Legal Service (CVLS) to launch the Legal Prep Community Law Clinic, a community-based clinic for the student families and neighbors of Legal Prep in Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood.

Through the Community Law Clinic, Alumni of PILI’s Law Student Internship and Graduate Fellowship Programs volunteer to help families and neighbors of Legal Prep students address critical legal needs. With the support of CVLS staff, these volunteers provide pro bono services on all civil, non-fee generating, non-class action cases. Types of cases might include family law, eviction, consumer debt, foreclosure, adult/child guardianship, and more.

The Community Law Clinic is held on the second Tuesday of every month from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Legal Prep. The first clinic took place in January 2015. In addition to organizing the Clinic and recruiting Alumni to volunteer, PILI has invited law firms that offer PILI’s Graduate Fellowship Program to “adopt” a Clinic session. The firm would be responsible for recruiting four to six PILI Alumni from among its attorneys (PILI currently has over 3,600 Alumni, many of whom work in Chicago) to volunteer with the Clinic for that month. Kirkland & Ellis LLP, which has sponsored the largest number of PILI Fellows of any firm, has been the first to sign on and adopt the month of November 2015.

Next training cycle begins November 5

Volunteer hotline attorneys wanted to give advice to low-income clients in the areas of landlord/tenant, consumer debt, and family law. Day and night shifts are available. Daily hotline shifts are Mondays-Fridays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or 1 p.m.-5 p.m. A minimum commitment of 1 shift per week over a 10-week session is requested. Evening shifts are Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m.–8 p.m. We seek a minimum commitment of 36 hours over a one-year period. Training (with CLE credit) and malpractice insurance provided.

Our next training cycle begins Wednesday, November 5, 2014 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. For more information, contact Leslie Wallin at 312/421-4427 or lwallin@carpls.org or go to http://www.carpls.org/getinvolved/hotlinevolunteer/

The Illinois State Bar Association, along with the ISBA Delivery of Legal Services Committee, is proud to participate in this year’s National Celebrate Pro Bono Week from October 19 through October 25, 2014, and invites all ISBA members to get involved.  

One of the most fundamental American values is that we are all equal in the eyes of the law and the justice system, regardless of who we are, where we are from, or how much money we have. However, the justice system only works when people have access to the legal assistance they need.

National Celebrate Pro Bono Week aims to expand the delivery of pro bono legal services and increase access to justice. At a time when so many Illinois families are struggling, legal services can make a real difference in people’s lives.

ISBA members are urged to get into the pro bono spirit and sign the ISBA Pro Bono Partnership Pledge, encouraging attorneys to incorporate or increase pro bono services in their practice. If you are able, please donate the time to accept a new pro bono client; or consider making a financial contribution to an Illinois legal aid provider in your area.

Members are also encouraged to take advantage of a CLE program on Friday, October 24, in Joliet titled “Pro Bono Palooza: Family Law, Employment Law, and Ethics.” This program provides an opportunity for members to learn the basics of employment law and be introduced to more complex financial issues arising in divorces. Attendance is free to all attendees who commit to taking just one pro bono case.


An Honor Roll of more than 140 lawyers in the 3rd Circuit (Madison and Bond counties) were honored at a Pro Bono Luncheon on October 22 in Edwardsville.

From left: Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier served as guest speaker; Chief Judge of the 3rd Circuit, David Hylla, welcomed a roomful of attendees; Judge Barbara Crowder chairs the 3rd Circuit Pro Bono Committee, the first to be formed in the state, and is secretary of ISBA's Delivery of Legal Services Committee; and Lois Wood, executive director of Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, is chair of ISBA's Delivery of Legal Services Committee.