Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership

Pro Bono Week


The Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee hosted a pro bono luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Lewis and Clark Community College in Edwardsville. This annual event commemorates National Pro Bono Week and recognizes the efforts of Pro Bono Pledge signatories and Pro Bono Service Award recipients. 

Granite City attorney Terry O'Leary received the Pro Bono Service Award for his outstanding pro bono service to to low-income individuals and charitable organizations. Circuit Judge Barb Crowder was awarded the Leadership Award as chair on the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee.

Dennis Orsey, ISBA third vice president, attended the event to congratulate the award recipients.

By Michael G. Bergmann

Coordinated by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, Pro Bono Week is intended to inspire greater pro bono participation by lawyers throughout the nation. This initiative provides an opportunity for legal organizations across the country to collaboratively commemorate the vitally important contributions of America’s lawyers, and to recruit and train the many additional volunteers required to meet the growing demand. The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service undertook this initiative to provide a format for showcasing the incredible difference that pro bono lawyers make to our nation, to our system of justice, to our communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve.

The ISBA commemorates this national celebration each year by encouraging its members to do pro bono and by recognizing those who meet the call. Two years ago, the ISBA launched its Pro Bono Partner initiative, through which members commit to: (1) seek out the local pro bono legal services being supplied to individuals or charitable, religious, or civic organizations in their community; (2) attend or support a recognition ceremony for those who participate in pro bono services in their community; (3) consider attending training provided to lawyers who provide pro bono services; and (4) commit to joining the efforts to increase access to the legal system.

The ISBA Delivery of Legal Services Committee organized two webinars in October geared towards those interested in helping low-income individuals with their legal needs. Tune in to “Working Effectively with Interpreters” on Wednesday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m., which is free for the first 26 registrants who agree to take a pro bono case in the next year. “Working with Low Income Clients” will be held on Wednesday, October 25 at noon, and is available at no cost for the first 30 registrants who agree to take a pro bono case in the next year.

By Michele Miller

Join attorneys at events all over Illinois to recognize outstanding pro bono accomplishments and educate attorneys for future pro bono work during National Celebrate Pro Bono Week 2014.

Prairie State Legal Services (PSLS) will present a live training session for the Volunteer Lawyer Courthouse Project at the Rock Island County Justice Center on Friday, October 24, 2014 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. This free session, which will also be webcast, will focus on training pro bono lawyers to provide legal representation to tenants facing eviction. Attorneys will receive 2.0 hours of MCLE credit for attending and are expected to volunteer for the project at least twice. The training will include an overview of basic landlord/tenant law, focusing on tenant rights and eviction defenses, a mock trial, as well as sample documents and relevant case law.  The Volunteer Lawyer Courthouse Project provides opportunities for volunteer attorneys, while working with PSLS, to screen clients, provide legal advice and, if necessary, negotiate a settlement with the landlord or represent the tenant at trial.
 

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.