CBA Record January-February 2020

CBA Announces Partnership with “Lawyers in the Classroom” Program By Sally Daly, CBA Public Affairs Director

T he Chicago Bar Association has partnered with a long- standing civic education program that brings lawyers directly into the classrooms of Chicago-area elementary schools. CBA members are invited to join the cause to help teach students about the U.S. Constitution and the principles of democracy. The new partnership is with the Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers in the Classroom program, which had previously been administered by Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC). The program has now been transitioned to the Association’s charitable entity, CBA Television Productions Inc. “The Chicago Bar Association has long supported the out- standing work of Constitutional Rights Foundation’s Chicago’s Lawyers in the Classroom program,” said CBA President Jesse Ruiz. “This partnership is a perfect fit for the mission of our associa- tion and our philanthropic objectives. I know that our members will answer the call to volunteer and participate in this outstand- ing program.” The program places attorney volunteers in second through eighth-grade classrooms to teach a curriculum that promotes civic education and teaches students about their rights and responsibilities embodied in the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. Teachers and lawyers serve as role models for the students and augment civics lessons, using real-life experiences to enhance critical thinking skills. More than 600 attorneys from 40 Chicago law firms have participated in the program. Teams of lawyers from large and small firms partner with individual schools and visit the school three times per year to conduct the program. Approximately 60

Chicago-area schools are participating in the program this year. Benjamin Kurtz, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, was introduced to the program when he was a summer intern at Kirkland in 2007 and has been volunteering for the program ever since. “This program provides a fun, interactive learning experience that challenges students to think critically about civic participa- tion and justice,” said Kurtz, who now leads his firm’s participa- tion in the program. “The students’ insight and creativity are contagious, and attorneys who volunteer leave energized to return again for future sessions.” Tiffani Watson, an educator and former dean who adminis- tered the program for CRFC for the last two years, has joined the staff of the CBA and will continue to lead the Lawyers in the Classroom Program. “We are tremendously excited about this partnership, and I look forward to connecting the members and the resources of the Chicago Bar Association to foster strong partnerships with our teachers and students,” said Watson. Members who wish to volunteer for the Lawyers in the Class- room Program can contact Watson at or at 312-554-2060.

The CBA Young Lawyers Section partnered with the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Chicago Legal Protection Fund team to host immigration legal screening clinics at Malcolm X College and Wilbur Wright College on November 19. During the event, 40 legal volunteers provided 40 legal screenings to community members.


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