CBA Record January-February 2020

was initially unsure about law as a career. “I felt that if I was going to join an existing law firm, I would have to suppress portions of my personality,” she said. But everything changed after she discovered the JEP. “What JEP does is help people understand how to create a framework to house the practice.” Leaving the security of her job to launch her own firm wasn’t easy, but Fatimeh loves her life now. “[Starting LITE] was super scary, but it was exponentially less scary than the idea of working in a law firm…doing work I didn’t care for. Now, I can’t imagine ever going back.” The JEP’s entrepreneurial curriculum and strong network of support helps attor- neys in all practice areas establish their own sustainable firms to serve a population that has been frequently overlooked in the legal market. The JEP is now a national model that has helped inspire the creation of similar programs throughout the country, meaning

Keith Southam

Fatimeh Pahlavan

legal counsel and legal education work- shops to help people create and monetize a business. Fatimeh said, “My ambition is to free individuals to be self-actualizing and ultimately also to create a richer economy in which we have greater representation in the marketplace.” Coming out of law school and working as a judicial law clerk, Fatimeh

many more people are getting the help they need in Chicago and beyond. Such wide- spread success also proves that lawyers don’t have to join traditional law firms to build a successful practice—there are ways to sustain- ably serve financially limited clients with the right business model.

Sheriff Tom Dart Kicked Off a Look at How to Best Represent Clients with Mental Health Issues

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart visited the CBA on November 14 to kick off a discussion exploring the challenges lawyers and judges face in assisting and representing clients with mental health issues. “Searching for Answers: Serving Clients with Mental Health Issues” examined how the criminal justice system handles mentally ill detainees, the mental health pilot program in the Circuit Court of Cook County, diversionary programs for those withmental health issues and lawenforcement training inassisting the mentally ill. Sheriff Dart also discussed his efforts to enhance treatment and programming for the mentally ill persons at Cook County Jail. A recording of the program is available via on demand video at (see pricing and MCLE information online).

Participants in the program included Matthew Davison of the Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission; Cook County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Sharon Sullivan; Alexa James, Executive Director of the Chicago Office of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); Sheriff Dart; John W. Whitcomb, chair of the CBA’s Mental Health and Disability Law Committee; and Robert Kreisman, chair of the CBA’s Public Affairs Committee.


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