S TRONGER TOGE THER , 50 YEARS AND COUNT I NG Back to the Future: 50 Years of the YLS By Jeffrey Moskowitz, YLS Chair
nizations and legal assistance programs for juvenile court defendants, families of prisoners of war or those missing in action, and inmates of Cook County Jail. The YLS also established the Neighborhood Justice Center to mediate and arbitrate small disputes. In the 1980s, the Section created the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center to pro- vide pro bono representation to income- eligible individuals involved in deportation and political asylum proceedings. The YLS expanded Law Day into Law Week; it established a project to provide legal counseling to women in Cook County Jail; and it founded a Lawyers in the Classroom program to provide junior high school students with a better understanding of how individual rights are enforced through the legal process. In the 1990s, the YLS significantly expanded its already extensive community engagement. It hosted its first Hunger Relief Drive, which raised $25,000 for local shelters; it ran its first Children’s Holiday Book Drive, which collected over 3,500 books; and it began its Dear Santa Letter Campaign, where it sent gifts to
underprivileged children who sent letters to the post office for Santa. In addition, the Section implemented a volunteer clinic with the Citizens Utility Board to keep the heat on for people in poverty. During the 2000s, Wills for Heroes was born, an event where volunteer attor- neys create wills for local emergency first responders. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the YLS partnered with the American Bar Association to find attorneys to provide legal services for victims and their families. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, YLS members travelled to New Orleans to assist the community with its legal needs. Additionally, the YLS assisted in draft- ing the updated Chicago Lawyers Court handbook, created information pamphlets on the Freedom of Information Act and domestic violence, and updated numerous popular YLS publications. In 2020, the Racial Justice Coalition (RJC) was formed in response to an urgent and ongoing need for law enforcement reform and the eradication of systemic racism. The RJC is a collaboration of over 30 leading organizations in the Chica- goland community and beyond who are actively advocating for change through community service, civic engagement, and education. Together, we have been able to provide pro bono advance directive services to seniors and public benefits assistance to those in need. The YLS also facilitated substantive seminars on the significance of cultural competency, prosecutorial ethics, and legislative advocacy. The Coalition also engaged in transformative conversations with government officials, faith leaders, and local activists committed to change. The RJC is dedicated to using its influ- ence and the power of its united front to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession and our communities for many years to come. As we look ahead to the next 50 years, the only thing I can guarantee is change.
W e interrupt your regularly sched- uled programming to bring you the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) issue. For those of you who are not aware, it is the 50th year since the inception of the YLS! So, come with me as we jump into the CBA DeLorean, gun it to 88 mph, and head back to 1971. “Joy to the World” byThree Dog Night is the number one song on the charts; Rich- ard Nixon is the President; gas is 40 cents per gallon; the average income is $10,600; the average home cost is $25,250; and the YLS is born. In the 1970s, the YLS developed legal aid programs for artists and fine arts orga-
TheYLS Executive Council has beenmeeting virtually during the pandemic and contin- ues to develop education, pro bono, and networking opportunities for young lawyers. Have an idea for a program? Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. 24 March/April 2021