CBA Record Sept-Oct 2019
with one client to secure transportation, housing, winter clothing, and food. David can be commended for his empathic, compassionate, and always enthusiastic nature. Leonard Jay Schrager Award of Excellence: Maureen Kieffer As the Assistant Dean for Career Services at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Maureen Kieffer has worked to cultivate awareness and interest in public service work among countless law students and has spearheaded new initiatives to support them in their careers. Maureen’s passion for social justice comes through in the Public Interest Law Seminar that she co-teaches, and in her involvement with the law school’s externship program. As a career services professional, Maureen is sensitive to the logistical and financial challenges of pursuing public interest careers. She was instrumental in the development of the school’s post-graduate public interest fellowship program, which offers financial support to recent graduates searching for legal aid positions. Maureen stands out as a truly effective advocate, both for public service and for the students at Loyola. Her dedication to social justice is obvious to her colleagues and law students, as is her compassion and empathy. Thomas H. Morsch Public Service Award: Lisa Parsons Lisa Parsons has spent her 30-year legal career fighting for those who have fallen through the cracks—individuals struggling with homelessness, chronic mental illness, and substance abuse disorders. Since 2007, Lisa has been the Program Director of the Homeless Outreach Project at Legal Council for Health Justice. In striving to be non- judgmental, trustworthy and collaborative, Lisa is not only able to provide quality legal services to her clients but also remind them of their strength, resilience, and ability to overcome the negative health consequences of trauma and chronic stress. Whether it is conducting outreach on a street corner, an abandoned building or a treatment program, or spending countless hours analyzing thousands of pages of medical records and drafting compelling legal arguments to ensure the best outcomes, Lisa takes on the true responsibility of the profession and embodies the best of Chicago’s legal community.
Jim (left) and Tom Morsch with Lisa Parsons, recipient of the 2019 Morsch Public Service Award.
For more information on the 2019 honorees or the individual awards, visit chicagobarfoundation.org/awards. A partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, Steve Pflaum is dedicated to fostering a culture that supports pro bono and access to justice in Illinois. In addition to chairing his firm’s Pro Bono Committee, Steve has The Richard J. Phelan Public Service Award: Judge Cheryl A. Starks Judge Cheryl A. Starks has dedicated her career to public service. When she retired from the bench in 2010, her commitment to public service did not stop, it just took on a new form. Since that time, she has worked tirelessly on a volunteer basis with the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission (TIRC), the state agency authorized to gather evidence about claims of torture in Cook County related to former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. Faced with many funding and administrative challenges, Judge Starks remained focused on the organization’s mission of healing the wrongs of the systemic torture committed against dozens of poor, African Americanmen and providing a space for judicial review. She worked tirelessly to ensure that due process would finally be available to those who had been deprived of it many years ago. Under her guidance and advocacy, TIRC grew into a stronger, more effective institution with a firm stance on justice. Edward J. Lewis II Pro Bono Service Award: Steve Pflaum
also chaired the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee, the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility, and most recently, the Illinois Statutory Court Fees Task Force. He has worked to create new rules that increase the pool of attorneys in Illinois who can provide pro bono service and expand the use of limited scope representation to help pro bono and legal aid organizations serve clients more efficiently. These efforts have fundamentally transformed the pro bono and legal aid landscape in Illinois and helped countless people receive much-needed legal help. More recently, Steve played a lead role in groundbreaking Illinois legislation to overhaul the system of statutory court fees and fines to reduce the financial burden of litigants and to improve access to the courts. Maurice Weigle Exceptional Young Lawyer Award: David Pi In his first six years as an associate at Schiff Hardin LLP, David Pi has already proven himself to be a true leader at the firm and in the broader legal community. In his relatively short legal career, David has already completed nearly 3,000 hours of pro bono work, taking on a wide range of cases including Section 1983 litigation in federal court; complex asylum matters with the National Immigrant Justice Center; and family law cases through the firm’s neighborhood clinic inRogers Park, operated in partnership with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. David has also demonstrated an unwavering commitment to caring for the holistic needs of his clients, working
CBA RECORD 15
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