CBA Record September-October 2023
PRO BONO WEEK 2023 – GETTING PERSONAL WITH PRO BONO
Stories from 3 Attorneys & Their Clients
Getting Personal with Pro Bono
I n support of our 2024 Pro Bono Week theme, “Getting Personal with Pro Bono,” we spoke with attorneys and the cli ents they have supported and asked them to share their personal stories of connection. If you would like to make a difference in someone’s life, see the shaded box on how to get involved with the organizations profiled below.
cated to handle on her own. This case caught my eye. Nancy needed our help, and I was training a new volun teer and thought this would be a good one for us to handle together. The case looked straightforward because the attorney had filed an identical case in 2013, word for word. CVLS Deputy Director Phil Mohr suggested I move to dismiss based on res judicata. I did and won the motion. The case was dismissed. Problem solved! Or so I thought. However, that attor ney filed another case, this time to enforce the 2015 settlement agreement, claim ing $30,000 in damages and significant attorney’s fees. Litigation ensued—writ ten discovery, dueling surveys, depositions, and contested hearings. CVLS’s Chancery Court attorneys Dan Quarfoot and Rima Sleiman got involved, immediately jump ing in to help me every step of the way. I stuck with this case because I believe in the work CVLS does and because the prop erty dispute was frivolous. I knew we could do right by our client. At every turn, Dan asked if I wanted to keep going and the answer was always yes, because I was learn ing something new, from res judicata to virtual depositions to arguing for summary judgment. It was fun. I love to win, and I
was taking care of my client. She needed us, and I didn’t want to let her down. This July, the judge entered an order finding in Nancy’s favor and dismissing the case. Nancy was thrilled. I was happy to have been able to help her during her time of need while also getting to develop my litigation skills. For Nancy’s sake, I hope this dispute is over. But if not, that’s ok—I am up for another challenge! Before I connected with CVLS I felt lost, confused, and depressed because I did not know where I could get help for this prob lem. Until I found CVLS. During the case, I felt scared, ner vous, and a little depressed. But I also felt positive at the same time. When the case ended and Attorney Jennifer Weed called me to let me know we won, I cried. I was so happy. I’m so grateful for CVLS and Attorney Weed. She did a wonderful job. I cannot thank her enough for her patience and the hard work she put into it. Thank you so much, Ms. Weed. Forever grateful. Lots of hugs. Nancy CVLS Pro Bono Client
Jennifer Weed, JD, MEd Vice President, Learning Innovation and Brand Strategy for CalCPA
I met Nancy in early 2021 during the time I chaired the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Jane Addams Clinic. Nancy was upset because she was being sued, once again, by an angry next-door neighbor who wanted unimpeded access to Nancy’s property. The neighbor had originally sued Nancy in 2013, but they’d reached an agreement and that case had been dis missed. Now, another attorney had filed the same suit, asking for even more money in damages. Nancy didn’t know what to do this time, and the case was too compli
Save the Date! Young Lawyers Section Pro Bono & Community Service Fair Get up close and personal with pro bono on October 26 at the YLS Pro Bono & Community Service Fair at McDermott Will & Emery. You will have the chance to meet with over 30 pro bono and volunteer organizations to find the fit right for you. Stay tuned for details and registration at www.chicagobar.org.
22 September/October 2023
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