CBA Record September-October 2023

PRESIDENT’S PAGE BY RAY J. KOENIG III How I Get Personal with Pro Bono

The Chicago Bar Association

President Ray J. Koenig III

First Vice President John C. Sciaccotta

place, people were more likely to get all of the services they need, and to stay in care. One of TLC’s core functions is to offer direct legal services to transgender and gender expansive people. Primary prac tice areas are legal name changes, criminal records sealing and expungement, appeals for public benefits, employment matters, and housing and public accommodations discrimination. However, TLC needs our help: TLC’s only full-time staff are a legal director/staff attorney and a paralegal. Transgender and gender expansive people face financial barriers and dis crimination when accessing legal aid. In the last national survey conducted by the National Center for Trans Equality, 28% of respondents stated they experienced some form of discrimination when using legal services. Because of the discrimina tion-to-poverty pipeline, the trans com munity faces disproportionately high rates of poverty, making pro bono legal services essential to the community. All clients deserve to have culturally competent services. For example, dealing with an unemployment appeal is stressful enough without worrying if the attorney knows how to navigate official documents if the client uses a name different than the one on their documents. Here are some examples of the excel lent legal work performed by TLC: l As of 2019, Illinois Medicaid covers medically necessary gender-affirming care. However, some plans still reject pre-approval requests for gender affirming surgeries. Clients know their rights, so it can be a shock to receive a coverage rejection for this care; some have expressed suicidal ideation if they

Second Vice President Kathryn C. Liss

Secretary Trisha Rich Treasurer Nina Fain

Immediate Past President Timothy S. Tomasik

Executive Director Beth McMeen

T he theme of this month’s Record, “Getting Personal with Pro Bono,” reminds me of the pro bono services I’ve provided or coordinated over the years, beginning with service to LGBTQ+ clients at what is now known as The Center on Halsted. I’m also reminded that, like many lawyers, I do not do enough to directly provide or support pro bono legal services. The reality is that many, many organiza tions in the Chicago area greatly need our pro bono help for their clients. I’d like to share more about one such organization that inspires me – and hopefully you – to make time for more pro bono work. As a Trustee and Board Chair of Chi cago House and Social Services Agency for a decade, I became intimately familiar with the TransLife Care program, which provides healthcare and social services to individuals who identify as trans, non binary, or gender expansive. TLC offers drop-in clinics on Chicago’s north, west and south sides where community mem bers can receive a plethora of support ser vices. TLC was created with the idea that if multiple services were offered in one

BOARD OF MANAGERS Louis G. Apostol Tracy Brammeier Margaret Mendenhall Casey Naderh Elrabadi Anthony F. Fata Josie Gough Cynthia S. Grandfield Brian Haussmann Justice Margaret Stanton McBride Peter McNamara John Mitchell Jeffrey Moskowitz Judge Mary Rowland

Eirene N. Salvi Brendon Stark Kevin Thompson

Judge Allen P. Walker Matthew P. Walsh II

6 September/October 2023

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