Chicago Bar Foundation Report
Take the Pledge
“A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back–but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.” –Marian Wright Edelman
By Bob Glaves CBF Executive Director
I magine what it would be like to be victimized by consumer fraud or domestic violence. Imagine you had no legal knowledge, training or skills. Now imagine facing the justice system on your own because you could not afford neces- sary legal help. That would be a scary and daunting situation for anyone, yet it hap- pens to thousands of people each week in Chicago because there is not nearly enough free or affordable legal help to go around. The CBF’s new Justice Pledge reflects two indisputable truths. First, far too many people in our community cannot get the legal help they need to protect their rights and achieve justice. Second, You can join the hundreds of your colleagues who already have taken the Justice Pledge by taking the pledge at c hicagobarfoundation. org/pledge. And you can find out more about how to start carrying out your pledge today by visiting chicagobarfoundation.org or by at- tending one of themany great events scheduled for this year’s CBA/CBF Pro Bono Week the last week of October.
while equal access to justice is one of our country’s foremost principles and a funda- mental responsibility of our government, as lawyers and CBA members we have a professional responsibility to take the lead in ensuring the justice system is fair, acces- sible and efficient for everyone. As lawyers, we have been given a special privilege, effectively having been handed the keys to the justice system. With that privilege comes a special responsibility to use our training and skills to help ensure that people who can’t afford our services have access to the justice system. That responsibility is underscored in the Pre- amble to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, in the questions about pro bono and related giving in our annual attorney registration statements, and in the CBA’s
standing Pro Bono Resolution (see page 38). Every day that goes by when people in our community can’t count on the justice system being fair and accessible, we lose a key part of who we are as a profession and as a country. Taking the Pledge underscores your personal commitment to take the lead in doing something about that. Wherever you are in the legal community, you can contribute your time, your money, and your influence to advance this common cause of our profession. Some of us have more time to give than money, while for others the opposite is true. All of us have important influence in our networks, in the justice system, and in the policymaking process.
18 OCTOBER 2015
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