PRO BONOWEEK 2015– RISE ABOVE YOUR NARROW CONFINES
field, they can and do become a force for social change within their communities and profession.” The same is true today. Instead of just reading about the problems in Chicago’s troubled neighborhoods while shaking their heads in frustration, attorneys pro- vide real help. “I love volunteering at the Woodlawn Clinic,” says Katie Jahnke Dale, a DLA Piper associate, “Being there reminds me of why I became a lawyer, and helps me remain connected to my com- munity.” Clinics provide attorneys with work on a variety of interesting legal issues. Because they are collaborations between social ser- vice and legal aid agencies, volunteers get the help they need to help their clients, including legal support and supportive social services. Volunteers at LAF’s Woodlawn Clinic have helped a woman who’d suffered four aneurysms get her Section 8 housing voucher reinstated, helped another woman obtain a no contact order against a neighbor who was stalking her, represented a single mother in a closing on her first home, and made it possible for a man to untangle himself from a mass of bureaucracy which had resulted in a gross overstatement of his child support obligations. This compelling work reminds volun- teers why they wanted to become lawyers in the first place. Shawna Boothe, an associate at SchiffHardin, considers volunteering at a legal clinic more than a professional obliga- tion. “I believe my volunteer work did not end with helping a single mother and her family; it had an impact on the community in which this family lives in and in which I practice law. I can proudly say this because I have seen such impact first-hand.” Help your professional community, help the Chicago community, and help yourself by volunteering at a neighborhood legal clinic.
Volunteer at a Neighborhood Clinic You can improve your community by volunteering at a neighborhood clinic. Find a time, location, and experience that is a good fit for you. Here are a few clinics that need volunteers now: CVLS’Clinic Program expanded quickly as founder John Ferren’s idea to bring free legal advice to low-income Chicagoans took hold, and he began to develop clinics in neighborhoods across the city.The Christian Action Ministry Clinic inWest Garfield Park closed in the mid-80s, later to be replaced by the newly-formed Legal Prep Community Law Clinic serving the same area. CVLS Clinics serve clients in neighborhoods all over Chicago at various days and times and in a number of areas of law. Here is just a sample of the CVLS clinics available: Chinatown Pro Bono Legal Clinic / Chinese American Services League Housing Forward / St. John’s Lutheran Church Indo American / Indo-American Center Jane Addams / CVLS Our Lady of Mercy / St. Clements Church Trinity United Church of Christ Visitation Church CVLS Neighborhood Clinics (contact Kathy Koester at email@example.com): School-based clinics include one hour of CLE accredited training (no prior experience necessary) and 2-4 hours of assisting juveniles with expungement petitions. Center for Disability & Elder Law Senior Legal Assistance Clinics (contact Caroline Manley at firstname.lastname@example.org): Ten Cook County clinics assist low-income seniors and people with disabilities with a variety of legal issues, including simple estate planning, powers of attor- ney, uncontested divorces, consumer fraud, collections defense, guardianship, real property and landlord/tenant. LAF Juvenile Expungement Clinics (contact Kate Shank at email@example.com):
Margaret C. Benson is Executive Director of Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
26 OCTOBER 2015
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