The Bar News

Celebrate Pro Bono Across Illinois: October 25-31, 2020

By Michael Bergmann, Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Initiative

Coordinated by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, Pro Bono Week is intended to inspire even greater pro bono participation by lawyers throughout the nation. In 2020, Pro Bono Week will be celebrated from October 25-31. This initiative provides an opportunity for legal organizations across the country to collaboratively commemorate the vitally important contributions of America’s lawyers and to recruit and train the many additional volunteers required to meet the growing demand. The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service undertook this initiative to provide a format for showcasing the incredible difference that pro bono lawyers make to our nation, to our system of justice, to our communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve. For more information, visit www.celebrateprobono.org.

The ISBA has commemorated this national celebration each year by encouraging its members to perform pro bono and by recognizing those who meet the call. This year, members of the ISBA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services also recorded special video messages to celebrate Pro Bono Week and to promote pro bono. More information and resources from the ISBA on Pro Bono Week and pro bono in general can be found at www.isba.org/probono. Additionally, several years ago, the ISBA launched its Pro Bono Partner initiative, through which members commit to: (1) seek out the local pro bono legal services being supplied to individuals or charitable, religious or civic organizations in their community; (2) attend or support a recognition ceremony for those who participate in pro bono services in their community; (3) consider attending a training provided to lawyers who provide pro bono services; and (4) commit to joining the efforts to increase access to the legal system. You can learn more about this initiative at www.isba.org/probono/partner

There are a lot of great programs and events happening across Illinois during this year’s celebration of Pro Bono Week. Many of these events, a good number of which are complimentary, are being organized by the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) through its Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees in partnership with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, Prairie State Legal Services, Inc., other local organizations and local bar associations.

Friday, October 23

Sixth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Sixth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories and to honor its Community Legal Services Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on Friday, October 23rd on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman.

Monday, October 26

Tenth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Tenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories and to celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on Monday, October 26th on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Thomas L. Kilbride.

Tuesday, October 27

Eleventh Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, and to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories and local pro bono volunteers to expand and enhance access to justice in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. A video will premiere at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 27 on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman.

Third Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories and to celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on Tuesday, October 27 on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier.

Wednesday, October 28

Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, and to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories and local pro bono volunteers to expand and enhance access to justice in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit. A video will premiere at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 28 on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Thomas L. Kilbride.

Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week and to celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on Wednesday, October 28 on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Burke.

Thursday, October 29

Twentieth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Twentieth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week and recognize the commitment of local pro bono volunteers in increasing access to justice. A video will premiere at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 29 on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier.

Fifth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Fifth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories and to celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on Thursday, October 29 on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman.

Friday, October 30th

PILI’s 2020 Pro Bono Week Virtual Wrap Up Event

As PILI wraps up the 2020 celebration of Pro Bono Week, a closing video will premiere at noon on Friday, October 30 on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke.

Visit www.pili.org/pro-bono-week to learn more about or to register to attend any of these events, or to learn more about PILI’s Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees. Information about the Illinois Pro Bono Pledge, which has been launched in five of these Judicial Circuits and has over 120 signatories statewide, can be found at www.ILProBonoPledge.org. You may also contact PILI Managing Attorney Jessica Schneider at jschneider@pili.org or 312-832-5125.

Want to do a little pro bono to celebrate Pro Bono Week? The Illinois Bar Foundation has been a seminal supporter of Illinois Free Legal Answers. Administered in Illinois by PILI, Illinois Free Legal Answers is a secure website where lower income Illinois residents can ask a lawyer for help with a legal issue. Qualified users post questions about civil legal problems then volunteer lawyers log onto the site – pro bono anytime and anywhere you can access the website - and select questions to answer. It’s a virtual walk-in legal clinic and a great bite sized pro bono opportunity. Log on to il.freelegalanswers.org today, sign up and get started!

Posted on October 22, 2020 by Rhys Saunders
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