Spotlight on Pro Bono: Pro Bono Opportunities With the Illinois Aging Network
by Karen Alice Kloppe
Free legal assistance is available to qualifying older adults in priority civil cases based on available funding allocated to each of the 13 Area Agencies on Aging in the Illinois Aging Network under the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965, as amended. (Public Law 89–73 as amended through Public Law 116–131.) The goal is “to assist older individuals in understanding their rights, exercising choices, benefiting from services and opportunities authorized by law, and maintaining the rights of older individuals at risk of guardianship. See 42 USC 3058j(5) and 42 USC 3002(33) (defining the term “legal assistance”).
Karen Alice Kloppe is a graduate of Illinois State University (B.A.) and the University of Illinois College of Law (J.D.). She is employed at the Illinois Department on Aging in Springfield, Illinois. After serving in the Office of General Counsel for 15 years and working her way up to the position of Deputy General Counsel, Karen transitioned over to a new job as the Legal Assistance Developer, a required position under the federal Older Americans Act. Karen provides technical assistance and support for advocacy and preventive programs, including the Adult Protective Services Program, the Home and Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, and Older Americans Services, which funds elder rights and legal assistance programs through the 13 Area Agencies on Aging in Illinois. As the Legal Assistance Developer, she also facilitates planning and support efforts relating to other legal advocacy services for the elderly and adults with disabilities offered through the Aging Network, various elder rights organizations, bar associations, providers, and individual practitioners. Karen is a member of the National Association of Legal Services Developers. She serves on the board of the Illinois Guardianship Association. She also maintains memberships in several local bar associations and the Illinois State Bar Association, in which she serves as the Newsletter Editor for the Elder Law Section Council.