April 2019Volume 24Number 4PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)

Chair’s column

On May 17, the Women and the Law Committee, in conjunction with the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Black Women’s Lawyers Association, and North Shore Law, will present a Continuing Legal Education program, Girls in Crisis: Foster Care and Unaccompanied Immigrants.

The program and preceding lunch features award-winning national speakers and the Interim Director of the Department of Children and Family Services. We are grateful to Tomasik Kotin Kasserman LLC which has graciously sponsored the program and lunch allowing us to charge attendees a nominal fee of $25, for the afternoon at Loyola Law School.

Lynn Price, a former Illinois foster child who now lives in Colorado, will be our keynote speaker and panelist. Twenty-five years ago, Lynn founded Camp to Belong, which has reunited more than 13,000 siblings who live in separate foster, adoptive or relative homes for a camping experience at sites throughout the United States and Australia. Her passion has garnered her many awards, including the Presidents Service Award from President Clinton, Oprah’s Angel Network Use Your Life Award and the University of Illinois Humanitarian Award.

We are also thankful that Debra Dyer-Webster, the Interim Director of the Department of Children and Family Services will present on the issues currently facing girls in the foster care system and how, we as lawyers, can provide pro bono help for such girls. Ms. Dyer-Webster has spent 28 years working for DCFS and has held many positions including Chief Deputy Director, Guardianship Administrator and Chief Deputy General Counsel.

Chiquita Oglesby, a dedicated Danville social worker, who has served as a rehabilitation counselor, a foster care team supervisor and a care coordinator and is a licensed foster care parent, will round out our panel on girls in foster care.

Our outstanding speakers on unaccompanied immigrant girls are Ashley Huebner, associate director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center and Sara Elizabeth Dill, a partner at Anethum Global in Washington, DC.

Ms. Huebner oversees the NIJC’s Asylum Project and immigrant children’s programs. She specializes in asylum issues related to gender-based claims and unaccompanied children. She conducts legal trainings and provides technical support to pro bono attorneys who take on such cases under the auspices of NIJC. Ms. Huebner regularly lectures at national trainings regarding these issues and complex immigration topics.

Ms. Dill’s practice includes legal representation, consulting and lobbying throughout the world. She previously served as a Commissioner for the ABA Commission on Immigration among other leadership positions within the American Bar Association. She has an extensive pro bono practice, representing victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, as well as successfully litigating asylum and convention against torture cases. She is a regular voice on national and international media outlets, including CNN, Al Jazeera, ABC News, NBC News, NPR, BBC and other outlets. She was a founding member of the Dulles Justice Coalition, an organization of attorneys mobilized to provide legal assistance in response to Executive Orders and the Muslim Ban. She has also given a TED Talk on why Girls and Women Should Not Be Weapons of War.

Needless to say, the program will be exciting. The speakers are expected to provide not only background material on these important issues but also how, we as a legal community, can individually and collectively assist these girls in crisis. Interested persons can register for the lunch and program at https://www.isba.org/cle/path?pathPage=%2Fisba%2Fcourses%2F11467%2Fin_person_events%2F297.

Lori G. Levin is chair of the Standing Committee on Women and the Law. She is an experienced criminal and juvenile defense attorney who practices in the Chicagoland area. She can be reached at 312-972-3756 or levin@lorilevinlaw.com. Her website is www.lorilevinlaw.com. She can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chicagodefense and Twitter @LoriLevin.

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