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Attend the Delivery of Legal Services Committee’s free CLE on October 13

By Marisa Wiesman, Director of Volunteer Services, Prairie State Legal Services

Are you looking for something to do on October 13? I thought so. The ISBA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services is pleased to invite you to its annual CLE in honor of Celebrate Pro Bono Week. This year’s CLE, Limited Scope Representation: When Less is More, will be held on October 13, 2016 from 12:50 pm - 4:45 pm. Participants may attend in person at the ISBA regional office in Chicago or via live webinar from the comfort of your desk. Registration is free to attorneys who agree to accept one pro bono matter in the next year.

Why should you attend? There are so many reasons, but in the interest of space I’ll tell you about just three:

  1. Learn how you can use limited scope representation in your practice.

In 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court amended its rules to expand the use of unbundled civil legal services. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137 now explicitly allows attorneys to ghostwrite pleadings without entering an appearance, and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 13 authorizes an attorney to enter a limited scope appearance in a civil court case

Limited scope representation represents an exciting new business model; an ABA survey found that 2/3 of consumers were interested in exploring unbundled legal services. It is also a key tool to increasing access to justice. No longer must you turn away the client who approaches you without sufficient funds to retain you for an entire dissolution proceeding or small claims action. Under these new rules, the client can retain you to handle a discrete aspect of that case – whether that involves drafting initial pleadings or representing the client in court at a motion hearing. This means more (paying) business for attorneys. It also means that more litigants gain meaningful access the justice system; with several recent studies revealing declining public confidence in our justice system, this is critical.

Though these rules have been in place for three years, many attorneys and judges are still unfamiliar with them. The October 13 CLE will go through the mechanics of the rules – including how to enter a limited scope appearance and the rules for automatic (yes – automatic, no questions asked!) withdrawal; ethical considerations when entering into limited scope representation; and real attorneys will tell you how they have incorporated limited scope representation into their practice. We have a great panel of speakers lined up including David L. Berland of Prairie State Legal Services; Sandra Crawford of Law Crawford, P.C.; David T. Holtermann of the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois; Conor E. Malloy of Chi City Legal, LLC; Sari W. Montgomery of Robinson Law Group LLC; and Teri Ross of Illinois Legal Aid Online, and we are thrilled that Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride will welcome attendees.

  1. MCLE professionalism credit.

3.25 hours. Did I mention it’s free?

  1. Do good!

There is an overwhelming need for pro bono legal assistance in Illinois. There is just 1 legal aid attorney for every 7,227 low-income residents in Illinois, and almost half of low-income households experience one or more civil legal problem each year. Pro bono attorneys are critical to closing this justice gap.

Pro bono is easier than you think, and there are variety of opportunities available that cater to a range of experience and commitment levels. (Are you a retired, inactive, out-of-state, or corporate attorney? Illinois Supreme Court Rules 756(k) and 716 allow you to do pro bono!)

If you’re new to pro bono and a little nervous, a limited scope pro bono opportunity is a great entre. For attorneys who join us in person in Chicago on October 13, several legal aid organizations will be on hand with information about limited scope representation pro bono opportunities. (If you just can’t wait until October 13, you can always find information about pro bono opportunities on www.illinoislegalaid.org.)

You can literally change someone’s life just by doing what you’re trained to do. How great is that?

We hope to see you (in person or via the web!) at Limited Scope Representation: When Less is More on October 13 from 12:50pm-4:45pm. More information and registration is available here.

Posted on September 13, 2016 by Morgan Yingst