Civility

How Are You Giving Back? Opportunities to Celebrate Pro Bono Week 2021!

Scales of justice Legal organizations around Illinois will draw attention to the need for pro bono participation this month during the 17th Annual Pro Bono Week. From October 24-30legal and civic organizations will hold virtual and in-person events that recognize the contributions of pro bono volunteers and highlight opportunities for pro bono work.

The demand for pro bono attorneys remains great, especially given the hardships created by COVID-19. The Legal Services Corporation anticipates an increase in demand for civil legal services due to the pandemic, specifically in the areas of eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence, unemployment insurance, and consumer scams.

In Illinois, some courts in Prairie State Legal Service’s coverage area, which includes 36 counties in northern Illinois, have reported an increase in residential eviction filings from 2-3 per week a year ago to 20-28 per week since September 1, 2021, according to Linda Rothnagel, Director of Advocacy Training at Prairie State. And Prairie State’s rental housing cases have more than doubled over the numbers a year ago.

Last month, ABA President Reginald M. Turner issued a call to action, asking attorneys across the U.S to commit to 10 hours of pro bono work before the end of the year. Perhaps 2021 is the year to pledge to pro bono service?

Pro Bono Week Opportunities in Illinois


Monday, October 25

Tenth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event 

The Tenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host an event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, recognize the efforts of local pro bono volunteers, and celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient. Additionally, Prairie State Legal Services, the Peoria County Bar Association, and the Tazewell County Bar Association will present pro bono awards to local volunteers.

The celebration video will premiere at noon. Advance registration is required.

Chicago Bar Association/Chicago Bar Foundation (CBA/CBF): Reentry Challenges & Pro Bono Solutions

Nearly one in three American adults has a criminal record, and people who have been incarcerated or have criminal records face a variety of obstacles to employment, housing, education, and other critical services. Learn how pro bono attorneys can help support successful rehabilitation and reentry efforts by volunteering with local legal aid organizations.

This event will begin at 3 p.m. Register here. 1 hour of CLE credit is available, subject to approval.


Tuesday, October 26

Third Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, recognize the efforts of local pro bono volunteers, and celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient.

The celebration video will premiere at noon. Advance registration is required.


Wednesday, October 27

CBA/CBF: Justice: An Evening of Stories & Community

Join your Chicago legal community colleagues for an evening of justice-themed stories told by audience volunteers. Interested in telling a story? Sign up and come prepared with a five-minute story to share. Storytellers and listeners alike are encouraged to attend.

This event will be held at Revolution Brewery in Chicago from 6 – 8 p.m. RSVP here.

First Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual CLE

The First Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this CLE program to increase awareness of the need for pro bono legal services and share how volunteers can help in the First Judicial Circuit. The Committee will also celebrate those who have performed pro bono work over the last year.

This virtual/live CLE program will be held from 4 – 5:15 p.m. Advance registration is required.

Eleventh Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual/Live Reception

The Eleventh 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.

This virtual/live reception will be held from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Advance registration is required.

Twentieth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Twentieth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, recognize the commitment of local pro bono volunteers, and celebrate the Land of Lincoln Pro Bono Award recipient.

The celebration video will premiere at noon. Advance registration is required.


Thursday, October 28

CBA/CBF: Immigration Updates: What’s Happening Now and How Can Pro Bono Attorneys Help?

Immigration laws, practices, and pro bono needs are constantly changing. Hear from experts on the ground about recent developments in the immigration landscape and how you can make a difference as a pro bono attorney.

The event will be begin at 1 p.m. Register here. 1 hour of CLE credit is available, subject to approval.

Sixth Judicial Circuit CLE & Awards Presentation

The Sixth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will co-host this CLE program with the Champaign County Bar Association and the Decatur Bar Association. The event will commemorate Pro Bono Week, recognize the commitment of local pro bono volunteers, and celebrate the Community Legal Services Award recipient.

This virtual/live event will be held from noon – 1 p.m. Advanced registration is required.

Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, recognize the commitment of local pro bono volunteers, and celebrate the Pro Bono Services Award recipient.

The celebration video will premiere at noon. Advance registration is required.

Fifth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Week Dinner

The Fifth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, recognize the commitment of local pro bono volunteers, and celebrate the Pro Bono Service Award recipients.

This in-person event will be held from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Danville Country Club. Advance registration is required by noon on Tuesday, October 26.

PILI Alumni & YPB Illinois Free Legal Answers Clinic

Join PILI for a demonstration of how to use the Illinois Free Legal Answers website, which is a virtual legal clinic and pro bono opportunity for lawyers to answer questions for those in need. This virtual event will be held from 4 – 5 p.m.


Friday, October 30

2021 Pro Bono Week Wrap Up

PILI will wrap up its 2021 Pro Bono Week celebration. In 2020, PILI wrapped up Pro Bono Week with a video featuring Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke, PILI Executive Director Michael G. Bergmann, and highlights from the week’s virtual events from around the state.

The virtual event will begin at noon.


Thursday, November 4

Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Reception

The Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, in partnership with the Rock Island County Bar Association, will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week and recognize the efforts of local pro bono volunteers whose work has helped to expand and enhance access to justice in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.

This in-person event will take place from 5 – 9 p.m. at the Oakwood Country Club.

Ongoing Pro Bono Opportunities

Looking for ongoing pro bono opportunities? Check out the Pro Bono Opportunity Guide from Paladin and the CBF or volunteer with an Illinois legal aid organization.

One of the best ways to give back is to become a mentor. Participants in the Commission on Professionalism’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program help shape the future of the profession while gaining new perspectives and practice tools from lawyers of a different generation. Mentors often report gaining more from the program than mentees. Attorneys who complete the program are eligible to receive 6 hours of professional responsibility CLE credit.

Plan to volunteer this year? Share your experience on social media using the hashtag #ProBonoNow.

Did we miss anything? Share any additional pro bono opportunities in the comments.

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