Celebrate Pro Bono Week: Illinois Events + Volunteer Opportunities

pro bono weekOctober has a number of connotations associated with it. Pumpkins, Halloween, the changing of the leaves, football, to name a few. But for lawyers, one more thing that often comes to mind this month is pro bono service.

Each year, during the last week of the month, lawyers across the United States take part in Pro Bono Week. This year is no different, especially for Illinois lawyers.

Volunteer opportunities, CLE programs, and more fill up our calendars. In fact, the number of opportunities to give back during Pro Bono Week is often overwhelming. So much so, that many lawyers don’t know where to begin.

Therefore, this year, the Commission compiled a list of upcoming opportunities and events for Illinois lawyers. So take a look to see if any of these Pro Bono Week events pique your interest:

Monday, October 24th:

Breaking Poverty Barriers to Equal Justice: Sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation, this panel presentation takes a closer look at a day-in-the-life of those in most need of legal aid. This CLE program will provide lawyers with insight on how to better serve our clients, especially those living in poverty. The event will take place at the Chicago Bar Association (321 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, Illinois) from 3:00-5:00pm. 

10th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee’s 3rd Annual Celebrate Pro Bono Reception: Justice Kilbride will kick off this annual event honoring the Illinois lawyers committed to pro bono service in Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark, and Tazewell counties. The Pro Bono Reception is sponsored by the Legal Services Division of Caterpillar, Inc., the Peoria County Bar Association, Prairie State Legal Services, Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), and the Tazewell County Bar Association. The event will take place at the Caterpillar Visitor’s Center (110 SW Washington Street, Peoria, Illinois) from 5:30-7:30pm. 

Tuesday, October 25th:

Breakfast With Judges: Join the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation for a panel at Jenner & Block this year. Members of the Illinois legal community can hear from a number of state and federal judiciary about pro bono service over coffee, donuts, and more. The event will take place at Jenner & Block (353 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois) from 8:00-9:00am.  

Wednesday, October 26th:

Sixth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Week CLE: Legal Professionals living near Decatur won’t want to miss out on this Pro Bono Week Event sponsored by PILI. The first hour consists of the 1-hour CLE all about advising clients on wills and advance directives. Attendees will also hear from Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, learning how they can give back to those in need. The event will take place at the Macon Country Courthouse (253 E. Wood Street, Decatur, Illinois) from 11:45-1:15pm. 

Thursday, October 27th:

23rd Annual Pro Bono and Community Service Fair: The Chicago Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division is hosting its free Pro Bono and Community Service Fair. Meet over 40 of Illinois’ legal aid, pro bono, community service and mentoring organizations and find an opportunity that fits your schedule, interests and goals. The event will take place at Kirkland & Ellis (300 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois) from 5:00-7:00pm. 

Sixth Judicial Circuit CLE Program & Awards Presentation: Lawyers living in the Sixth Judicial Circuit can take part in a CLE program in Savoy, Illinois this year in honor of the Pro Bono Week. The CLE, approved for 1-hour of CLE credit, will educate lawyers on how to assist clients obtaining an adult legal guardianship. Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation will also present information to attendees on how they can volunteer regularly through their organization. The event will take place at the Regent Ballroom (1406 Regency Drive West, Savoy, Illinois) from 11:30-1:00pm. 

Lawyers Lending A Helping Hand – Feed My Starving Children: Members of the legal community can give back during Pro Bono Week, without needing to use their legal expertise. Join local attorneys and their families to serve those in need by preparing meals that will be distributed to disaster relief organizations across the globe. The event will take place at Feed My Starving Children (555 Exchange Court, Aurora, Illinois) from 6:00pm-8:00pm. 

Saturday, October 29th

Eleventh Judicial Circuit Legal Advice Fair: Prairie State Legal Services, State Farm, PILI, the Immigration Project, Mid Central Community Action, and the McLean County Bar Association are hosting a free legal advice fair in Bloomington this year as part of the Pro Bono Week celebration. Attorney volunteers will assist low-income Illinoisans with legal issues surrounding family law, housing disputes, debt concerns, and more. The event will take place at Mid Central Community Action (1301 W. Washington Street, Bloomington, Illinois) from 9:00-12:00pm. 

Wednesday, November 2nd

Fifth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Celebration Dinner: Join Danville-area legal professionals, PILI, and the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation for a cocktail reception, dinner, and awards ceremony, honoring local attorneys who exemplify pro bono service. The event will take place at the Danville Country Club (2718 Denmark Road, Danville, Illinois) from 5:30-8:30pm. 

Lawyers can also serve their Illinois Community during Pro Bono Week through a number of ongoing initiatives and legal assistance foundations.

For example, attorneys can volunteer their time and/or donate to Chicago Volunteer Legal Services,, including its most recent innovation “Legal Answers“, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, the Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF), Prairie State Legal Services, Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), and more.

Likewise, attorneys also can make an impact using social media.

For instance, ABA President Linda Klein spearheaded a campaign this year geared towards serving veterans. Her idea was to encourage attorneys to showcase their service to those in need by sharing their experiences using #ABAServingVeterans. The same can be done for other pro bono projects not related to veterans using #ProBonoWeek, as well.

Opportunities abounds, there are plenty of ways to serve.

This Pro Bono Week, we encourage you to be a part of the movement to equal justice for all. We hope you continue to do your part this week, and throughout your legal career, to help those most in need.

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