Ways to Give Back During Pro Bono Week 2020

Pro Bono Week 2020Legal organizations around Illinois will shift their focus to pro bono later this month during the annual Pro Bono Week celebration. From October 25-31, legal and civic organizations will hold virtual events that highlight the need for pro bono service and acknowledge those who give their time.

The demand for pro bono attorneys is great. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about economic hardships and a sharp increase in legal needs not seen in decades. In July, 97% of Legal Services Corporation grantees anticipated a sharp increase in legal needs arising from COVID-19 in the areas of eviction, foreclosures, unemployment assistance and appeals, consumer debt, and income maintenance.

Model Rule 6.1 states that lawyers have a “professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay.” Last year, almost 32,000 attorneys who were registered in Illinois provided 1.9 million hours of pro bono service. This was down slightly from 2018.

For many, virtual work environments and canceled activities have created more free time; perhaps 2020 is the year to commit to pro bono service. Below are ideas to get you started.

Pro Bono Week Opportunities


Friday, October 23

Sixth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event: The Sixth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories, and to honor its Community Legal Services Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman.

Monday, October 26

Tenth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event: The Tenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories, and to celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride.

CBA/CBF’s Justice: An Evening of Stories and Community: Kick off Pro Bono Week with 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. The virtual event will be held from 5 6 p.m.

Tuesday, October 27

Eleventh Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event: The Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week and to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories and local pro bono volunteers. A video will premiere at 8:30 a.m. on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman.

Third Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event: The Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories, and to celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier.

CBA/CBF’s Never Fully Free: Addressing the Harm of Permanent Punishments: The Heartland Alliance will present research on the impact of permanent punishments on people with criminal records. The Alliance will be joined by legal aid organizations that work in areas where legal advocates are most needed. The virtual event will be held from 2 3:15 p.m. 1 hour of CLE credit subject to approval.

PILI Legal Answers Clinic: PILI Alumni and Young Professionals Board Members will gather virtually from 4 – 6 p.m. to learn how to use Illinois Free Legal Answers and answer 1-2 questions for those in need through this discrete pro bono opportunity.

Wednesday, October 28

Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event: The Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, and to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories and local pro bono volunteers. A video will premiere at 8:30 a.m. on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride.

Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event: The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week and to celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Burke.

CBA/CBF’s Good Trouble: A Documentary Screening & Film Discussion: Watch this new documentary about the late Congressman John Lewis (a link will be provided) then join the CBA/CBF for a discussion on voting rights and nonpartisan pro bono opportunities. The virtual event will be held from 3 – 4 p.m. 1 hour of CLE credit subject to approval.

Thursday, October 29

Twentieth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event: The Twentieth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week and recognize the commitment of local pro bono volunteers. A video will premiere at 8:30 a.m. on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier.

Fifth Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Virtual Event: The Fifth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will host this event to commemorate Pro Bono Week, to recognize the efforts of its Pro Bono Pledge Signatories, and to celebrate its Pro Bono Service Award Recipient. A video will premiere at noon on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman.

CBA/CBF’s 27th Annual Pro Bono & Community Service Fair: Over 40 of Chicago’s legal aid, pro bono, community service, and mentoring organizations will gather at virtual “tables” to meet with members of the legal community and share opportunities to make a difference. The event will be held from 4 5:30 p.m.

Friday, October 30

PILI’s Pro Bono Week Closing Video: A Pro Bono Week closing video will premiere at noon on PILI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and will feature remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke.

For more Pro Bono Week 2020 activities, visit Celebrate Pro Bono.

Ongoing Pro Bono Opportunities

Looking for ongoing pro bono opportunities? Check out the Pro Bono Opportunity Guide from Paladin and the Chicago Bar Foundation 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’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.

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Laura Bagby
As Communications Director, Laura develops and executes strategy to elevate the Commission among attorneys and judges in Illinois. Laura leverages communications channels to educate and engage with the legal community in support of the Commission’s mission of increasing civility and professionalism to enable the administration of justice. When she’s not in the office, you’ll find Laura taking in a show at one of Chicago’s top-notch theatres, planning her next international trip or hanging out in Lincoln Park with her one-eyed Chihuahua, Manny.
Laura Bagby

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Laura Bagby
As Communications Director, Laura develops and executes strategy to elevate the Commission among attorneys and judges in Illinois. Laura leverages communications channels to educate and engage with the legal community in support of the Commission’s mission of increasing civility and professionalism to enable the administration of justice. When she’s not in the office, you’ll find Laura taking in a show at one of Chicago’s top-notch theatres, planning her next international trip or hanging out in Lincoln Park with her one-eyed Chihuahua, Manny.
Laura Bagby

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