CHICAGO (February 17, 2009) – Jeffrey E. Stone, partner and head of McDermott Will & Emery's Trial Department, will chair The Chicago Bar Foundation's (CBF) 3rd Annual Investing in Justice Campaign this March. The CBF's Investing in Justice Campaign has raised nearly $2 million in just two years to support Chicago's legal aid community, helping to ensure that thousands of low-income and disadvantaged Chicagoans have access to the justice system.
"During an economic crisis the need for legal aid continually rises while other major sources of legal funding steadily decrease. As legal need grows exponentially it is imperative that the legal community contributes to our legal aid system and raises funds for the most at risk members of our community," said Mr. Stone. "We must ask ourselves, if we as the legal community do not provide for this need, who will?"
With this annual Campaign, Chicago's lawyers have proven that they can make a powerful impact when they come together as a legal community. The duty to help meet this need has never been more important than now.
According to CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves, "As lawyers, we are the guardians of the justice system. This Campaign is our opportunity to come together as a legal community around this cause, and we've proven we can have a real impact when we do that."
Leading the way in the effort to close this huge gap in access to justice, the CBF Investing in Justice Campaign is a community-wide effort through which thousands of individual lawyers in law firms and corporations throughout the Chicago area come together to support a cause that is uniquely important to lawyers and the legal profession: ensuring that everyone has access to our justice system.
There are fewer than 300 legal aid attorneys in the Chicago area today to serve more than 1 million low-income Cook County residents who qualify for their services. As a result, the majority of low-income Chicagoans who seek legal assistance that is often critical to their safety and independence are turned away and left to solve complex legal problems on their own because pro bono and legal aid organizations do not have the capacity to serve them.
100 percent of the funds raised in the Campaign again will be used for CBF grants to strengthen Chicago's pro bono and legal aid organizations; enable dedicated lawyers to pursue careers in legal aid and help pro bono attorneys to most effectively supplement their efforts; and underwrite innovative projects that make the justice system more user-friendly and accessible for those in need. All expenses associated with the Campaign are either being donated or underwritten by the CBF.
The CBF expects dozens of law firms and area corporations to participate in this year's Campaign. Official invitations to participate in the 3rd Annual Campaign were delivered in January, and a number of firms already have committed to participate. A complete list of firms participating is available by calling the CBF.
As the charitable arm of The Chicago Bar Association, The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) brings our legal community together around a cause that is uniquely important to lawyers and legal professionals: ensuring that everyone in the Chicago area has access to our justice system, particularly the low-income and disadvantaged Chicagoans who most need the protections of our civil legal system.
The CBF plays a distinct and vital role in the community by taking a system-wide approach to tackling this issue. Through grants, advocacy and other programs, the CBF:
- Advances the work of our community’s pro bono and legal aid organizations;
- Enables dedicated lawyers to pursue careers in legal aid and helps pro bono attorneys most effectively supplement their efforts; and
- Makes the courts and legal system more user-friendly and accessible for all.
The CBF's work is made possible by the generous support of thousands of individual contributors, more than 150 law firms and corporations, and many other dedicated partners. For more information about the CBF, please call Bob Glaves 312-554-1205 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.