Post authored by Angela Inzano
I don’t know about all of you, but Thanksgiving is a big deal in my family. We love our Thanksgiving traditions, from stuffing ourselves like turkeys, our annual post-dinner Disney movie, and cheering on Ohio State to victory over Michigan (I seriously am just begging for negative comments on that one).
One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions, one that my family tolerates and indulges me in every year, is watching all ten Thanksgiving-themed episodes of the television show “Friends.”
As you may know, “Friends” episodes are all entitled “The One Where…*insert thing that happens in that episode*.” As I started thinking about what I was thankful for this year, one of the things that I am most thankful for is all of you, the attorneys out there who dedicate your time, money, and influence year-round to ensure that everyone has equal access to justice. So, in keeping with my favorite Thanksgiving tradition, here are a few of my favorite “A2J episodes” from this past year.
The One Where You Brought A2J to DC
We continue to be so grateful for those of you who advocate for access to justice legislative initiatives on the state, federal, and local level. Our elected officials don’t always hear about funding for legal aid or court simplification, which is what makes your commitment to lending your voice all the more valuable.
The One Where You Invested in Justice
Every year the legal community steps up and invests in the legal aid and pro bono organizations that dedicate themselves to the work of helping low and moderate-income individuals in our community with their legal needs. This year, more than 5,200 of you at 153 participating firms, companies, and organizations made more than $2 million in grants and support possible. Thanks to you, tens of thousands of people in need will receive critical legal assistance again this year.
The One Where You Brought Pro Bono into the 21st Century
Since the launch of the new statewide Pro Bono Opportunities Guide, over 1000 of you have visited the site, and over 100 of you have used it to connect with pro bono opportunities! Thank you to each of you for the individual pro bono work that you do year-round.
The One Where You Honored Our Heroes
In the first year of the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN) over 2,600 veterans and military families have been helped by dedicated legal aid and pro bono attorneys. Thanks to your support, by advocating for the legislation that created IL-AFLAN, supporting the organizations that comprise IL-AFLAN, and taking on pro bono cases through the network, IL-AFLAN is already considered a national model.
The One Where You Helped Us Celebrate!
In case you haven’t heard, 2018 is the Chicago Bar Foundation’s 70th anniversary and we’ve been celebrating with each of you all year! Thanks to all of you, the CBF is the largest voluntarily supported bar foundation in the country and we look forward to 70 more years of working to increase access to justice.
Thanks to you, we all have so much to be grateful for this year. I know that I feel personally lucky to be a part of such a generous and dedicated legal community here in Chicago. Just know that after dinner on Thursday, when you put on your Thanksgiving pants like Joey, and plan your Thanksgiving leftovers like Ross, that when it comes to working toward equal access to justice in 2019:
I’ll be there for you…cause you’re there for me too!