Serving Our Seniors with My Block, My Hood, My City

Post Authored by Ted Kontopoulos and Kenny Matuszewski

More than ever, people are aware of the long-lasting effects of racial injustice on everyone and how it permeates from the past into the present. With this knowledge and awareness, each person can choose how to respond to these injustices. Particularly, the choices members of the legal profession make, no matter how ordinary or intentional, directly contribute to racial justice. The Young Lawyers Section (“YLS”) and Racial Justice Coalition (“RJC”) have chosen to work together to prevent the advancement of racial injustice into the future.

To kick off Pro Bono month, the YLS and the RJC will host a virtual estate planning clinic with My Block, My Hood, My City; the Center for Disability and Elder Law (“CDEL”); and the YLS’ Serving Our Seniors Committee on Saturday, October 3rd at 9 AM via Zoom. Volunteers will advance intergenerational racial justice by drafting powers of attorney for senior citizens.

Founded in January 2019, My Block, My Hood, My City addresses the racial injustice timeline by offering services and programs to Chicagoans of all ages, including youth and seniors. Services offered to seniors include delivering personal protective equipment (“PPE”), cleaning up residential neighborhoods, and donating water and fans.

Founded in 1984, CEDL provides free legal services to low-income seniors and persons with disabilities who reside in Chicago and suburban Cook County, Illinois. Similarly, Serving Our Seniors is a YLS organization dedicated to advancing justice for low-income seniors. Serving Our Seniors regularly hosts pro bono estate planning clinics with CEDL. At these clinics, volunteers draft powers of attorney for healthcare, powers of attorney for property, and living wills for local low-income seniors. Volunteers range from experienced estate planning practitioners to those practicing in this area for the very first time.

Similarly, no estate planning experience is needed to participate in the upcoming Serving Our Seniors event with My Block, My Hood, My City. Volunteers will receive training and CLE credit by participating in a required training session with CEDL on Thursday, October 1st at 6 PM via Zoom. In order to participate in the training and the virtual estate planning clinic, participants must complete both the training form and the event registration form.

Attorney volunteers for the Virtual Estate Planning Workshop on October 3rd will directly advance intergenerational justice in Chicago. Without proper estate planning, past injustices concerning property remain unaddressed and create additional inequities.

The battle for racial justice is intergenerational, and attorneys are uniquely positioned to enter the front lines. By explicitly swearing an oath to uphold the law, attorneys also implicitly assume a duty to confront injustice. Participating in this clinic will allow attorneys to directly advance racial justice, and ensure that the past remains past.

About the Author:

Theodore “Ted” Kontopoulos is a senior consultant in the international tax group of BKD LLP, focusing primarily on tax controversy.  Mr. Kontopoulos has experience in pre-audit tax planning, IRS audit representation, IRS appeals representation, and delinquent foreign bank account reporting.  He has written articles published in Tax Notes, the Journal of Multistate Taxation, and the University of Illinois Law Review.  Further, Mr. Kontopoulos currently advises small businesses, multistate businesses, multinational businesses, individuals, and non-profits.

About the Author:

Kenneth “Kenny” Matuszewski is an Associate Counsel at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, where he focuses his practice on patent prosecution. Kenny also has extensive experience litigating software, electrical and mechanical patents in federal court and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. A firm believer that learning is a lifelong process, Kenny graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Oregon State University in December 2019. Previously, he double-majored in Biological Sciences and Spanish at the University of Notre Dame and earned his J.D. at Chicago-Kent College of Law. He also received the YLS’ Rising Star Award for Leaders with Exceptional Promise in 2019.

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