Post authored by: Ann Glynn, Public Affairs Director for the CBA
During the uncertain times of this pandemic, there is an urgency for lawyers to donate their time and resources to the underserved in our community. This need is the driving force behind the programs and activities planned for Pro Bono Week 2020 co-hosted by The Chicago Bar Association and The Chicago Bar Foundation.
Programming for the 16th annual Pro Bono Week, which runs October 26-30, will focus on areas where pro bono work can have the most impact in these extraordinary times, particularly for those who are struggling with issues such as homelessness, job loss, or lack of educational opportunities.
“Attorneys possess skills that can materially transform the lives of residents in need,” said CBA President Maryam Ahmad. “This year has detrimentally impacted many in our city and through Pro Bono Week 2020, we have the opportunity to provide important assistance to underserved communities when they need it most.”
The CBA/CBF’s annual Pro Bono Week activities will be held virtually and will still include the mainstay event, the 27th annual Pro Bono and Community Service Fair, on October 29. The Fair will feature representatives from more than 40 legal aid, pro bono, community service, and mentoring organizations. All members of the legal community are encouraged to attend the fair to hear about the many pro bono opportunities available to fit their schedules, interests, and skills.
Scheduled events for the week include:
• Monday, October 26 – Justice: An Evening of Stories and Community. This favorite kick off to pro bono week will feature an evening of justice-themed stories told by audience volunteers. Storytellers and listeners alike are encouraged to attend. From 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
• Tuesday, October 27 – Never Fully Free: Addressing the Harm of Permanent Punishments. This seminar will explore the barriers presented by laws that impose permanent punishments with research provided by the Heartland Alliance. Legal aid organizations that work in areas of law such as housing, employment and education will also participate. From 2:00 to 3:15 p.m.
• Wednesday, October 28 – Good Trouble: A Documentary Screening and Film Discussion. A group discussion will focus on the recently released documentary about the life of the late Congressman and civil rights leaders John Lewis. The conversation will focus on voting rights and related pro bono opportunities. From 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
• Thursday, October 29 – Annual Pro Bono and Community Service Fair. Participating organizations will gather at virtual “tables” to meet with members of the legal community and share pro bono opportunities. From 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.
For more information about Pro Bono Week and to register for events, go to chicagobarfoundation.org/probonoweek.
Pro Bono Week began in 2005 when the CBA and CBF realized the increasing need for pro bono services during harsh economic times. In 2009, the American Bar Association took up the cause and created a National Celebration of Pro Bono to draw attention to the need for pro bono participation, and to thank those who give their time year-round.