Public Interest Law Initiative

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc.


100 North LaSalle Street, Suite 600
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Contact: Bonnie Allen


Program: ,

The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee is the leading legal services non-profit in the Chicago metropolitan area with a focus on civil rights. Established in 1969, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee protects and promotes civil rights by bringing the strength and prestige of the private bar to bear on the problems of poverty and discrimination. Chicago Lawyers’ Committee staff and volunteer attorneys provide pro bono legal assistance to ensure that low-income individuals, groups with class action cases, nonprofits and small businesses receive the same high quality, aggressive representation afforded paying clients. Last year, more than 1,000 volunteer lawyers from the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s member firms donated more than 18,000 hours of professional legal services to challenge discrimination and other violations of civil rights.

Committee staff attorneys, with PILI Fellows, engage in both litigation and community advocacy in the following areas:
• Hate Crimes Project – The only full-service resource for hate crime victims in the Midwest.
• Employment Opportunity Project – The Employment Opportunity Project works to reduce barriers to employment faced by people of color, women, and low-income individuals.
• Fair Housing Project – One of only two organizations in the city handling racial discrimination in housing, and the only program in which the claims are handled by attorneys.
• Educational Equity Project – The Educational Equity Project promotes civil rights in education and strong educational outcomes for minority children.
• The Settlement Assistance Program – The only program in Chicago offering free legal assistance to pro se plaintiffs (individuals representing themselves) in civil rights cases in federal court
• Voting Rights Project – The Voting Rights Project works to prevent, reduce, and eliminate barriers to voting for minority and low-income residents and to increase overall participation in Democracy
• The Law Project – The only program in the area offering pro bono transactional legal services specifically to nonprofits, first-time home buyers, and low-income individuals using small businesses/micro-enterprises as strategies to promote economic development in low-income communities.
• Initiative for Northwest Indiana (INWIN) – INWIN is an economic development law project – the only transactional pro bono service in Northwest Indiana – providing free legal services to nonprofit organizations, regional development projects, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.

Recent Organization Highlights
• In 2012, CLC’s Voting Rights Project fielded over 3,000 calls during the Presidential election; challenged harsh discipline in the Chicago Public School system; influenced fair housing policies in Cook County; and launched its community economic development project in Northwest Indiana.
• In November 2012, after a 17-year battle, 86 African American firefighters realized their life-long dreams of becoming a firefighter. The graduates were among the 6,000 African Americans represented by the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee in Lewis v. City of Chicago.

PILI Interns & Fellows will be engaged in assignments requiring legal research, conducting intake interviews and attending meetings with other advocacy and community organizations and any other activities in which Committee lawyers are engaged. PILI Interns & Fellows may attend court hearings and depositions, and draft memos, motions and briefs. PILI Interns & Fellows working with The Law Project will have the opportunity to provide legal assistance to an organization, business or first-time home buyer. The goal with each of the Committee’s programs is to provide participants with a challenging civil rights learning experience, while obtaining high quality work product in order to fulfill the Committee’s goal of equal justice for all.

This agency is approved to host a Law Student Intern during the summer of 2017. They are also approved to host Graduate Fellows.


Stay Connected. Sign Up For Our Newsletter: