Public Interest Law Initiative

2017 Distinguished Intern Alumni Award: Susan L. DeCostanza

Posted on: December 11, 2017

Susan DeCostanza

Susan DeCostanza was a PILI Law Student Intern at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services in 2007. She now works at CVLS as the Director of Guardian ad Litem for Adults Program.

Even before becoming a lawyer, Susan led a life of service. She spent two years volunteering in Peru creating and implementing a literacy program for women and children before teaching for two years in Chicago Public Schools.

While attending DePaul University College of Law, she co-founded DePaul’s innovative Journal for Social Justice and served as DePaul’s Career Services Public Interest Coordinator. After graduating from law school in 2008, Susan worked at a civil rights law firm, directed the Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative at DePaul, and worked as a public interest law career counselor at Chicago-Kent College of Law. She joined CVLS as a staff attorney in 2010.

Now the Director of the Guardian ad litem for Adults Program at CVLS, Susan is committed to advocating for low-income adults with disabilities and their families. She recruits, trains and provides extensive support for volunteer attorneys, who appreciate her dedication and example of public service.

Susan has also served on the PILI Alumni Network Leadership Council, and has contributed immensely to furthering PILI’s mission. In 2012, she received the esteemed Kimball R. Anderson & Karen Gatsis Anderson Public Interest Law Fellowship.

Susan is inspired daily by her clients, her CVLS colleagues and the hundreds of attorneys that take CVLS cases on a pro bono basis. Her work would not be possible without the fierce and faithful support of her partner, John J. DeCostanza, Jr.

“Susan embodies what PILI preaches: A lifelong commitment to public service.” – Jordan Heinz, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis

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