Public Interest Law Initiative

Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Pledge

In an effort to recognize and encourage pro bono locally, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee has developed its Pro Bono Pledge to increase access to our legal system by expanding pro bono legal services to address the significant unmet need for legal assistance among low-income and underrepresented individuals and families in Illinois. This page contains information about the Tenth Judicial Circuit’s Pro Bono Pledge, and from this page, you can also take the Pledge on behalf of your law firm or corporate legal department.

Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Pledge

This pledge reflects the principle that members of the legal profession have an obligation to provide legal services to those who are under-represented in or lack access to the legal system.  The preamble to the Supreme Court of Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

 It is the responsibility of those licensed as officers of the court to use their training, experience and skills to provide services in the public interest for which compensation may not be available. An individual lawyer’s efforts in these areas is evidence of the lawyer’s good character and fitness to practice law.

Nearly 4 million Illinoisans, live at or below the federal poverty threshold, $12,486 for one person and $24,755 for a family of four, with 6.6% of them living in extreme poverty. In the Eleventh Judicial Circuit alone, there are 37,275 people living below the poverty line. Despite this drastic need and the limited resources, in 2012, legal aid funding was cut by the state twenty percent and federal funding cut fifteen percent. Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation (Ford and Logan Counties) and Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. (McLean, Livingston and Woodford Counties) are the local legal aid organizations providing free civil legal services to the poor in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, but they alone are unable to meet the demand for legal services. Pro bono attorneys are extremely necessary to close the gap between the legal needs of those with limited means and the resources to meet them.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756(f) defines pro bono as “legal services to persons of limited means; legal services to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental or educational organizations in matters designed to address the needs of persons of limited means; legal services to charitable, religious, civic or community organizations in furtherance of their organizational purpose; or training intended to benefit legal aid organizations or lawyers who provide pro bono services.”

In recognition of the responsibility of all members of the legal profession – from corporate lawyers to law firm lawyers to solo practitioners to legal staff – to increase access to our legal system, we will:

  • Encourage our attorneys and legal staff to provide pro bono legal services and in doing so provide an environment which is hospitable to the rendition of such services;
  • Designate a primary pro bono point of contact within the firm or corporate legal department;
  • Consider adopting a written pro bono policy; and
  • Recognize attorneys and legal staff who participate in pro bono services, as appropriate.

If you wish to take the pledge, fill out the form below. Please direct any questions to:

Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee
Carrie L. Haas
Co-Chair, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee
Dunn Law Firm, LLP
1001 North Main Street, Suite A
Bloomington, Illinois 61701
Phone: (309) 828-6241
Fax: (309) 828-8321
CLH@dunnlaw.com

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