Public Interest Law Initiative

PILI Launches Pro Bono Committee in Affiliation with the DuPage County Bar Association

Posted on: April 18, 2017

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The Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), in affiliation with the DuPage County Bar Association, has launched the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee to enhance equal access to justice by encouraging and promoting pro bono work in DuPage County. The Committee will be affiliated with the bar association’s Public Information and Education (PIE) Commission, currently chaired by Melissa Piwowar, who will also act as chair of the Pro Bono Committee.

“Pro bono, public service and public education have been an important part of the work of the DCBA for many years,” said Melissa.  “It was only natural then for this group to join forces with PILI to establish the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit PILI Pro Bono Committee. We are looking forward to all the great work we will be able to do with the support and experience only PILI can provide.”

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will be one of seven such committees that have been launched by PILI in Illinois that strive to expand and promote the availability of civil legal aid for people in need by:

  • Raising awareness of the need for free or low-cost legal services;
  • Identifying and reducing barriers to providing free or low-cost legal services;
  • Promoting pro bono legal services and recruiting attorneys to participate in existing pro bono programs; and
  • Recognizing the pro bono contributions of attorneys.

“We are excited to work with the DCBA to expand and enhance pro bono in the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit,” said Michael Bergmann, PILI’s Executive Director. “This was an ideal relationship for PILI as we work toward increasing access to justice and providing a fairer legal system state-wide.”

PILI launched the Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees in 2011 in the Third Judicial Circuit (Edwardsville area), and now also has Committees in the Fifth (Danville-Mattoon-Paris area), Sixth (Champaign-Decatur area), Tenth (Peoria area), Eleventh (Bloomington area) and Fourteenth (Rock Island area) Judicial Circuits.

Each Committee consists of members of the judiciary as well as pro bono leaders from local law firms, corporations, bar associations, and public interest law organizations. All of the Committees differ in size and their goals vary depending on the local community needs. The existing Committees have provided attorney volunteer opportunities, training and seminars about pro bono, and recognition of attorney volunteerism.

Learn more at www.pili.org/18thcircuit.

About Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI): PILI is a nonprofit organizations with a mission to cultivate a lifelong commitment to public interest law and pro bono service within the Illinois legal community to expand the availability of legal services for people, families and communities in need. Founded in 1977, PILI envisions a legal community with a deeply rooted culture of service, where law students, lawyers and legal professionals at all stages of their careers engage in public interest law or pro bono work, and remain committed to addressing the unmet legal needs of the poor and underrepresented. To learn more about PILI and the Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees, visit our website at www.pili.org, or contact PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann by email or by phone at 312-832-5129.

About the DuPage County Bar Association (DCBA): The DuPage County Bar Association was founded in 1879. With 2,500 members, it is the third largest bar association in Illinois and remains dedicated to advancing the practice of law and promoting the legal profession through community service and education.  To learn more about DCBA and the work of its Public Interest and Education Commission, visit www.dcba.org or contact DCBA Executive Director Robert Rupp by email or by phone at 630-653-7779.

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