PILI Welcomes Andrea Schrader to the Team

Andrea joined PILI in April 2024 as the Attorney Program Manager for PILI’s Southern Region and is based in Edwardsville. She is responsible for helping PILI to expand and enhance pro bono legal assistance in the southern portion of Illinois by overseeing the work of PILI’s Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees, Illinois Free Legal Answers, and PILI’s participation in the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN) in that region.

Andrea has served as a mentor with the RiverBend Growth Association Young Adults Committee and as volunteer attorney with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence Virtual Legal Clinic. Prior to joining the PILI staff, she also served on PILI’s Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee. Andrea is a member of the Madison County Bar Association.

Most recently, Andrea worked as an Associate Attorney at MillerKing LLC. Prior to that, she was a Senior Staff Attorney at Land of Lincoln Legal Aid. Andrea received her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Illinois State University and her Juris Doctor from the Saint Louis University School of Law. Andrea is admitted to the practice of law in the State of Illinois.

Andrea can be reached by email or at 217-606-7644.

Meet the rest of the PILI staff here »

Thank You to All Who Made the 2024 Arcade for Legal Aid a Success!

 

Pictured L to R: PILI YPB Chair Corrine Biller, Chair-Elect Bide Akande, Vice Chair Tony Lewis and Immediate Past Chair Judy He

Thanks to all of the sponsors and the almost 100 attendees at our Young Professionals Board’s Arcade for Legal Aid event on April 12th! Check out the photos from the event »

Over $33,000 was raised this year thanks to our Young Professionals Board! They work hard each year to make this event fun and successful to support the work of PILI in expanding the availability of legal services in Illinois for people, families and communities in need through public interest law and pro bono service.

Established in 2017, PILI’s Young Professionals Board is a group of leaders dedicated to supporting PILI through fundraising and by serving as PILI’s ambassadors in their communities. Members are emerging leaders who have begun their professional careers in the past fifteen years. Our YPB is currently chaired by Corinne Biller of Conagra Brands. The leadership and commitment of Corinne and the rest of the YPB leadership has been critical to the success of this event and the work of the YPB. We are so grateful to all of the past and present members of our YPB for their support and involvement.

For additional information about the YPB, please contact Jessica Schneider at 312-832-5125 or by email, or you can learn more here »

Photos from the 2024 Arcade for Legal Aid

Thanks to all of the sponsors and guests who made our Young Professionals Board’s 2024 Arcade for Legal Aid event a success! Thank you to DJ Skoli for our music entertainment and our very own Cassie Lorenz for capturing photos of the night.

PILI is a National Leader in ABA Free Legal Answers 2023 Summary Report

The American Bar Association 2023 Summary Report indicates PILI in Illinois remains a national leader for the virtual online legal clinic.

Over 330,000 civil legal questions have been answered since the launch of the ABA Free Legal Answers website in 2016 according to the ABA’s 2023 Summary Report. The site, which allows low-income people to post civil legal questions for lawyers to answer, was an especially important resource during the pandemic and the effects of the pandemic are still being felt today as increases in questions is a reminder of the unmet legal needs in the country. Over 13,000 volunteer attorneys across the country have made an incredible impact in expanding access to justice by assisting those in need in underserved and underrepresented communities providing over 72,000 hours of pro bono time.

ABA Free Legal Answers offers, for some, the only opportunity to get assistance to a legal question for those who cannot access legal services for a number of possible reasons whether it be financial, geographical, or transportation constraints. Over 19,600 questions were submitted by veterans and over 16,700 questions were submitted by seniors since the website was launched. The most common types of questions submitted pertained to Family and Children (38%), Housing and Homelessness (16%), Other (18%) or Consumer/Financial (10%). Additionally, people may now get responses to questions about two federal areas of law, immigration and veterans’ benefits. According to the 2023 ABA Impact Report, ABA Federal Free Legal Answers responded to 153 immigration questions thanks to 12 volunteer attorneys. The ABA Commission on Immigration provides training and resources to the attorney volunteers, who may answer one or several questions.

PILI is the statewide administrator in Illinois, which remains the state with the most volunteers on the site with 1,269 registered volunteer attorneys. PILI continues to focus on volunteer recruitment and training across the state, regularly working with law firms, corporations and law schools to set up both in person and virtual clinics to train volunteers to use the site and then answer questions together. In 2023, Illinois Free Legal Answers volunteers answered 3,565 civil legal questions to help those in need.

PILI already works with many law firms, corporations, bar associations and law schools in Illinois to host Illinois Free Legal Answers clinics for their volunteers. PILI can provide a training on how to use Illinois Free Legal Answers for participants. PILI can also provide a CLE program with Illinois MCLE credit for volunteers. This is also a great partnership opportunity for these groups to come together for a joint clinic. Learn more »

If you would like to volunteer to answer questions for those in need, please visit our website or reach out to PILI Managing Attorney Abigail Causer by email or at 217-693-6017.

PILI Spotlight: New Board of Directors’ Alumni Representatives

PILI is excited to welcome Isabelle Rosado and Paul Drake-Stockard to our Board of Directors as our new Law Student Intern and Graduate Fellow Alumni Representatives. Each year, PILI selects representatives from the most recent class of Interns and Fellows to serve on the board for a two-year term. Isabelle is a 2L at University of Illinois Chicago School of Law and did her PILI Law Student Internship at CARPLS. Paul is an Associate in the Financial Institutions Group at Sidley Austin LLP and did his 2023 Graduate Fellowship at Ladder Up.

Isabelle Rosado

2L, University of Illinois Chicago School of Law
2023 Law Student Intern

What have you been up to since your PILI Internship concluded?

Since my PILI Internship has concluded, I have started an externship at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. I am in the felony trial division at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse. I have recently applied for my 711 license and hope to get practical experience litigating motions, pre-trial detention hearings, and trials.

What was your favorite thing about being a PILI Intern?

This past summer, I was a PILI Intern at CARPLS, where I advised clients over the Cook County Legal Aid Hotline. My favorite thing about being a PILI Intern was being able to speak with and interview a total of 135 clients, while furthering my education in weekly seminars. Speaking with so many individuals allowed me to have a better understanding of the everyday issues Cook County residents face and receive feedback from clients regarding accessibility to the courts. The weekly seminars hosted by PILI focused on a variety of topics from tips on interviewing clients and steps to take for expungements, to advice for applying for future jobs and fellowships. I believe these seminars focused on core skills that could be used by all interns in their fields and taught me about agencies outside of my respective placement.  

How has your commitment to service played a role in your life and career?

From attending a private catholic high school to being the community service chair for my pre-law fraternity in undergrad at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, service has always played a large role in my life. Service is important because it brings the community together as one to combat complex, systemic issues. I believe that to move forward, we need to help those who are most vulnerable or less fortunate. As for my career, my work at Metropolitan Family Services and CARPLS both focused on providing services to the community, which included legal help, access to vaccines, resource fairs, and holiday toy giveaways. This past year, I organized a coat drive at UIC Law School through the Latino Law Students Association (LLSA) for migrants coming to Chicago and was able to raise over 165 coats for families facing snow for the first time. In the future, I expect to dedicate my career to service because it gives me a sense of purpose, community, and provides equal access to justice.

Paul Drake-Stockard

Associate, Sidley Austin LLP
2023 Graduate Fellow

What have you been up to since your PILI Fellowship concluded?

I began my legal career at Sidley Austin LLP as an Associate in the Financial Institutions group. I’m also continuing to serve PILI as a Graduate Fellow Representative on PILI’s Board of Directors. Finally, I’m serving as a Representative on Ladder UP’s Associates Board.

What was your favorite thing about being a PILI Fellow?

I really enjoyed the opportunity to understand and appreciate the community of Chicago. My Fellowship afforded me the privilege of interacting with and helping people who are largely responsible for making Chicago among the best places worldwide. These people are under appreciated and often overlooked. It was an honor to pursue their definitions of justice on their behalf.

How has your commitment to service played a role in your life and career?

The legal profession is a selfless trade. We make a commitment to serve upon taking our oath. Everyday is an opportunity to make a positive difference, large or small, in the lives of others or within my community. To approach any day with a mindset to the contrary is the type of selfishness that the profession, the oath I’ve taken, and the hard work I’ve put in thus far precludes. The law is a means; justice is the end. And I’ll pursue it with a commitment to service for as long as I can.

Save the Date for 2024 Pro Bono Roundtables

Every year, PILI holds several Pro Bono Forums and Roundtables to bring together pro bono leaders from law firms, corporations, legal service agencies and law schools to discuss timely pro bono issues, challenges and best practices and develop strategies to expand and enhance pro bono in Illinois. The Pro Bono Roundtables allow for unique constituent group-specific conversations, while our Illinois Forum on Pro Bono is for everyone and give attendees an opportunity for in-depth discussion among a cross-section of the legal profession.

This year, PILI will host three Pro Bono Roundtables. Follow the links below to register.

Legal Service Agency Roundtable

The Legal Service Agency Roundtable is scheduled for Thursday, April 18, 2024 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. and brings together representatives from PILI’s partner public interest law agencies to share best practices and strategies for success.

Law School Pro Bono Roundtable

The Law School Pro Bono Roundtable is scheduled for Wednesday, July 17, 2024 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. from and brings together law school representatives to discuss best practices, successful strategies and collaboration opportunities.

Joint Law Firm & Corporate Pro Bono Roundtable

The Joint Law Firm & Corporate Pro Bono Roundtable is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1, 2024 from 11:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Law firm and corporate pro bono leaders will come together to discuss pro bono opportunities and challenges, and to share best practices and strategies for successful pro bono programs.

Learn more about PILI’s Pro Bono Forums & Roundtables »

Learn more about PILI’s Pro Bono Initiative »

Illinois Legal Community Unites to Address Current Immigration Crisis

As new arrivals continue to come to Illinois from the U.S.-Mexico border, many Illinois legal aid organizations are assisting them to ensure they have access to the rights they are entitled to and empowering them with information. There are a variety of ways that you can help. Please continue to come back to this page as we update it with additional information and opportunities.

Volunteer Opportunities in Chicago

In partnership with the city, state and federal governments as well as many other agencies, The Resurrection Project is organizing large-scale workshops assisting newly arrived migrants with obtaining Employment Authorization and Temporary Protected Status. This is an area of great need and will make a big difference for the arriving migrants.  The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) is helping coordinate pro bono attorney involvement in the workshops, which need a combination of attorneys with and without immigration experience, and while Spanish-speakers are needed, non-Spanish speakers can volunteer as well. Legal professionals are also needed. Over 3,000 migrants received legal screenings through the end of January. After a short break, workshops are starting again on Tuesday, February 20th. Workshops are taking place every Tuesday-Friday through May and volunteers are needed to meet the increased need. Migrants who are or have received housing support from the city or state, and are eligible for TPS or EAD, can attend.

All workshops will take place at one location in a federal building downtown. There are two shift options of 8:30am-1:00pm and 12:30pm-5:00pm or you are welcome to volunteer for the whole day. Your role will vary depending on your immigration law experience and whether you speak Spanish, but you need not have either experience to volunteer. You can also arrange a group to volunteer from your law firm or corporation. Please contact Linda Rio at the CBF if you are interested in that option or have any questions about the TRP workshops.

Otherwise for more information and to volunteer please sign up here. A training link and materials will be sent to you once you sign up, and there is an on-site orientation the day of the workshop. Lunch is provided. The Resurrection Project will enter into a Limited Scope Agreement with each applicant and will provide malpractice insurance.


The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) has been at the forefront of welcoming recently arrived migrants and responding to an unprecedented need for immigration legal services. NIJC is working in partnership with the city and state governments, pro bono partners, other legal aid providers and the Chicago Bar Foundation to develop legal service delivery models, training materials and video recordings to respond to the ever-growing need for legal counsel and representation. The organization continues to provide legal information to hundreds of new arrivals each month through NIJC’s Chicago Immigration Court Helpdesk to help them understand their rights and the court system.

For those with complex cases, NIJC conducts legal screenings and aims to accept these cases for representation. NIJC is collaborating with legal aid partner organizations to provide high volume application assistance and share our legal expertise through training and support. NIJC is also providing legal representation in house for individuals who are not eligible to participate in the high-volume application clinics. Finally, NIJC, in partnership with pro bono law firms, created a “Primeros Pasos” program that assists individuals who have limited knowledge of how to move forward with their cases.  These programs provide information to individuals regarding filing a change of venue if their case is scheduled for hearing in a court outside of Chicago, preparing change of address forms and appearing for check-ins with the immigration authorities, ICE.

To learn more about NIJC, visit their website.


Volunteer Opportunities Outside Chicago

There are also immigrants needing assistance in other areas of Illinois, as they travel beyond Chicago. The Immigration Project (TIP) has numerous pro bono opportunities in the upcoming year, many of which require only one-day commitments from attorneys as well as those with some legal expertise such as paralegals and legal assistants. TIP will provide all necessary training, and that training usually occurs the morning of or by a less than one hour call or recording distributed in advance. These meaningful opportunities will help immigrants throughout Illinois gain stability and security in their lives.

One day commitments: TIP hosts monthly naturalization clinics for clients throughout their vast service area to apply for citizenship in a one stop model. These one-day commitments are hosted on Fridays in the Normal or Champaign Office spaces. In addition to assisting those in their final step of the immigration process,  TIP is hosting Asylum and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) workshops similar to those in Chicago in various locations. TIP also travels throughout the state to assist those again through a one-day workshop model to apply for asylum and get general advice about their immigration process and claims.

Full representation pro bono opportunities: TIP is the sole legal service provider for a children’s detention center in Central Illinois. As a result of this relationship, TIP frequently represents children who are detained or recently detained who are survivors of abandonment, abuse, or neglect. These children frequently need orders from State Court judges to determine custody or guardianship orders. Pro bono attorneys can play an essential role in obtaining these orders so that these children can secure immigration relief inside of the US and gain stability in their lives, sometimes for the first time.

If you are interested in assisting TIP in any way, please email Marie Joe Noon. TIP welcomes any assistance you are able to provide given their vast service area and the desperate need of those they serve.