What a Celebration! Wrapping Up Pro Bono Week 2022

During the week of October 23-29, PILI participated in the national celebration of Pro Bono Week. Celebrated annually and organized nationally by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, Pro Bono Week is intended to inspire even greater pro bono participation by lawyers throughout the nation.

PILI celebrated with a variety of virtual and in-person events across the state over the course of several weeks. PILI held nine live events and two virtual events as part of the celebration, bringing together over 350 pro bono advocates from across the state. We also recognized five local attorneys through several of our Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees for their outstanding pro bono work during events held throughout the week. Congratulations to our award recipients! Our staff were on hand as well for the CBA YLS’ 29th Annual Pro Bono & Community Service Fair.

We also celebrated Pro Bono Week with some of our partners by doing pro bono! Several clinics were held, including DePaul University College of Law where attorney-alumni paired with law students to answer questions, Discover hosted a clinic as part of its Discover Cares event and The Illinois Defense Counsel hosted two clinics. Through these clinics, over 50 questions were answered.

In the Third Judicial Circuit, Christopher Hunter received the Pro Bono Service Award.

Christopher currently maintains a private practice in Alton and serves the southern Illinois community as a trial attorney and mediator in civil and domestic relations disputes. He serves frequently as Guardian Ad Litem for the Third Judicial Circuit in the family and probate divisions. Christopher extensively uses his talent and time to volunteer for Catholic Charities and the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee. He has spoken regularly at Pro Bono Committee seminars on a variety of topics relating to his numerous areas of practice. He has served as Pro Bono Guardian Ad Litem in difficult and lengthy adoption and family cases. Christopher obtained his Bachelor of Arts with high honors from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL and graduated from St. Louis University School of Law.

In the Fifth Judicial Circuit, James Mulvaney received the Pro Bono Service Award. 

James finished his professional career as Vice President, Market and Trust Manager at First Financial Bank, N.A. in Terra Haute, Indiana. After retiring, James decided to do senior health insurance program counseling through a local care provider. James has helped this program get off the ground through assisting seniors with legal needs such as assisting a client obtain guardianship of their mother. James obtained his Bachelors of Finance and Business Economics from Notre Dame and graduated from DePaul University School of Law.

In the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Anne Martinkus received the Community Legal Services Award. 

Anne Martinkus is an associate at Erwin, Martinkus, & Cole, LTD. She obtained her Bachelors from the University of Illinois and graduated from Thomas Cooley Law School. Anne specializes in Family Law, Adoption, and Guardianship. Anne is recognized for her willingness to serve pro bono as Guardian ad Litem, particularly in a recent case where all parties expressed their immense gratitude for Anne’s counsel and guidance.

In the Tenth Judicial Circuit, Louis Milot received the Joseph A. Dailing Pro Bono Service Award.

Louis is a solo practitioner with a busy law practice, and he also is a part-time Peoria County Assistant Public Defender handling a high caseload in Juvenile Abuse and Neglect Court. Since becoming licensed in 1990, Louis has made pro bono representation a high priority. He accepts referrals of pro bono matters from Prairie State Legal Services and the Conflict Panel of the Tenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee on a consistent basis in the areas of family law as well as other civil legal areas. Louis has provided the Family Justice Resource Center with ongoing pro bono consultation and representation for individuals who have had children removed from their homes due to allegations of abuse or neglect. Louis is exceptionally committed to making the law just, accessible, responsive, and meaningful to everyone in our judicial system.

In the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Mia McPherson received the Pro Bono Service Award.

Mia has served as a solo practitioner, specializing in the areas of felony and misdemeanor criminal defense, municipal law, municipal prosecutions, and family law. Mia has dedicated a significant amount of time to pro bono work and helping those in DuPage County. Specifically, Mia spent many hours as a lead organizer in the DuPage County Expungement Clinic where she trained attorneys, determined case eligibility, and met with clients.

As we wrap things up, we want to say an enthusiastic “THANK YOU!” to all of PILI’s pro bono volunteers from across the state through our pro bono opportunities, including our Self-Represented Litigant Help Desks, Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network, Illinois Free Legal Answers and Conflict of Interest Pro Bono Referral Panel. Though the efforts of these volunteers, PILI has helped over 3,000 low-income Illinoisans over the last year with their civil legal issues.

Learn more about how to Get Involved with PILI and how to Support our Work.

PILI to Recognize Four Award Recipients During the 45th Anniversary Awards Gala

On December 1st, PILI will be recognizing three individuals and one organization for their efforts and dedication to pro bono work in their communities. PILI’s 45th Anniversary Awards Gala will bring together the Illinois legal community to celebrate PILI’s 45th anniversary as well as the very best ideals of the profession. PILI will celebrate these award recipients as well as the countless lawyers, law students, legal professionals, law firms and corporations who dedicate themselves to providing legal assistance to those in need and ensuring access to justice for all.

Congratulations to this year’s award recipients!

Distinguished PILI Intern Alumni Award: Ruth Lopez-McCarthy

Ruth Lopez-McCarthy was a 2007 PILI Law Student Intern at Chicago Legal Clinic. She has since devoted 19 years of her life to supporting immigrant communities across the United States. Upon graduation from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2009, she moved to Washington DC to become the DC Program Coordinator for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, then the Deputy and Interim Field Director for Reform Immigration for America, and several additional roles as a campaigner for Immigration Reform. She then returned in 2013 to Illinois to lead the “Illinois is Ready” campaign at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. The opportunities to utilize her outstanding skill set as an attorney and campaigner continued with her role as Managing Attorney for the Legal Protection Fund, at the National Immigrant Justice Center. Responding to the extreme back-slide and threats to immigrant rights during the Trump Administration, she was able to lead a team that provided 6,500 immigration legal screenings and filed 3,500 immigration cases. She then went on to a 6-month contract as COVID Manager for Immigrant and Refugee Services with the Illinois Department of Human Services. Ruth was recently appointed to the role of Senior Immigration Fellow for the State of Illinois, where she has an opportunity to lead our state in helping immigrants and refugees further.

Distinguished PILI Fellow Alumni Award: Sabreena El-Amin

Sabreena El-Amin was a 2014 PILI Graduate Fellow at Legal Aid Chicago, sponsored by Winston & Strawn LLP. She was subsequently an associate with Jackson Lewis and Sabreena joined the Office of Inspector General in 2021 as the Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She is an attorney with an extensive background in labor and employment law, including litigating and advising on various discrimination matters. Her volunteer, educational, and employment experiences mirror her devotion to issues at the confluence of criminal justice: racial equity, community development, psychology, and the law. Most recently, Sabreena joined as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago Law School. She has also shown a commitment to public service through her experience with PILI, where she originally served as a PILI Law Student Intern at the Department of Health and Human Services while in law school. She went on to serve as the founding chair of its Young Professionals Board and continues as a member, served as Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Working Group, and now serves on the Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She is a native of Chicago’s South Side and a graduate of Whitney Young High School. Sabreena earned a BA in Psychology from DePaul University and a JD from Harvard Law School, where she served as a Contributor and Editor for the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Justice.

Distinguished Public Service Award: Jose Rivero

Jose Rivero is an attorney with Cullen Haskins Nicholson & Menchetti, P.C., while also serving as Chairman of the Board for the Farmworker & Landscaper Advocacy Project (FLAP), an organization dedicated to improving working conditions and opportunities for low-income workers and their households in a wide variety of industries through advocacy, community outreach and education, litigation, community legal education, information and referrals, partnering with other organizations to fight human labor trafficking, preventing family separations by helping immigrants secure dual citizenship for their children and facilitating access to cash transfers to very low-income populations. When Jose became the Board Chair FLAP’s budget was under $50k, and now it excesses $2.5 Million. FLAP had only one paid staff and one volunteer attorney, and now FLAP has 11 staff and is in the process of hiring more staff to join the organization. Under Jose’s leadership, FLAP has created partnerships with over 200 organizations, including 69 law firms all over Illinois. Jose’s leadership has guided the organization to be able to serve an average of 250,000 very low-income workers per year.

Pro Bono Initiative Award: Sidley Austin LLP

Sidley has a long history of advancing pro bono legal services in Chicago. In 1972, Sidley named Thomas Morsch to head the firm’s Pro Bono and Public Interest Law Committee.  In the years that followed, Sidley’s pro bono efforts included seeking to speed up integration efforts in Chicago public schools and pursuing legal action against landlords accused of discrimination. The firm continued to demonstrate its commitment to pro bono under Dick O’Malley’s leadership. Dick joined PILI’s Board of Directors in 1999 and served as the President from 2014-16. In this time, Sidley launched multiple firmwide pro bono initiatives aimed at helping people sentenced to death, immigrants, and veterans. Sidley’s pro bono legacy continues to this day. In its Chicago office alone, Sidley has three Pro Bono Counsel who promote and oversee pro bono work by lawyers at the firm. In 2021, 83% of Chicago lawyers at Sidley participated in pro bono matters totaling 37,345 hours. And, in 2022, Sidley’s Chicago office has already contributed 28,035 hours to pro bono engagements through September. Sidley has helped numerous law departments at corporations become involved in pro bono work through partnering efforts.

Support PILI on Giving Tuesday 2022

Giving Tuesday is November 29, 2022!

Earlier this month, PILI launched our 2022 Giving Tuesday Campaign. Organized by PILI’s Young Professionals Board (YPB), we are asking our networks, supporters and volunteers to help us raise funds to continue our efforts in expanding access to justice across Illinois. In relation to PILI’s 2022 theme: Take the Initiative, we asked PILI staff and YPB members, “What does volunteering mean to you?”  You can see their responses below.

If you want to be involved in increasing access to justice in Illinois, here are a few ways that you can Take the Initiative:

Thank you for your support of PILI’s work and for joining us as we celebrate Giving Tuesday!

PILI is Hiring an Attorney & Program Associate

Position Summary: Under the leadership and supervision of PILI’s Senior Managing Attorney, the Attorney & Program Associate will coordinate the following PILI Programs:  Law Student Internship, Graduate Fellowship, and Alumni Network. The Attorney & Program Associate will serve as a member of PILI’s Programs Team and will also provide support to PILI’s statewide efforts to expand and enhance pro bono. This is a full-time position to be based in Chicago.

Primary Duties: 

  • Planning, promoting and implementing relevant programming for PILI’s Law Student Internship and Graduate Fellowship Programs, including developing and organizing PILI’s educational programming, networking activities and collecting evaluative feedback on PILI’s Law Student Internship and Graduate Fellowship Programs
  • Advising law students and lawyers seeking to incorporate public interest law and/or pro bono into their careers
  • Promoting PILI’s Law Student Internship and Graduate Fellowship Programs to possible program participants
  • Supporting PILI’s Alumni Leadership to maintain the connection of Intern and Fellow Alumni to PILI, the public interest law community and one another through programming, networking, service and special events
  • Developing and maintaining resources and guides relating to pro bono to assist constituent groups with pro bono program development and management as well as to facilitate the sharing of best practices
  • Planning and executing Continuing Legal Education (CLE) live/in-person and virtual programming around the state relating to pro bono and public interest law, including materials and resource development
  • Developing and cultivating relationships with relevant constituents and stakeholders, including coordinating, and collaborating with other relevant public interest law community stakeholders

 Other Responsibilities: 

  • Providing additional support as needed to PILI’s Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees
  • Serving as a substantive resource to PILI’s pro bono volunteers across the state
  • Coordinating and collaborating with the other members of PILI’s Programs Team on other programming and projects
  • Managing and providing data for programs and grant reporting, and assisting in preparation of grant proposals and reports
  • Participating in organizational and programmatic strategic planning
  • Attending, participating and networking at local and regional events
  • Participating in the organized bar and other community organizations on relevant committees and projects on PILI’s behalf
  • Assisting with and attending staff meetings, other administrative meetings, and events
  • Performing other duties as assigned by PILI’s Senior Managing Attorney or Executive Director

 Requirements: 

  • Juris Doctor degree from an ABA accredited law school
  • Licensed Illinois attorney in good standing
  • 1-3 years of experience in providing direct legal services to poor and underserved communities
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to organize and prioritize work
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office suite as well as other relevant applications
  • Ability to travel and attend meetings during evenings and weekends as needed
  • Experience using LegalServer (or similar case management system) desirable but not required
  • Proficient in Spanish desirable but not required
  • Understanding of and commitment to the mission and work of PILI

About PILI: PILI engages, inspires and empowers those advancing equal access to justice. We envision making equal access to justice is a reality through a legal community with a deeply rooted culture of service, where pro bono and public interest law engagement is optimized to best serve people, families and communities in need. The PILI team consists of eight team members (including this position) with most team members based in Chicago and one in Champaign. PILI prioritizes the health, safety and wellbeing of the team, therefore we offer a hybrid solution of working in the office and virtually from home.

Salary: This is a full-time position with a salary commensurate with experience beginning at $60,000, including a generous benefits package with employer-paid health, dental and eye insurance and an employer-contributed retirement plan.

To Apply: Please email a cover letter, resume, and three references to employment@pili.org. Please put “Attorney & Program Associate” in the subject line. Please do not send application materials by mail, and no phone or email inquiries. Applicants will be contacted in the event that we wish to further discuss your qualifications.

Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion: At PILI we believe that diversity and inclusion are fundamentally important objectives that make organizations more effective. In our hiring and our work, we support diversity in all of its forms, encompassing but not limited to age, disability status, economic circumstance, ethnicity, gender identity, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Download a PDF of this job posting »

Introducing New Leadership of PILI’s Board of Directors

At its July 2022 meeting, the PILI Board of Directors elected new officers for PILI’s next two fiscal years. Daniel Lange of VedderPrice was elected President, Kyle Petersen of Seyfarth Shaw was elected Vice President, Lisa McCraw was elected Secretary, Mark O’Meara was elected Treasurer and John Bourke was elected Immediate Past President. Their terms began on September 1, 2022 and will conclude on August 31, 2024.

Daniel B. Lange, President

Daniel is a shareholder of VedderPrice and a member of the firm’s Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits practice group. He was first elected to the Board of Directors in 2009 and most recently served as its vice president.

Daniel has a wide range of legal expertise related to Labor and Employment, corporate transactions, tax law and welfare benefit programs. He represents private and public commercial companies, investment funds, ESOP trustees and employees in building and implementing executive compensation packages as well as broad-based equity and incentive arrangements while identifying related compliance and reporting requirements. Since 2018, Daniel has been recommended in the Legal 500 United States guide in Labor and Employment-Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans: Transactional category. Daniel was also selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America relating to Employment Benefits (ERISA) law in 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022.

As he assumes the presidency, Daniel said, “I am very excited to help our staff and volunteers continue to expand PILI’s reach both in the Chicago area and throughout the rest of Illinois, increasing access to justice for underserved communities and individuals, and expanding the pro bono and public interest opportunities available to attorneys and law students throughout our state.”

Kyle A. Petersen, Vice President

Kyle is a partner in the Wage & Hour Litigation Group at Seyfarth Shaw where she dedicates much of her time to representing employers across the U.S. in court litigation and administrative matters relating to wage and hour laws. Kyle is a PILI Alum, having served as a PILI Graduate Fellow after her graduation from Chicago-Kent College of Law. She joined the board in 2015 and most recently served as secretary.

At Seyfarth Shaw, Kyle provides preventative counseling and works with employers to minimize their exposure to investigation and litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws. Kyle has also represented management against a number of discrimination and harassment claims pertaining to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act and more. Kyle’s work has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Illinois Super Lawyers (2009-2013).

Lisa J. McCraw, Secretary

Lisa is Assistant General Counsel of Litigation at Deere & Company and is based in Moline, IL and has been a long-standing pro bono leader at Deere. During Lisa’s tenure as chair of Deere’s pro bono committee, the company was recognized for its significant pro bono legal work in the community with PILI’s Pro Bono Initiative Awards in 2012. She maintains an active pro bono practice of her own, providing counsel to nonprofits in the Quad Cities on corporate governance and contract review. She has also participated in PILI’s Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee’s service projects, including the Volunteer Lawyer Project for tenants facing eviction, and the Wills and Power of Attorney clinic for low-income seniors. Lisa joined the PILI Board of Directors in 2013.

 Mark O’Meara, Treasurer

Mark is a partner with Chapman and Cutler in the Banking and Financial Services Department and is also a member of the Commercial Lending Group. He joined the PILI Board of Directors in 2016.

Mark has a focus on representing financial institutions through structuring and documenting secured and unsecured transactions, loan restructuring and workout transactions. He has experience in asset based lending, project financing, cash-flow lending and more. Mark served in forming and counseling a social impact fund managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation that provides project loans to acquire, preserve, and improve affordable housing in the Detroit metropolitan area. Mark represented a financial services company in the Pay for Success financing of a new social impact project that aims to address the underlying causes of asthma by providing in-home asthma care and environmental interventions to low-income New Yorkers.

Michael H. Cramer, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer

Michael is a shareholder at Ogletree Deakins and specializes in labor and employee related matters. He was first elected to the PILI Board of Directors in 2017 and has served as PILI’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer since the position was established in 2021.

Michael advises employers ranging from small non-profits to Fortune 500 companies and leads workplace investigations, learning sessions and employee-related litigation. He has extensive experience litigating discrimination, harassment and retaliation cases and wage-and-hour class/collective actions. Michael has achieved Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer review rating (AV), and repeatedly has been named among the Best Lawyers in America, a Leading Lawyer, and an Illinois Super Lawyer. He was elected to The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, an organization of labor and employment attorneys in practice for more than 20 years who meet “the highest professional qualifications and ethical standards.”

John J. Bourke, Immediate Past President

After serving as President for the last two years, John Bourke will assume the office of  Immediate Past President. John has a wide range of corporate legal and business experience gained from Chicago financial institutions including The Northern Trust Company, (JPMorgan Chase predecessors) First Chicago Corporation, First Chicago NBD, Bank One and Aon. Outside of PILI, John focuses on corporate transactions in the cyber risk, security and technology space. John has served on PILI’s board since 2010. Read more about PILI’s accomplishments under John’s leadership »

Introducing Judy He, New Chair of PILI’s Young Professionals Board

On September 1st, new leaders took the helm of PILI’s Young Professionals Board, including Judy He of Crowell & Moring who became Chair. Judy is joined by Corinne Biller of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP as Chair-Elect, Bide Akande of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP as Vice Chair and Michael Whalen of Paul Hastings LLP as Immediate Past Chair. Established in 2017, PILI’s Young Professionals Board is a group dedicated to empowering 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.

Judy He is an associate at Crowell & Moring LLP specializing in Patent and ITC litigation. Judy counsels and litigates intellectual property disputes involving various technologies, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, consumer products and licensing issues. Judy has experience with representing immigrant children seeking special juvenile status and families seeking asylum in affirmative and defensive processes. In 2021, Judy was a recipient of the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Rising Star Award. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Judy was an extern with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, the largest legal program in the Department of Homeland Security.

In addition to handling IP and licensing disputes, Judy has an active pro bono practice and is a volunteer for the ABA’s Free Legal Answers program. She was recognized twice by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service as a Pro Bono Leader for her contributions in 2020 and 2021. Judy has a background in chemistry and finance and is fluent in Mandarin. Judy is a LCLD Pathfinder, and has leadership roles with Women In Bio and the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation. Judy was also recently elected to serve a two-year term on the Board of Managers of the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago

As she begins her role as Chair, Judy said, “My journey with PILI started with my PILI Fellowship at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, and I’ve always loved how PILI provided law students and recent graduates with opportunities to learn the importance of pro bono at an early stage of their professional careers and how they can give back to their communities in a meaningful way. As Chair of PILI’s YPB this year, I am proud and humbled to continue supporting PILI’s mission with the rest of the YPB and exploring ways for young professionals of various backgrounds and experiences to help advance access to justice.”

Introducing Marlow Svatek, New Chair of Alumni Network Leadership Council

With PILI’s new fiscal year beginning on September 1st, PILI welcomed new leadership for its Alumni Network Leadership Council. Marlow Svatek of Sidley Austin assumed the position of Chair of the Council, joined in leadership with Nidhi D. Narielwala of Norton Rose Fulbright as Chair-Elect, Jill E. Roberts of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts as Vice Chair and Martin Cozzola of BPI as Immediate Past Chair. With nearly 4,500 former PILI Student Interns and Graduate Fellows, PILI’s Alumni Network is led by the Alumni Network Leadership Council, a group of PILI Alumni committed to staying connected to PILI and public interest law, and to giving back to their community.

Marlow Svatek is currently a managing associate in the litigation group at Sidley Austin, with a focus on consumer class actions and appellate litigation. Such cases have included, defending a credit card processing company at trial in litigation arising from a merchant’s data security breach, drafting an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of a medical professional association and defending a large financial institution in a federal class action lawsuit alleging fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Marlow maintains an active pro bono practice and has represented clients in a variety of cases in federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. In 2020, the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) honored Marlow as a “Rising Star” for her outstanding pro bono service in protection of immigrant rights. In 2018 and 2019, she received the firm’s Thomas H. Morsch Award for Pro Bono Achievement in recognition of her work representing asylum seekers in deportation proceedings and challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s “public charge” rule.

Marlow is a “Double PILI” having served as a PILI Law Student Intern at the National Immigrant Justice Center during law school and as a PILI Graduate Fellow at the ACLU of Illinois upon graduation before joining Sidley. As the ACLU, she worked to promote women’s and reproductive rights through impact litigation. Marlow graduated from the University of Chicago Law School with honors, where she was a staffer for the University of Chicago Law Review. She also served in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Burkina Faso to promote girls’ education and empowerment resulting in Marlow being awarded the United Nation Association’s Leo Nevas Human Rights Youth Advocate Award.

As Marlow begins her role as Chair she stated, “I am looking forward to taking on a greater leadership role with an organization that has given so much to me over the years—first as a PILI Intern at the National Immigrant Justice Center, then as a PILI Fellow at the ACLU of Illinois, and now as a practicing attorney with my own pro bono practice. For so many law students and young lawyers, PILI has laid the foundation for a lifelong commitment to public interest work and pro bono service. I’m honored to lead the Council and help welcome the next generation of public interest-minded attorneys into the PILI Alumni Network.”