Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) has strengthened lives, assisted families, and supported communities – one person at a time for 50 years. CGLA does more than give people a second chance – we address the root causes of unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and other challenges that contribute to crime and recidivism. Our vision is to achieve a more just and equitable criminal legal system. We strive to realize this vision by fulfilling our mission to provide holistic legal services that include social support services and advocacy for individuals and communities negatively impacted by the criminal legal system.
Consistent with our mission, our legal team removes barriers to equity in the criminal legal system in collaboration with staff social workers and through strategic partnerships with social service providers, government agencies, and other legal aid organizations. We expand our teams’ capacity through internships and fellowships in each of our practice areas: criminal and juvenile defense, criminal and juvenile records relief, housing law, and family law. Depending on the practice area and the assigned team, interns and fellows perform a variety of tasks including client communication, investigation, drafting pleadings and legal writing, and direct representation of clients if qualified under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711. Through these experiences, CGLA’s legal interns and fellows can develop skills in litigation, advocacy, community education, and case management.
The Criminal and Juvenile Defense team provides representation in adult criminal and juvenile delinquency matters across various courthouses in Cook County and to incarcerated youth facing juvenile aftercare violations and adults charged with violation of the terms of their parole. Currently, aftercare and parole revocation hearings are conducted via teleconference. When in-person hearings resume, aftercare hearings are held at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles, IL; adult parole revocation hearings are held in Stateville Northern Reception and Classification Center in Joliet, IL.
The Records team serves individuals with a criminal record seeking relief through a variety of mechanisms including expungements, sealing, certificates of rehabilitation, health care worker waivers, FDIC waivers, and executive clemency. Records team clients are participants in workforce development programs at community-based organizations that have established a formal partnership with CGLA. Applications from the public may also be processed through CGLA’s intake procedure as capacity allows The Records team also represents individuals who are facing objections to their petitions weekly in the “Live Call” hearings at the George Leighton Courthouse and Markham Courthouse.
The Community Services and Outreach (CSO) team also provides records relief services to the public. Currently, applications for assistance are accepted through our online intake portal. The CSO team prepares petitions to expunge and seal and other legal documents that records relief patrons file pro se. Currently, consultations with patrons are conducted virtually or at advice desks at the Daley Center, the Markham courthouse, and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. The CSO team may also deliver presentations about criminal records relief in community forums. Currently, members of the CSO team also partner with the Records team to advocate for petitioners facing objections in the Markham Courthouse.
The Civil Law team provides family law and housing law services. In the family law practice area we serve parents whose contact with the criminal legal system interferes with their relationship with their children. Family law services include site visits to the Cook County jail and Illinois prisons to educate individuals about family law matters and accept intakes. CGLA represents incarcerated individuals in the Incarcerated Litigant Court Call, which is scheduled monthly at the Daley Center. We also provide various civil legal services (e.g., driver’s license restoration services) to individuals returning to their communities following incarceration.
In the housing law practice area CGLA represents individuals facing the loss of subsidized housing due to allegations of criminal activity by a household member or guest under HUD’s “one-strike” policy. We represent clients in both eviction court and administrative voucher termination proceedings. We also advocate for clients denied admission into subsidized housing programs based on their criminal record.
The Client Intake and Legal Support (CILS) team assists all legal teams.in the provision of legal services. The CILS team members are the face of CGLA. They screen applications and requests for assistance for eligibility, conduct interviews of prospective clients, and facilitate case acceptance meetings. The CILS team also collaborates with attorneys to research court records, prepares petitions to expunge and seal and other legal documents, and provides administrative support to help attorneys prepare for court proceedings, including the Live Call hearings at George Leighton and Markham courthouses.
Applicants who wish to be considered for a PILI-funded internship or fellowship must apply through the PILI process.
Other applicants may apply directly to internships that are posted on our website at https://www.cgla.net/careers.
CGLA will consider applicants based upon their commitment to public service and eligibility for Rule 711 licensure. Spanish-speaking ability is a plus. Those students who wish to extend their internship into the following semester will be given additional consideration.
CGLA hires interns and fellows on a rolling basis. We will begin processing applications for the Spring semester beginning October 15. All applications should be submitted no later than December 15 and will be considered until all positions are filled.
For the Summer, we will begin processing applications on October 15 for 2Ls, and on December 1 for 1Ls. All applications should be submitted no later than March 15 and will be considered until all positions are filled.
In addition to CGLA’s available PILI-funded internships (one each in the spring and summer) and fellowships (three in the summer), CGLA will assist applicants seeking outside funding or class credit.
CGLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and gives equal consideration to all qualified applicants without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender identity and expression, age, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, military status, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.
This agency is approved to host a Law Student Intern during the spring semester and during the summer. They are also approved to host Graduate Fellows.