Center for Disability and Elder Law (CDEL)

The Center for Disability & Elder Law (CDEL) is a not-for-profit, pro bono Chicago law firm, that has been serving low-income seniors and disabled persons since 1984. With 1,100 volunteer attorneys from throughout Chicago’s distinguished legal community, CDEL handles cases in many practice areas, including housing preservation and other real estate issues, landlord tenant matters, estate planning, adult guardianship, consumer claims and dissolution of marriage. CDEL is approved to host a Fall Law Student Intern, a Summer Law Student Intern and Graduate Fellows.

CDEL’s mission is two-fold:

  1. To provide low income seniors and people with disabilities, two of the most deserving, yet most underrepresented, groups in Cook County with access to high quality pro bono legal services; and
  2. To foster pro bono culture throughout the Chicago legal community.

Chicago is home to 280,000 people with disabilities living below the poverty level. Of the nearly 500,000 elderly in Chicago, half are women who live alone in poverty. While studies show that 80% of the civil legal needs of Chicago’s impoverished communities currently go unmet, CDEL works to bring equity to a legal system for those marginalized by poverty, disability and age.

PILI Interns & Fellows have an opportunity to gain a broad working knowledge of the legal system and a deeper understanding of individual practice areas, learn the protocol for pro bono legal services, provide direct legal services to these most worthy individuals and become familiar with the every-day operation of a not-for-profit organization. Fellows will work under the direct supervision of the CDEL Executive Director, Legal Director and staff attorneys and may work with CDEL volunteer attorneys. Opportunities for service include: conducting client intakes, performing research for CDEL programs and practice areas, case management and direct client representation (where appropriate).

Supreme Court 711 Program: Law students/graduates with current 711 licenses are invited to apply. 711 students will be assigned to specific cases and will work directly with attorneys from some of Chicago’s largest and most respected law firms in addition to CDEL staff attorneys. CDEL will assist eligible law students to obtain their 711 licenses. Strong written and communications and computer skills are a must.

This agency is approved to host a Law Student Intern during the fall semester and summer term. They are also approved to host Graduate Fellows.