In January of 2015, the PILI Alumni Network Leadership Council partnered with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) and Legal Prep Charter Academies to establish the Legal Prep Community Law Clinic, a monthly clinic for student families, neighbors of Legal Prep in the Garfield Park neighborhood and other low-income clients from around the city.
As we conclude the clinic’s first year, PILI is happy to report on its successes:
- 26 attorneys have volunteered at the clinic, including PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann and PILI Program Manager Katie Pieper, who serve as co-coordinators for the clinic.
- 31 community members have made appointments and met with attorney volunteers.
- 20 clients have received assistance from pro bono attorneys.
- 3 law firms each adopted a clinic date and PILI Alumni from those firms volunteering at the clinic. Thank you to:
Brinks Gilson and Lione
Reed Smith LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
- A variety of legal issues have been addressed, including, but not limited to:
Child support modification
Contract & warranty disputes
Eviction from both landlords and tenants
Minor and adult guardianship
The volunteers themselves have had an overwhelmingly positive experience. As one PILI Alum said, “Working at the clinic and being able to help people in need reminded me of why I became a lawyer in the first place.”
PILI coordinates this monthly clinic, which will continue next year on the second Tuesday of every month, except in July and December. PILI has invited law firms that participate in its Graduate Fellowship Program to “adopt” a clinic date with PILI Alumni from the firm serving as pro bono attorneys at the clinic. If your firm is interested in adopting a clinic date, please contact Executive Director Michael Bergmann by email or by phone at 312-832-5129.
Other PILI Alumni who are interested in volunteering can sign up at one of the following event pages:
Thank you to everyone who volunteered and helped coordinate the first year of the Legal Prep Community Law Clinic! We are excited to continue this program next year.