Lisa McCraw is the Assistant General Counsel of Litigation at Deere & Company in Moline, Illinois. Her involvement with PILI can be traced back to 2009, when Michael Bergmann, then PILI’s Director of Programs, sent her an email and asked her to join PILI’s Pro Bono Opportunities Advisory Team. Given her role as the leader of Deere’s pro bono committee, Michael thought Lisa would be an indispensable person to have at the table as PILI looked to expand our pro bono efforts across the state.
Following this initial e-mail, Lisa jumped right in. She joined the team, and also assisted in reviewing specialized home pages for IllinoisProBono.org for corporate law departments. She was a regular at PILI’s annual Corporate Pro Bono Roundtables, as well as many Pro Bono Receptions and Annual Awards Luncheons.
In 2013, when PILI decided to expand the Board of Directors to include representation from outside of Chicago, Lisa was a clear choice. “I have really enjoyed being a member of the board,” Lisa said. “This has been a great opportunity for me to see the impact of pro bono work in larger cities like Chicago, and be able to carry those ideas back to my law department and the smaller communities where Deere is located.” And the sharing of ideas goes both ways. As Lisa explains, “I also enjoy bringing the perspective of those of us outside the Chicago metro area to the table.” Such a perspective is increasingly important as PILI’s work continues to grow across the state of Illinois.
Lisa led Deere’s pro bono committee through November of 2014, and continues to serve as a committee member. On top of this, 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.
“It is remarkable to look back to Michael’s email of 2009, and see how far we have come,” Lisa says, noting that PILI’s board now reflects statewide membership, and PILI has also expanded in scope to reach many areas across the state. “It is an honor to be part of such an organization.”