On Tuesday, May 17th, PILI was recognized for its work with its Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee by the DuPage County Board. This recognition was initiated by County Board Member Julie Renehan, who is an attorney and active pro bono volunteer. PILI along with its partners from the DuPage County Bar Association, DuPage Legal Aid, Prairie State and Pro Bono Network were presented with an official proclamation honoring them by Board President Daniel J. Cronin. PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann attended the Board meeting to receive the proclamation on PILI’s behalf.
PILI established the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee in 2017, in cooperation with the DuPage County Bar Association. The committee is comprised of local lawyers, judges and legal aid partners who strive to enhance equal access to justice by encouraging and promoting pro bono work in the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit. Since its inception the Committee has organized an annual expungement clinic for local residents (including one coming up this fall), multiple Illinois Free Legal Answers Clinics, and other activities to increase and enhance pro bono in the circuit. The Honorable Bryan Chapman is the chair of the committee.
The proclamation noted that it is estimated that in half of all low-income households in Illinois, a member of that household will need to seek legal assistance and that 83% of those residents are unable to afford a lawyer. It further stated that “legal services impact basic human needs, including physical safety, access to healthcare, government benefits and adequate housing.” The proclamation further noted the work of the legal aid partners in addresses these needs as well as the many attorneys and legal professional from DuPage County who provide pro bono legal assistance.