This is a guest post from outgoing PILI Board of Directors President, John J. Bourke. John focuses on corporate transactions in the cyber risk, security and technology space. He has brought a wide range of corporate legal and business experience gained from Chicago based organizations including The Northern Trust Company, JPMorgan Chase predecessors First Chicago Corporation, First Chicago NBD, Bank One, Aon plc and RSM US LLP.
Over the past two years as President of PILI’s Board of Directors, it has been my honor to work with the Board of Directors and our staff team to take tremendous strides toward fulfilling PILI’s mission. Together, we:
- Recently adopted PILI’s organizational budget that provides for both an increase in the stipend for our Law Student Interns as well as funds the largest number of Interns in our history.
- Created three new Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees in the First, Second and Twenty-Third Judicial Circuits.
- Expanded our Conflict of Interest Pro Bono Referral Panel from the Tenth Judicial Circuit to also include the Third and Sixth Judicial Circuits.
- Reaffirmed our commitment to Illinois Fee Legal Answers as a resource for those in need of civil legal help, especially as a result of the many challenges of the pandemic, and expanded the site to include Illinois Free Legal Answers for Civil Appeals in partnership with the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.
- Through all of PILI’s pro bono opportunities, we helped 7,066 clients in some way since September 1, 2020.
- Established an annual theme for PILI to better explain and promote the important role it places engaging, inspiring and empowering those advancing equal access to justice. This included this year’s theme, “Take the Initiative.”
- Established a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Working Group, which led to the creation of a new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer position on its Board of Directors and a Justice, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.
- Kicked off the celebration of PILI’s 45th Anniversary, which will culminate with the 45th Anniversary Awards Gala on December 1, 2022.
For the sake of brevity, the above are just some of our accomplishments.
I became involved with PILI after a chance elevator encounter with my former General Counsel who asked me to be the pro bono coordinator for Aon’s Global Law Department. My first task was to host the Corporate Pro Bono Roundtable for PILI at Aon, and I’d not previously been aware of PILI.
My favorite thing during my entire relationship with PILI has been to witness (and participate in) the dramatic growth during these challenging years.
The PILI team worked through a global financial crisis, pandemic, office relocation to name a few. This has been accomplished by the joint efforts of talented leadership from our esteemed Executive Director and the exceptional PILI Staff as well as our energetically engaged Board & Officers during this time, all the while watching PILI expand its reach and programs across the state, celebrating PILI’s 45th Anniversary while growing the base of financial supporters, which are the foundation for PILI’s future.
More than anything, I’ve loved meeting and working with so many “PILIans” over this time and have considered this to be the most FUN that I’ve had professionally, so far.
None of the accomplishments are mine, rather they result from the PILI founders’ great vision, and the hard work of all who have joined the cause!