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PILI Holds Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees Summit

2024 Summit Attendees (L to R): PILI Board Vice President Kyle Petersen, President Daniel Lange, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mark Kay O’Brien, Justice David Overstreet, PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann and Justice Elizabeth Rochford

PILI hosted its triennial Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees Summit on May 15th and 16th in Springfield. The Summit is intended to bring together leaders from PILI’s Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees and other statewide partners in our work.

Currently, PILI has eleven Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees across the state. The first such committee was established in 2011 in the Third Judicial Circuit. The most recently established committee was in 2021 in the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit. PILI plans to add additional committees in the coming years.

The Summit was kicked off with a dinner for participants who were joined by Illinois Supreme Court Justices Mary Kay O’Brien, David Overstreet and Elizabeth Rochford. Summit participants met all day on May 16th to discuss a variety of topics both in large and small group formats. Large group discussion topics included: Pro Bono Opportunities & Challenges in a Post-COVID World and Recruitment, Retention & Recognition of Pro Bono Volunteers. Small group discussions focused on specific partner groups or issues and included Judiciary & Bar Associations, Brief Advice & Limited Scope Services and AI & Other Technology.

This was the fourth Summit hosted by PILI. The first was held in 2014 and then in 2017. A third was planned for 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID pandemic and held virtually in 2021. In addressing attendees at this year’s Summit, PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann said, “Our Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees – and many of you here tonight – drove us to be more, to do more. As we brought local community pro bono leaders together, you said “What can PILI do to help us do more?” You challenged us to do more than just bring people together to facilitate the sharing of best practices. You challenged us to look for the gaps; to think about how pro bono resources could be expanded and deployed in new ways. You have made us the PILI we are today.”

PILI’s Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees strive to increase equal access to justice by promoting and enhancing pro bono legal services within a specific judicial circuit by:

  • Raising awareness of the need for free or low-cost legal services;
  • Identifying and reducing barriers to providing free or low-cost legal services;
  • Promoting pro bono legal services and recruiting attorneys and legal professionals to participate in existing pro bono programs;
  • Identifying gaps in the delivery of legal services to low-income individuals and families and developing innovative approaches to filling those gaps through pro bono; and
  • Recognizing the pro bono contributions of attorneys and legal professionals.

For more information about PILI’s Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees, please contact PILI Executive Director Michael Bergmann by email or at 312-832-5129.

Posted in Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees, News, Pro Bono.