A History of Celebrating Pro Bono

In 1999, PILI launched the Pro Bono Initiative Program to enhance the scope and quantity of pro bono legal assistance in Illinois for those who lack access to justice. Through this program, PILI offers a range of pro bono programming and resources and develops innovative projects and cultivates best practices, as well as celebrates ongoing pro bono contributions.

As part of that program in 2001, a large group of Chicago-area law firms and corporate legal departments joined PILI for a signing ceremony to formally acknowledge their joint commitment to incorporating pro bono legal services into their business cultures.

Groundbreaking at its inception, this early statement of pro bono principles acknowledged the critical role of the legal profession in addressing the unmet legal needs of Illinois’ poor and underrepresented. Those trailblazing law firms and corporate legal departments agreed to actively engage in and support pro bono practice, and to develop pro bono policies within their firms and legal departments.

PILI continued to recognize a growing roster of law firms and corporate legal departments committed to pro bono through our Pro Bono Initiative Honor Roll until 2006, and since 2010, we have honored the significant pro bono contributions of law firms, corporate legal departments and legal industry corporate partners throughout the state of Illinois with our annual Pro Bono Recognition Roster.

Law firms and corporations that meet the Recognition Roster's criteria are honored at PILI's Annual Pro Bono Reception each year.  The Annual Pro Bono Reception celebrates the inspiring and life-changing pro bono work being done in Illinois through effective pro bono programs, innovative partnerships, and the unwavering dedication of individual pro bono attorneys and legal professionals.

View PILI's Past Pro Bono Recognition Rosters: