The Twentieth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee is convening for the first time on Tuesday, June 26th to focus on increasing pro bono services in Monroe, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington Counties. This group, compromised of local lawyers and judges, will plan pro bono trainings, volunteer opportunities and pro bono recognition events to promote and enhance pro bono legal services locally.
“The number of people who are unable to afford legal representation in the State of Illinois is staggering, and the Twentieth Judicial Circuit is no different,” said the Honorable Julie Katz, Associate Judge in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit and member of the Board of Directors the Illinois Judges Association who will chair the committee. “When I was approached about serving on a committee to increase the amount of pro bono representation offered to the residents of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, I did not have to think twice before agreeing to serve. I am happy to do my part to ensure that we meet the legal needs of as many people as possible.”
The Twentieth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will be one of eight such committees launched by the Public Interest Law Initiative in Illinois. All the committees differ in size and their goals vary depending on the local needs of the circuit, but each focuses on raising awareness of the need for free or low-cost legal services, recruiting volunteers, helping deliver legal services to those in need and recognizing the impact of pro bono. Last year, over 150 attorneys assisted more than 500 clients through PILI’s Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees.
“The Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees help us identify and provide for the legal needs of a local area, rather than trying to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to the entire state,” said Michael G. Bergmann, PILI’s Executive Director. “We’re excited to expand our focus to promoting equal access to justice in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit and help ensure more people in this area receive the legal help they need.”
PILI launched the Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committees in 2011 in the Third Judicial Circuit (Edwardsville area), and now also has committees in the Fifth (Danville-Mattoon-Paris area), Sixth (Champaign-Decatur area), Tenth (Peoria area), Eleventh (Bloomington area), Fourteenth (Rock Island area) and Eighteenth (DuPage County) Judicial Circuits.
Learn more about the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee here »