Volunteer Success Stories: May, 2014

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Here's what our volunteers have been up to this month! 


When teenagers Evan’s and Everett’s mother died, their great grandmother, Catie, petitioned to become their legal guardian. Catie worked hard to care for the boys, but struggled with limited income, an old home and Evan’s significant disabilities. After the court appointed CVLS as guardian ad litem of the boys, volunteer Cherie Getchell of Daley Mohan Groble recommended that Catie be appointed their guardian. She also began to help Catie, the boys, and their extended family, with other issues to ensure that Evan and Everett were in the best possible environment.

Cherie helped Catie access low-cost bed bug removal services. She worked closely with the boys' schools to make sure they were getting appropriate services. Then she arranged for another CVLS volunteer to represent Catie in a housing case involving the family’s home.  Cherie took her role as GAL all the way.


Elizabeth took her in her 2-year-old nephew after his parents were murdered before his eyes. By the time he was a teenager, his traumatic background had caught up with him and he became increasingly difficult for Elizabeth to control. Eventually, he was arrested for possession of a weapon and drugs. Elizabeth found out about the arrests when she was notified by the Chicago Housing Authority that her rental assistance was terminated.

Elizabeth panicked. Her adult son, who has severe epileptic seizures, lives with her and they would have nowhere to go. Luckily, volunteer David Hanna ofBrinks Gilson & Lione agreed to represent her through CVLS’ Chancery Court Access to Justice Program. Thanks to his well-researched arguments, the Chancery Court reversed the CHA’s decision and Elizabeth’s housing benefits were reinstated. Thanks to David’s excellent work, Elizabeth and her son won’t be out on the street. 


Kim was lucky enough to grow up in her grandparents’ home. She’d lived there her entire life, and took over the mortgage when they died. However, financial problems threatened. Although she worked hard at two jobs and took in a renter, it wasn't enough. She tried to negotiate a loan modification on her own, but although she submitted and resubmitted documents, the lender refused to respond. Finally, she got help when the court put her into the Circuit Court of Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program.

John Marshall Law School volunteers Kyle Schlegel and Katie Andersonadvocated for Kim over the course of several years, well beyond Kyle’s graduation. Finally, as the attorneys were on the verge of filing a Motion for Sanctions against the lender, Kim was offered a permanent loan modification! With her hard work, aided by the dedication of her attorneys, Kim saved her family’s home and memories. 


CVLS sends a huge shout out to our loyal and very experienced volunteer, Rawn Reinhard, Partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP, and his team. Rawn focuses his practice on arbitration, general commercial and corporate litigation, and appeals.  Among other things, he represents securities brokerage firms and commercial clients in customer complaint litigation and in matters arising out of the departure of employees. He has also represented clients faced with class actions and derivative litigation.

As if that doesn't keep him busy enough, Rawn, with the assistance of his colleagues, has taken on a whopping FOURTEEN minor GAL cases in the past three years alone - WOW! Many of those cases were complicated or resulted in full trials. CVLS can always call on Rawn to take cases at any moment, and normally when we send him a list of options, his response is "I'll take all of them!" Rawn has also taken it upon himself to recruit and train others at NGE to work on these cases with him. Recently, he has received a lot of help from paralegals Aidan Gilbert and Debra Williams, and from associate Greg Forfa.

Rawn's experience as a dedicated and highly knowledgeable GAL is much appreciated. An enormous thank you to Rawn and his co-workers at Neal Gerber!