CVLS' History

CVLS was founded June 2, 1964 by a group of young attorneys who recognized that the access to justice enjoyed by clients of their large Chicago law firms was a far cry from that of many Chicagoans. In announcing the new initiative, founder John Ferren told area social service organizations, “I hope you will feel free to refer to us clients who need legal advice and do not appear able to afford legal counsel. Perhaps through such referral you can help us bring some measure of justice to situations in which the poor man otherwise would have no resource.”

For more than 50 years CVLS has remained the first and pre-eminent pro bono civil legal aid provider in Chicago. Thanks to more than 2,400 volunteer attorneys and a low per-case cost, CVLS provides the most comprehensive, efficient and cost-effective civil legal aid in Chicago.