With 50 years of experience providing high quality, free legal services to low-income Chicagoans, CVLS and its volunteers are often recognized for their outstanding work.

Schiff Hardin and CVLS Celebrate 40-Year Pro Bono Partnership

First firm-adopted legal aid clinic structure has expanded to 24 CVLS clinics across Chicago

CHICAGO – Schiff Hardin LLP and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) are proud to commemorate 40 years of their unique and trailblazing pro bono partnership to advance change, improve lives, and bring justice, which began with the first-ever firm adoption of a CVLS neighborhood legal clinic in 1979.

Rare bottle for auction

Famous Distillery Donates 6 Millionth Barrel Bottle to CVLS

Buffalo Trace has donated 400 bottles from its 6 millionth barrel to charities across the country in hopes to raise $500,000 for worthy causes.

CVLS is holding an online auction for this historical bottle with the winner to be announced online and at Vino + Van Gogh on November 15th. To bid on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity visit the auction page at:

Rebekah Named to 40 Under Forty

Rebekah Rashidfarokhi, CVLS’ GAL for Minors Program Director, has been a long-time advocate for the under privileged. While working through her undergraduate and law degrees, Rebekah volunteered for programs dedicated to supporting immigrants, refugees, and victims of domestic violence. One of these programs even included an immigrants rights organization at the US-Mexico border long before the current political climate has thrust the issue back into the spotlight.

New Deceased Borrowers Hotline

CVLS Tests a New Service

Every year, hundreds of Chicago families inherit homes with mortgages. If that mortgage is in default, the family faces a huge problem. Often, these families can afford to keep the property and would qualify for a loan modification, but mortgage servicers are notoriously bad at communicating with heirs. Also, these families may need to go through probate, but need an attorney to help them. CVLS recently launched a pilot hotline program for these families. Heirs can call CVLS and get connected with a trained law student. The student talks them through their options and screens them for good CVLS cases. If home retention is possible, the call proceeds to a full intake and possible legal representation. The program is in its early stages, but we hope to expand it soon.

Navigating an Intestate Mess

Volunteer Doesn’t Accept the Run Around

Barbara Mallon, Mallon & Johnson

While still grieving about her husband’s death, Patricia needed to get his affairs in order. That included changing the title to two cars and cashing checks payable to him from his employer and union.

Although she tried to resolve her issues with a small estate affidavit, various bank, union and secretary of state employees either insisted on court orders or refused to even talk to her.


There has been a recent update to the court fees associated with CVLS adoption cases. Please note the changes to the following fees:

GAL Fee Old - $25
New - $74
Criminal Background Old - $55
New - $56.25
(prices per person)
Birth Certificate Old - $15
New - $15
Total Old = $90 + $55 (extra background)
New = $146.25 + $55 (extra background)

twice as nice

Repeat Clients Achieve Repeat Success!

Eileen Kelly, Harrison Law LLC

CVLS represented Paul and Neatha at the height of the housing crisis through our Foreclosure Mediation Program. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers several years ago, the couple modified their loan, decreased their monthly payments, and saved their home from foreclosure.

But that wasn’t the end of their problems. This time, due to a mix-up concerning the new payments, the house was threatened by foreclosure yet again.

Adoption Tale

A Family 15 Years in the Making

Gwen Stewart, Sildey Austin LLP

Nearly two decades ago, with open and loving arms, Alice offered to take in a child whose mother did not have the means to care for him. The woman’s neighbor knew that Alice dreamt of being a mother and made that dream a reality when she asked Alice to take her two-day-old son home from the hospital.

After caring for the child for nearly 15 years, Alice wanted to formalize motherhood and turn her guardianship into an adoption.

Visitors from across the pond

CVLS Hosts German Students

We were lucky enough to host a group of German high school students interested in expanding social services back in their home country across the pond. Rebekah Azar Rashidfarokhi did a great job as always introducing them to CVLS and our model of utilizing volunteers to provide high quality pro bono services to our community. You’re a rock star Rebekah!