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.

The cost of being a good daughter

Family Health Emergency Causes Financial Chaos

Barbara Mallon, Mallon & Johnson

Last year, Adriana was a typical college student. She was living away from home in an off-campus apartment with three roommates. In December 2018, she found out that her mother’s health had deteriorated. Adriana made the difficult choice to leave college and return home to Chicago to take care of her mother and help with finances at home.

Adriana paid rent for her apartment in January 2019 but stopped in February. She tried her best to sublet the apartment but could not find anyone to take over the rest of her lease. In February 2019, she sought help from the CVLS Clinic at Old St. Mary’s (OSM) Church.

New Judge in 1806 - Guardianship of Minors

Honorable Stephanie Miller

CVLS welcomes the Honorable Stephanie Miller to the bench in 1806, the courtroom where all Cook County minor guardianship cases are heard. Judge Miller is a former 6th Subcircuit judge of the Cook County Judicial Circuit Court in Illinois. She attended Northwestern University and Loyola University School of Law. Her professional experience includes working as an Assistant Publican Guardian and Assistant State’s Attorney. In January 2017, she was appointed to the seat previously held by Robert Lopez Cepero. She has been affiliated with the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, Hispanic Lawyers’ Association of Illinois, Puerto Rican Bar Association, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Westbucktown Neighborhood Association, Maplewood and Lucy Flowers Park Advisory Council, and Friends of Goethe School. Judge Miller has already appointed CVLS in a number of new cases and we look forward to working with her.

Board News

Governing and Junior Boards Hold Elections

Left to right: Andy Miller, Elizabeth Riddle, Elaine Sit, Christine Skoczylas

Congratulations to Laverne Horton, BDO USA, Michelle Marek Figueiredo, Paul Hastings LLP, Julie Marion, Latham & Watkins, Patrick McKey, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Katherine Dennis Nye, Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, and Matthew Schiltz. Each were reelected for another three-year term on CVLS’ Board of Directors. Thank you to retiring board members Edwin Del Hierro and Deborah Bone for their service.

Andy Miller, Locke Lord, Elizabeth Riddle, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Elaine Sit, Law Office of Elaine Sit, and Christine Skoczylas, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, were elected to serve their first terms on the board. Andy Miller previously served a three-year term on the Junior Board.

2019 leadership

2019 leadership

The Board of Directors held officer elections on May 22 with the following results:

Kimberly Halvorsen - President
Dan Winters - VP Finance
Michelle Marek Figueiredo - VP Development
Eddie Houlihan - VP Client Services
Bryan Webster - Secretary

Jordan Heinz - Executive Committee
Julie Marion - Executive Committee
Joe Seder - Executive Committee

Congratulations to everyone and thank you for all that you do.

Law & Disorder 2019

Chicago Comes Out to Honor Pro Bono Winners

CVLS hosted our sixth annual comedy show and volunteer recognition event on May 30th. Comedian Michael Palascak had the room in stitches as attendees gathered at River Roast to celebrate the accomplishments of Chicago’s diverse legal community and the impact we had in 2018. Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support for CVLS and our wonderful volunteers who make it all happen. With all of your help, CVLS was able to net over $33k to further our mission of providing top-quality legal aid to the most vulnerable citizens of our great city.

CVLS’ 2018 Annual Report now available!

CVLS is pleased to announce that our 2018 annual report is now available online at In it you will see many examples of seemingly small pro bono cases having big impacts on people’s lives. Every day our volunteers do little things with great love, and in doing so chang this city for the better.

As we move into our 55th year, CVLS is more committed than ever to fulfilling our role of providing free civil legal aid to Chicago and building on all of our success. Our work would not be possible without the generous support of our donors and allies like you, so thank you for empowering us to make a difference!

Learn the ropes with cvls

Take advantage of our free CLE courses

Illinois requires their legal professionals take a certain amount of CLE each year. If you are lucky enough to have an employer that covers this expense, that’s great news! Not all legal professionals are so lucky, and the costs associated with fulfilling the required number of hours can get expensive.

Contest winner

We received many submissions for our Friendly Lawyer’s Conference contest. Thank you to everyone who submitted, and to our winner, John Festa.

“For the last 2 years I have been the co-chair of the Wills for heroes program through the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers section. The program provides free estate planning for all first responders and their spouses or partners. We hold 8 to 9 clinics a year and most are about 5 hours long..."

sweet treats for sweet outcome

Polsinelli Attorney Resolves Case as GAL

Andrew Ryerson, Polsinelli

Erica is 19 years old. She suffers from cerebral palsy and other medical conditions that make her incapable of bearing her own weight. She is non-verbal, requires a wheelchair, and is incapable of making her own personal and financial decisions.

Evonne, Erica’s mother, filed for guardianship of Erica. The Probate Court appointed CVLS as Guardian ad Litem to investigate the facts of the case and provide a recommendation. CVLS assigned the case the pro bono volunteer, Andrew Ryerson of Polsinelli P.C.

No More Debt for This Vet

Rosa's Adoption Story

Justin Storer, Lakelaw

Overburdened by student loans, a defunct car note, and medical debt, Brittany was in desperate need of filing for bankruptcy. Brittany is a veteran of the United State Army, but her VA benefits are not enough to pay her debts, care for her six-year-old son, and hire a private bankruptcy attorney.

Brittany served her country, and it was time for CVLS to serve her. She was able to connect with us through the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN). We reviewed her case and placed it with volunteer attorney, Justin Storer of Lakelaw.