News

News

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.

Hel.LAS

Greek Legal Clinic Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Hel.LAS volunteers pose at their 1 year anniversary celebration

Realizing that there were countless members of their community with limited financial resources and a need for legal assistance, the Hellenic Foundation’s (HF) Executive Director Peter Valessares and Hellenic Bar Association (HBA) Chairman Eleni Kouimelis decided to do something. They contacted CVLS Junior Board member Eleni Katsoulis and together they worked on a solution. On May 13, 2016 the Hel.LAS legal clinic, a partnership between the HBA, HF and CVLS, was born.

Fishing for a Deal

The Sun Dries Out Underwater Mortgage

Gabriel Borges, CVLS Staff Attorney

Mr. and Mrs. C. were determined to save their home from foreclosure despite the fact that it was seriously underwater. They’d applied for a loan modification several times but were always denied because of insufficient documentation. It didn’t help that they did not speak English. Finally, the judge in their foreclosure case put them into the Cook County Foreclosure Mediation Program where, ultimately, they were lucky enough to get CVLS staff attorney Gabriel Borges. Working with Gabe, the clients applied to the SUN Initiative, which purchases underwater property as a short sale, then loans the homeowner money to purchase the property back from SUN at a price above its appraised value. When it works, the remaining balance owed to the bank from the short sale is forgiven and the homeowner keeps his home.

The Closer

CVLS Volunteer Tackles Real Estate Closing Completely Pro Bono!

Lauren Sanuw, Sanuw Law Office, P.C.

Many of our clients face more than one legal problem. In fact, more than half (54%) of low-income households face at least two civil legal problems each year. One in four (24%) has faced six or more legal problems in the past year alone.

Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Peterson

Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Peterson

 

When Ms. H needed a bankruptcy, she was referred to a “preparer” who charged her $750 to complete the forms. At her preliminary bankruptcy hearing, the trustee reviewing her case described her paperwork as some of the most poorly prepared he had ever seen. The preparer created handwritten schedules of Ms. H’s assets and liabilities, and listed everything as domestic support obligations. Had that document been filed, none of her debts would be dischargeable under the law. The trustee saw that Ms. H had been taken advantage of, and referred her to CVLS volunteer, Liz Peterson.

Staff Spotlight: No Child Left Behind: Miriam Araya Helps All Children Have a Voice

When families face legal issues children are the ones most negatively affected, and this is especially true for those in low-income families. Enter CVLS’ Child Rep Program! Through this venture, CVLS works to connect pro bono attorneys to children in need of representation. Integral to this process is Child Rep Coordinator, Miriam Araya.

Case Note: Carolyn

In 2009, Carolyn and her husband divorced. Her ex-husband was the sole owner of the property and the sole borrower under the mortgage loan. As part of the divorce, he quitclaimed the property to Carolyn, but remained on the mortgage.

Standout Volunteers Honored at Law & Disorder

Each year at Law & Disorder CVLS honors the volunteers who make our good work possible. Our volunteers spend nights and weekends working with clients and they take time out of their busy workday to help someone who cannot afford a lawyer obtain access to justice. Every year thousands of attorneys help low income Chicagoans resolve their legal problems, for free, because they believe it is the right thing to do.

Volunteer wins DePaul Pro Bono Award!

Longtime CVLS volunteer Joe Pieper won the 2017 DePaul University College of Law Pro Bono Alumni Award. Joe has worked with CVLS for more than 20 years, taking on countless Guardian ad litem cases in addition to accepting appointments directly from Cook County Probate Judges. Joe’s willingness to help CVLS and our clients extends to  taking contested, complex cases and last-minute GAL appointments. An asset to CVLS and his clients, it’s common to see Joe, with kindness and patience, helping a pro se client fill in a complicated form in the hallway on the 18th floor of the Daley Center.

Rebekah, Milton & Yeny

Milton and Yeny enjoyed a nice life in Guatemala City until Milton witnessed a gang execution on his way home from work. He didn’t want to be a witness. He was caught in the middle of the street as a group of men harassed a 15-year-old boy. Suddenly, before Milton could turn around, one man pulled out a gun and shot the boy in the head. Milton recognized the man as the leader of a feared gang. That man and a few of his followers ran up to Milton and threatened to kill him too. They let him go with a warning. “You didn’t see anything.”

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