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.

LSC Update

Latest Report Highlights the Justice Gap in 2017

In 1974 Congress had a vision of equal access to justice and strived to bring it into reality. That same year the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) was created and has since served as the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans. In 2005, 2009 and now in 2017 the LSC released a report to update the public on the justice gap, defined as the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs.

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.

JEP Now Recruiting

The Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) is now searching for its tenth cohort of talented and entrepreneurial lawyers in the Chicago area. Over the course of 18 months, the JEP prepares participants to start, grow, and sustain innovative, socially conscious, and successful law practices that serve regular folks throughout Chicagoland. Information sessions will be held at the JEP offices at 208 S. Jefferson, Suite 204, on Monday, August 28, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. and Friday, September 1, 2017, at 12:15 p.m. Links to register for a session or to apply are live on www.jepchicago.org. Please apply no later than Friday, September 8, 2017 to be considered for the November 2017 JEP cohort.

Welcome (back) New & Renewed Board and Junior Board Members

Congratulations to Kim Halvorsen, of Clifford Law Offices, Eddie Houlihan, of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, Steve Raminiak, of Law Offices of Steve Raminiak, P.C. Dan Spira, of Sidley Austin LLP, Joe Tylutki of KEW Group and Bryan Webster of Reed Smith. Each were reelected for another three-year term on CVLS’ Board of Directors. Thank you to retiring board members Heidi Rowe and Jon Theobald for their board service.

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.

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