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.

CVLS Volunteer Hits the bench

Pro Bono Attorney Appointed as Circuit Judge!

James T. Derico, Jr., At-Large Cook County Circuit Judge

Experienced volunteer and two-time recipient of the CVLS Distinguished Service Award, James T. Derico, Jr., has been appointed as an At-Large Cook County Circuit Judge. According to the Supreme Court’s press release, he will fill the vacancy of the Honorable Matthew Coghlan, beginning January 28, 2019.

Mr. E's Story

Arbitration Veterans Defend Air Force Veteran

Claire Whitehead, Associate, Swanson Martin & Bell, LLP

A six-year veteran of the United States Air Force, Mr. E was sued for more than $27,000 after being involved in a four-way car accident. Although he works full time and receives veteran’s benefits, he is the sole support of two young children and could not afford to hire an attorney to defend him.

Got a minute?

Michael Bloxham, doctoral intern at the Forensic Center, is conducting research on how much legal professionals know about mental health issues. Please complete and share the survey below to assist Michael with his work:

Click here to take the survey.

Congratulations Ruth Ann!

Ruth Ann Schmitt

Former CVLS Executive Director, Ruth Ann Schmitt, was honored today at the Illinois Bar Foundation Fellows Breakfast!

Ruth received the Distinguished Service for Law & Society Award. Among other accomplishments, she was the first executive director of the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois (LTF).

Deal or No Deal

Volunteer secures safety deposit!

When needed, our volunteers can be masters of both litigation and negotiation.

Carlena recently moved out of her apartment, expecting the return of her $1,500 security deposit. On a fixed income of just over $700 per month, she was relying on the deposit to pay for some upcoming expenses. Despite calling, texting, and sending letters, Carlena could not get her landlord to cooperate.

CVLS interviewed Carlena and asked volunteer attorney, Mark Liston to take her case. Mark got to work immediately, contacting the landlord and requesting the return of Carlena’s security deposit. The landlord responded that Carlena had damaged the unit, and threatened to countersue for the costs of repair.

Big help without the big bill

Paul Dengel, Schiff Hardin

Good, affordable lawyers are hard to come by. At Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, we pride ourselves on connecting low-income clients to skilled attorneys at no cost to the client.

T.’s case started as a simple modification of child support. Unable to work full-time, she needed additional support from her child’s father. In 2014, the father’s child support obligation had been reduced to zero because of alleged critical health problems that prevented him from working.

Vino + Van Gogh

Junior Board hosts 9th Annual Fundraiser

On November 30 the Junior Board of Chicago Volunteer Legal Services showed once again that they can throw one heck of a party. Nearly 350 people attended the event at Ovation Chicago on Friday night raising almost $50,000 for legal aid. We are truly grateful to be supported by so many people every single year we have held this event. It is amazing to see all of your faces at the party and be surrounded by people who are touched and encouraged by our mission of providing equal access to justice to Chicago.

Social Security Success

Ehsan Eftekhari, Eftekhari Law Offices

You know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? The visceral feeling you get when something has gone horribly wrong? That’s the feeling Mohammed got when he received a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) telling him that he owed them about $6,000.