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.

Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

Juan’s Immigration Story

Laura Bloniarz, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP

Juan was just a young child when he first arrived in the United States. Although he was from a different country, Juan wound up living the life of a regular American kid, going to a regular American high school and falling in love with the young woman he eventually married. Despite his lack of citizenship, Juan was always proud to be a member of his community.

After the couple married and had their first child, Juan’s wife tried to sponsor him for permanent residence. The application process took years. By the time Juan was legally allowed to remain here, his wife had already given birth to their second child.


Working Together to Ensure Safe Living Environments for Our Elderly Clients

Kevin Fritz, Seyfarth Shaw

When Charlie traveled from Michigan to visit her elderly mother in Chicago, she noticed that her mother, Dorothy, had lost a significant amount of weight. Charlie quickly got Dorothy to the doctor and moved from the home she shared with Charlie’s brother into a more structured living arrangement, while also nursing her back to better health. As Charlie lives in Michigan, she was worried that her mother’s health might decline again once Charlie moved back home. So, Charlie went to court and petitioned for guardianship.


CVLS Volunteers Help Keep Food on the Table

Kenneth relies heavily upon his food stamps to make ends meet. Two years ago, Illinois’ Department of Human Services (DHS) conducted an over-the-phone re-certification for his benefits and asked him whether he was receiving any income. Kenneth answered, “no” although he was getting unemployment compensation at the time. He didn’t understand that this state benefit was considered income. DHS later learned of the unemployment benefits and informed Kenneth that a small percentage of his food stamps would be deducted every month until he repaid $590. Kenneth understood and did not contest this because he would still have enough to eat. Kenneth felt he was safe.

The Power of Bankruptcy

How Marissa Got Back on Her Feet

Tina Tran, Needle & Thread Law

You may remember the beginning of Marissa’s story from our Facebook page. A homemaker and the mother of a five-year-old son, Marissa was laid off from her job. She decided to go back to school with the support of her husband, the sole provider of the household. Overwhelmed with debt and struggling financially, Marissa and her husband came to CVLS for help.


New Year, New Rules

EFiling becomes mandatory in Cook County state trial courts (e.g. Daley Center) on January 1, 2018. The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County has created pre-recorded training videos and an End User Guide in .pdf format. In addition, four In Person Training Sessions are available each weekday. Please take advantage of these resources in order to familiarize yourself with eFiling procedures. Find them at the Clerk’s website:


Long Time Volunteer Honored with the Position

Laura Ashmore, Davis | Friedman, President of the Illinois Chapter of The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

CVLS would like to congratulate Laura Ashmore on her election as president of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Laura has been a longtime CVLS volunteer and is an active proponent of pro bono legal aid. Needless to say, we think the Illinois AAML made an excellent choice and are confident that she will provide fantastic leadership during her term.


CVLS Volunteer Uses Mediation to Bring a Family Together

Sandra Crawford, Law Crawford, P.C.

CVLS was appointed as GAL of 18-month Marcell after his young mom petitioned to discharge the paternal grandmother’s guardianship. When volunteer attorney Sandra Crawford stepped in, the family was in dire straits. Marcell’s mom was living in a homeless shelter. His father refused to participate in the case and the frustrated guardian was on the verge of walking away.


Familiar Faces Awarded for Excellence

Nobody in the history of legal aid has ever made their career in this field for money, fame or power. It’s not fancy cars or big houses that draws people to a life dedicated to serving your fellow human beings. What drives these special individuals is a selfless desire to help others because it is right, and it is good. That is all the reason they need. The world will keep spinning and may not ever notice, but the people whose lives they’ve changed will forever be the better for it.


CVLS Volunteer Scores Big Against Insurance Company!

Dave Zulkey, Law Offices of Zulkey and Associates

65-year-old William relies on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as his only source of income. For clients like William, unexpected expenses can be devastating.

In March 2016, William’s car was hit by another driver. Although no one was hurt, his car required $2,000 in repairs, which he couldn’t afford. His claim to the other driver’s insurance company was promptly rejected. After CVLS’ demand letter was equally unsuccessful, we filed a lawsuit against the other driver and added the insurance company as a third party defendant.


We Have Another Celebrity on Our Hands

Janice Dantes, Attorney at Law

On October 14, CVLS Junior Board member Janice Dantes will be inducted into the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame!

The annual Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame is a very prestigious award in the Filipino American community of Chicago and the Midwest. It recognizes outstanding individuals for demonstrating uncommon, innovative, and civic responsibility, and who have excelled and achieved so much for the encouragement and betterment of the Filipino American community.