Welcome to the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services webpage on Pro Bono Opportunities and Information for Lawyers. This page will inform members of pro bono opportunities available to Illinois lawyers through various legal service providers. It also contains stories about pro bono opportunities and the experiences other lawyers have had participating in pro bono. The Illinois State Bar Association encourages lawyers to participate in pro bono activities and give back to their communities.
National Pro Bono Week
National Pro Bono Celebration Week was October 21-27, 2018
Coordinated by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, Pro Bono Week is intended to inspire even greater pro bono participation by lawyers throughout the nation. This initiative provides an opportunity for legal organizations across the country to collaboratively commemorate the vitally important contributions of America's lawyers and to recruit and train the many additional volunteers required to meet the growing demand. The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service undertook this initiative to provide a format for showcasing the incredible difference that pro bono lawyers make to our nation, to our system of justice, to our communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve. For more information, visit www.celebrateprobono.org.
The ISBA, through its Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, has commemorated this national celebration each year by encouraging its members to do pro bono and by recognizing those who meet the call. In 2015, the ISBA launched its Pro Bono Partner initiative, through which members commit to: (1) seek out the local pro bono legal services being supplied to individuals or charitable, religious or civic organizations in their community; (2) attend or support a recognition ceremony for those who participate in pro bono services in their community; (3) consider attending trainings provided to lawyers who provide pro bono services; and (4) commit to joining the efforts to increase access to the legal system.
You are also encouraged to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper highlighting the good works of local lawyers, ask that a proclamation be adopted by your local government, or other activities to promote this event and recognize the efforts of current pro bono volunteers. Below is a sample letter and a proclamation you can download and use.
- Sample Letter to the Editor
- Sample News Release for Pro Bono Week Proclamation and Event
Just for Fun
More information on National Pro Bono Week
Spotlight on Pro Bono
Informative and uplifting articles on pro bono opportunities and experiences
How much Illinois Attorneys Contribute to Pro Bono Legal Services Already
In 2017, the ARDC reports that 32,446 lawyers in Illinois provided pro bono legal services by providing more than 1,913,322 hours of free legal services and 19,871 Illinois lawyers also donated over $17 million dollars to help fund additional legal services. Although it is apparent there is widespread dedication among Illinois lawyers to pro bono causes, there is still an unmet need for more legal assistance. In addition, $95 of every annual registration fee last year was used to fund legal services in this state. Since 2003, the first year that the ARDC began collecting the funds, over $40 million has been remitted to the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois.
Find the Pro Bono Program that is Right for You
- Legal Answers Pro Bono Clinic - Celebrate Law Day with bar associations and lawyers throughout Illinois by hosting a Legal Answers Pro Bono Clinic.
- Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation - acts as a general practice law firm for the poor with the help of volunteer attorneys.
- IllinoisLegalAid.org is a statewide website that provides free legal information and forms on Illinois law. IllinoisLegalAid.org offers free training and practice support for volunteer attorneys, as well as a search tool for finding specific pro bono opportunities.
- Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation - a legal service provider focusing on civil legal services for low-income individuals and senior citizens. Serves 65 counties in central southern Illinois.
- LAF (Legal Assistance Foundation) - a legal service provider focusing on civil legal service for low-income individuals and senior citizens in Chicago and Suburban Cook County.
- Prairie State Legal Services - a legal service provider focusing on civil legal services for low-income individuals and senior citizens. Serves 38 counties in central and northern Illinois.
- Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc. provides free mediation services throughout the state with help of volunteer mediators.
- Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) -
an agency which works to cultivates a lifelong commitment to public interest law and pro bono service within the Illinois legal community to expand the availability of legal services for people, families and communities in need.
Learn about the Illinois Supreme Court Rules on Pro Bono
John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award
The award is named in memory of Rock Island attorney John McAndrews, who chaired the ISBA Committee on Delivery of Legal Services and is awarded to individual lawyers, law firms and corporate law departments, and bar associations.
The Joseph R. Bartylak Memorial Legal Services Award
This award is named in memory of legal services attorney Joseph R. Bartylak to annually honor his extraordinary commitment and dedication to civil legal services and his outstanding service to Illinois’ vulnerable and low-income population.