|News from the Legal Aid Society
The Legal Aid Society (LAS) of Metropolitan Family Services was one of the first organizations in the nation to provide legal services for the poor. Since 1886 it has been a pioneer in providing "justice for all," regardless of ability to pay.
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EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE AWARD LUNCHEON | 10.21.20
Join LAS over Zoom on Wednesday, October 21 to celebrate critical legal services for low-income, Chicago-area families, and recognizes the outstanding pro bono work supporting those services.
We are pleased to honor Hubert Allen, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Abbott Laboratories!
Know Your Rights Trainings now on YouTube!
Our Individual Rights and Social Justice Practice Group has developed a series of video trainings in multiple languages, including resources available during Covid-19, health and safety in the workplace, and more.
View our LAS Community Trainings playlist
Chicago's response rate is currently at about 56%. How many households in your community have yet to be counted?
Hard to Count 2020: Self-Response Map
Complete your census at my2020census.gov
Associate General Counsel, Verizon
"LAS provides a unique opportunity to meet not just the legal needs of its clients, but to provide life-changing wrap-around services through MFS. It's this unique partnership that enables LAS to have a lasting impact on the families and individuals it serves, as demonstrated through the inspiring stories of those who have found independence and security after facing problems that once seemed insurmountable."
As the Legal Aid Society adjusts, along with the rest of the legal aid community, to the realities of remote communication and virtual client service, I'm pleased to share online resources and opportunities to get involved, as well as a few programming updates - and an invitation to our Equal Access to Justice Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, October 1.
Our CP4P (Communities Partnering 4 Peace) Justice Corps program continues to expand - and I'm pleased to share Sonny R. Thatch II will be moving into the role of Managing Attorney. Thanks to funding from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, in addition to providing general legal services for participants of CP4P (the Metropolitan Family Services-convened violence prevention initiative), LAS will now also offer cannabis expungement services.
I also look forward to sharing more in the coming months around our emerging work in impact litigation and advocacy. This is an area of particular importance to me, and I'm pleased to work together with several members of our Board of Directors to launch this initiative as we look towards opportunities take on issues of systemic racism and inequality.
Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services
"I hope the inequities the pandemic has exposed in our society will not get quickly unlearned."
The Illinois Supreme Court on Professionalism featured LAS Executive Director Miguel Keberlein in a special Lawyer Spotlight series exploring how attorneys are adapting professionally and personally to the coronavirus pandemic.
Miguel speaks to how LAS is adapting to Covid-19, the shifting demands and challenges LAS and the legal aid community have encounterd, and what the future looks like for the legal profession. READ MORE
Sonny R. Thatch II named Managing Attorney of CP4P Justice Corps
“Justice Corps will allow me to continue my hands-on work of making the communities where families like mine call home safer and more prosperous,” shares Sonny.
The Legal Aid Society (LAS) is pleased to announce Sonny R. Thatch II will move into the role of Managing Attorney for CP4P Justice Corps.
Sonny is a native of the Bronzeville and Auburn Gresham communities on the South Side of Chicago. The systemic challenges facing our neighborhoods is something that Sonny is personally familiar with, having lost family members to gun violence. READ MORE
"Her first priority was feeding her family, and then paying the rent and utilities."
LAS secures financial relief amid Covid-19 challenges
After losing her job due to Covid-19, "Sara" (name changed to protect identity) could not pay her ComEd bill or the rent on her home, where she lives with her two young daughters and her brother. Her former partner also lost his job during the pandemic, which meant he could no longer make the child support payments Sara relied on to feed her family.
To relieve Sara's financial burden, Supervising Attorney Hilary Chadwick applied for a Chicago housing grant and for the ComEd credit program on Sara's behalf. To Sara's relief, both applications were approved. "When I called to tell her the news, she burst into thears and was immensely grateful," shares Hilary. READ MORE
“As an attorney you always look for ways to give back.”
Volunteer Spotlight: Phil Finklestein, Elder Help Desk
Phil Finklestein began volunteering with the Legal Aid Society’s Elder Help Desk in 2019. Although he started his career in Minneapolis, two years ago he and his wife moved back to Chicago to be closer to family. A chance meeting outside a coffee shop with Mia Segal, Managing Attorney of the Health, Housing & Economic Stability Practice Group, brought Phil to LAS.
At the Elder Help Desk, Phil works with clients from a wide variety of backgrounds. He evaluates each case in a 45-minute interview and guides clients through their various legal issues, providing advice, referrals, and document drafting as needed. Phil has consistently volunteered weekly at the Help Desk, seeing an average of five clients per shift, even continuing to offer his invaluable assistance when the Help Desk went remote. MEET PHIL
The Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Program allows volunteers to make equal access to justice a reality. View our volunteering page to view our available opportunities, including Pro Bono Cases, Elder Help Desk, Simple Divorces, and Power of Attorney Clinics.
LAS is now accepting applications for fall internships! Visit our internships page to view our available opportunities and to apply.