The Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee will recognize National Pro-Bono Week by paying tribute to attorneys who have served their communities with free legal advice, free legal education and mediation for citizens who cannot afford legal counsel.
A recognition luncheon will be held in the LeClaire Room in Edwardsville on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 12 p.m.
Michael Bergman, Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) will be the featured speaker and Chief Judge David Hylla will present pro bono awards.
“For instance, Jennifer Shaw, who is receiving a pro bono award, while serving as a guardian ad litem for free, went above and beyond her duties," said Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, who heads the committee. "She took a trip to another state regarding an investigation, and due to her hard work, the case was heard smoothly and successfully."
This year marks the fifth year of the Pro Bono Committee’s efforts in Third Judicial Circuit, which Crowd calls “pretty great.”
“Our goal, when we started the Pro Bono Committee in 2011, was to encourage local attorneys to participate in pro bono cases, such as giving free legal support, signing up for more cases, and getting involved,” said Crowder. “We measure our success by the number of attorneys that have been involved, and it's now a huge number – more than 100 per year.”
In addition to the week of celebration, the Pro Bono Committee has recently made available real estate assistance appointments for low-income individuals, staffed by Recorder of Deeds Amy Meyer and held on the second and fourth Wednesday mornings of each month.
“This is generally designed to help low income people who are trying to do a deed – siblings trying to split an estate themselves, or other simple paperwork that could not otherwise be done without hiring an attorney,” said Crowder.
In addition to the real estate appointments, attorneys from Madison County will continue to provide free legal advice appointments at the county courthouse, where low-income individuals can meet with volunteer attorneys to have their legal questions answered. These appointments are available on any subject except criminal law, and are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
The recognition luncheon is sponsored by the law firm of Gori Julian and Associates, the Illinois Bar Foundation, the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, the Madison County Bar Association, the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) and the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation.
The Committee invites those interested in either making an appointment with the Pro Bono Committee or volunteering to serve, to call (618) 296-5921 or email Angela Wille, Pro Bono coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.