1. How is the Network different from other groups?
We formed the Network after noting the many attorneys give up trying to volunteer because opportunities conflict with other obligations such as school pickup times. To tap into this valuable resource we came up with a model that meets the needs of primary caretakers and, as it turns out, solo practitioners, yet provides fully- committed legal representation and services.
All of our projects are and will be:
• pair or group-based to provide backup;
• hour-and geographically sensitive both in terms of commitment and timing (never after 2:00); and
• under the umbrella of legal organizations who provide malpractice insurance.
Attorneys from any area or employment status are welcome. Our current group of participants cross the spectrum: part-time and full-time attorneys as well as those taking a sabbatical or have fully retired.
2. What projects does the Network do?
All of our projects have to be closed-ended, follow our model as closely as possible, and there must be some value the Network adds to it for the participants (i.e., the participant would find it burdensome to do without the Network and probably would not participate). We work with current agencies and do not duplicate services, just bring more volunteers to them. We aim to find projects that are either rewarding and/or advance one's legal skills. .
Please see our “Projects” tab for more information on individual project opportunities. They encompass a broad range of experiences and intensity.
3. Do I need to have an active license?
No. You may practice pro bono with an inactive status.
4. What about malpractice insurance?
All of our projects will have malpractice insurance provided through the sponsoring agency.
5. Are you planning any projects for after business-hours and weekends?
There are such projects (immigration, wills, etc.), but our trainings will almost always be during the school day as those are the participants who find it difficult to attend agency-sponsored trainings. Those people who can attend trainings downtown and on weekends can usually do this work indpendently by contacting the agency directly.
6. Are there any other pro bono resources?
Chicago has many wonderful organizations whom you can contact directly. Illinois Pro Bono Online has a great website that can match your interests and work style to other opportunities. PILI Chicago and the Chicago Bar Association can also match you with a good opportunity. Good luck!