*Nominal fees are available for clients that fall below Civic Legal Corps’ income thresholds. All fees are subject to change and are scaled according to each client’s income.
Our creed is simple: new attorneys should be able to make a living fighting for justice, and justice should be accessible for all Americans - regardless of their ability to afford it.
"Civic Legal Corps is a breath of fresh air for our justice system. Started by young lawyers for young lawyers, Civic Legal Corps will ensure more underserved Americans access to justice while creating much needed job opportunities for the legal community. Importantly, Civic Legal Corps is also committed to innovation and social enterprise, two qualities our legal sector desperately needs. NoVo Foundation is proud to support Civic Legal Corps and encourages others to do the same."
- Peter Buffett, Co-Chair, NoVo Foundation
Approximately 80% of low-income individuals go to court without legal representation, and at least half of all low-income individuals never seek legal assistance. Moderate income people face similar problems, with more than 60% of the population unable to obtain legal assistance and resorting to handling their legal issues on their own.
This lack of access to legal services usually determines whether an individual will obtain justice in court, and in metropolitan places like Chicago, where as many as 83% of low and moderate income people go to court without a lawyer, the scales of justice are heavily tipped against our most vulnerable communities. As a result, leaders of the justice system have announced a serious crisis in the courts, with courts becoming increasingly inefficient and more people falling victim to domestic violence, poverty, and homelessness.
It's time for a new approach to closing the justice gap in the United States.
In 2009, twice as many law school graduates passed the bar exam than there were job openings, and only half of 2011 law school graduates had law-related jobs nine months after graduation. Today, the figures have remained unchanged: in 2012, only about 50% of law school graduates secured a job in law; 30% of those who graduated that year remained underemployed.
Further, existing legal fellowships fail to meet the high demand for jobs in public interest. In 2012, out of more than 43,000 law students who graduated that year, less than 150 new attorneys were selected for public interest legal fellowships. In addition, these fellowship programs at the national level limit a fellow's work to providing traditional legal aid services. This limitation continues to restrict the type and scope of legal services that can be provided and fails to address the justice gap among low and moderate income people.
It's time for a new approach to closing the jobs gap for new attorneys.
"I am impressed by your commitment to increasing access to legal services for underserved populations and enabling young lawyers to get involved in civic engagement projects."
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (Ret.)
Our objectives include:
1. Facilitating access to legal services for low- and moderate-income people through affordable and innovative means;
2. Empowering new attorneys with the tools and knowledge to practice law committed to public service;
3. Creating Legal Access Hubs dedicated to expanding the delivery of legal services to the target population in a client-centered and holistic way;
4. Launching a legal social enterprise model where lawyers create legal business strategies that are sustainable, innovative, and profitable; and
5. Energizing lawyers to work as social entrepreneurs who create jobs in their communities and improve the quality of life for people in the justice system.
"I support Civic Legal Corps' commitment to provide access to legal services for low and moderate income people, while offering sustainable opportunities for young attorneys - many of whom are struggling with challenging student loan debt and a difficult job market - to serve communities that desperately need our help."
- Martha L. Minow, Dean, Harvard Law School
Jared is a graduate with highest honors of North Carolina State University, where he was a Caldwell Fellow, a recipient of the General Hugh Shelton Leadership Award of Excellence, and the May 2006 Student Commencement Speaker. Jared earned a masters degree from Tufts University, where he received the Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service.
Raised by a single parent and educated in public schools in New York City and New Jersey, Jared has long believed in the ideals of public service and the power of one voice to make a difference. He is a frequent traveler, having lived in eight states and participated in community service projects on four continents, and he has studied acting and improvisation at The Second City. Jared and his fiancé, Nate, recently made history when they became the first same-sex couple to appear in a presidential campaign announcement. Jared and Nate live in Chicago with their adopted canine best friend, Cooper.
Bobby is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law, where he received the Benjamin Hooks Distinguished Public Service Award, the President’s Award for Service, and a certificate in Public Interest Law. During his law school career, Bobby worked in DePaul’s Poverty Law Clinic, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Working Hands Legal Clinic, and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Prior to joining Civic Legal Corps, Bobby volunteered at a legal aid clinic, Dominguez Legal Justice Center, where he worked on immigration matters. In addition to volunteering at Civic Legal Corps, Bobby currently works at Robert Half Legal providing e-Discovery services to clients.
Bobby was raised in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, Illinois while many of his extended family members grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Early on in his life he came to appreciate the inequities that existed between growing up in the suburbs and low-income Chicago communities, which inspired him to dedicate his career to improving opportunities for low-income families. He is the co-founder of a nonprofit organization, Chicago Prize Hoops, which helps shape at-risk youth into future community leaders.
Lauren has a wide range of legal and policy experience in the private and public sectors. She currently concentrates her practice on advising nonprofit organizations in compliance matters. Lauren is also an experienced litigator, having most recently spent several years as an associate at a large law firm in Washington, D.C., where she primarily represented plaintiffs in federal antitrust litigation. Prior to joining the law firm, Lauren served as a law clerk for two years to the Honorable E. Thomas Boyle of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Lauren also has experience in state government, and has worked as a law clerk in the Minnesota Senate Office of Legal Counsel and as an assistant to a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Additionally, Lauren interned for a summer at the Brennan Center for Justice, where she helped develop a case that ultimately was decided by the United States Supreme Court. Lauren received her B.S. from Loyola University of Chicago and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Donate to Civic Legal Corps using the one of contribution levels below* and help expand access to justice for needy families in Illinois:
*Note that these contribution levels are cost estimates of legal services that Civic Legal Corps intends to provide and are subject to change.
How To Donate:
- Tax-deductible contributions must be mailed to our fiscal sponsor, the New Organizing Institute, using the information below. Checks should be addressed to the New Organizing Institute with "Civic Legal Corps" in the memo line.
New Organizing Institute Education Fund (NOIEF)
1133 19th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
- Online contributions can be made immediately by clicking the button below.
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