Jenner & Block

Jenner & Block Hosts 14th Annual CBA Pro Bono Fair

Over 400 members of the legal community attended the 14th annual Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section’s annual Pro Bono & Community Service Fair.  The Fair, held at Jenner & Block’s Chicago office for the fourth year in a row, provided a venue for lawyers and law students to make lasting connections with representatives from 45 pro bono clinics, public service organizations and mentoring programs serving the area.

William B. Oberts, Chair of the 2007-2008 CBA Young Lawyers Section, welcomed attendees to the event and encouraged them to meet with pro bono organization representatives and network with other attorneys. 

CBA President Victor P. Henderson and Chicago Bar Foundation President Thomas Z. Hayward, Jr. also gave brief remarks stressing attorneys’ obligation and privilege to aid others in need.  Mr. Henderson told attendees that his pro bono representation of individuals at the criminal court house at 26th and California has given him the chance to hone his skills as a trial lawyer while doing good in the community. 

Mr. Hayward introduced the evening's keynote speaker, Jenner & Block Chairman Anton R. Valukas.  On behalf of all of the CBF grantee agencies present at the Fair, Mr. Hayward thanked Mr. Valukas for his leadership and dedication as Chair of CBF’s inaugural “Investing in Justice” Campaign, which raised over $900,000 to help provide special grants to Chicago’s pro bono and legal aid attorneys. 

Highlighting his past experiences as a United States Attorney and as a tutor at Cabrini Green, Mr. Valukas discussed the many valuable ways attorneys can give back to the community.  Mr. Valukas told the crowd that the tutoring volunteer work he did with three young men from Cabrini Green was  "every bit as important as what I did serving as the United States Attorney in this district.”

“While many of us see justice as an entitlement, there are numerous people who view justice as a surprise,” said Mr. Valukas.  He encouraged attendees to “remember why they went to law school in the first place,” and to seek out opportunities at the Fair to help make the justice system work for the individuals who need it the most. 

The Fair was the centerpiece of Chicago’s Pro Bono Week 2007, which Mayor Richard M. Daley officially proclaimed as a time to recognize the “extensive work lawyers are doing to improve the lives of vulnerable members of our community” and encourage more individuals in the legal community to get involved in pro bono work. 

Co-sponsors of the event were The Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, The Chicago Bar Foundation, Jenner & Block, Exelon Corporation and the Public Interest Law Initiative.

Pictured (top, from left): Mr. Hayward, Mr. Valukas, and Mr. Henderson.

Pictured (top middle, from left): Jenner & Block Partner Jeffrey D. Colman, former President of the CBF Board of Directors, and Associate Wade A. Thomson, a member of the Firm's Pro Bono Committee, converse with a representative from one the volunteer organizations at the Fair.

Pictured (bottom middle, from left): Terry Murphy, Executive Director, CBA; Mr. Hayward; Mr. Valukas; Mr. Henderson; Jenner & Block Partner Terri L. Mascherin, CBA Treasurer; Mr. Oberts; Scott W. Henry, Vice-Chair, CBA Young Lawyers Section; Jill Eckert McCall, Vice-Chair, CBA Young Lawyers Section; Julie A. Tappendorf, Pro Bono Week Planning Committee Co-Chair; Rob Acton, Pro Bono Week Planning Committee Co-Chair; and Bob Glaves, Executive Director of the Chicago Bar Foundation.

Pictured (bottom, from left): Jenner & Block Partner Terrence J. Truax, Member of the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic Advisory Board; Mr. Acton, Executive Director of the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and Pro Bono Week Planning Committee Co-Chair; Mr. Valukas; and Jenner & Block Partner Jeremy M. Taylor, Chair of the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic Executive Committee.