Prairie State Legal Services will celebrate The National Celebration of Pro Bono (a.k.a. “Pro Bono Week”), October 25-29. Pro Bono Week was created by the American Bar Association in 2009 is an annual opportunity to celebrate the amazing and life changing pro bono work being done by volunteer lawyers and legal professionals.

Last year, for the first time, Prairie State held a virtual program-wide celebration event, hosting videos each day during Pro Bono Week highlighting some of our great volunteers. This year, we are again hosting a virtual celebration during Pro Bono Week, and also plan to spotlight some of our great volunteers on our social media pages throughout the month of October. Our pro bono volunteers are a vital part of reaching our mission of providing equal access to justice. Please join us in honoring them and follow our social media throughout October for these posts and videos and be sure to share them with your networks.

While we are preparing for Pro Bono Week, we also are making some changes to our overall pro bono program and structure.

“We have created three new ‘Pro Bono Project Lead’ positions,” said Kim Thielbar, Director of Prairie State Legal Services Pro Bono Services. “Mary Petruchius in the West Suburban office, Wendy Crouch in the Rockford office, and Laura Lutkowski in the Peoria office are currently in the process of transitioning into these new roles. The Pro Bono Project Leads join our Pro Bono Manager Sally Steele, Administrative Assistant Alicia Rodriguez, and myself, to form Prairie State’s centralized pro bono unit.”

According to Thielbar, this unit will work to develop pro bono projects that will help clients throughout our service area. The goals of these projects and the pro bono unit generally are to increase both the number of clients that we can serve using pro bono volunteers as well as the number of private attorneys who volunteer, and to incorporate pro bono assistance into higher priority cases.

“This centralized unit does not replace the local office pro bono coordinator, who will continue to refer local cases to local volunteers,” Thielbar concluded. “Instead, the pro bono unit will focus on creating new projects and recruiting new attorneys so that we can help even more clients throughout Prairie State’s service areas. We are still in the process of transitioning Mary, Wendy, and Laura into these new roles, but hope to start developing new projects this fall.”

If you have any questions about Pro Bono Week, the new pro bono unit, or pro bono, feel free to contact Kim Thielbar at [email protected].