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Date News Item
5/26/2016 McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award

Roger Benson and Drendel & Jansons Receive Prestigious ISBA McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award

Prairie State is pleased to announce that two of its pro bono partners, Attorney Roger Benson and the Drendel & Jansons Law Group, are the 2015-2016 recipients of the Illinois State Bar Association’s prestigious John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award.

Kankakee attorney Roger Benson is this year’s winner of the ISBA’s McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award in the outstanding individual attorney category. Mr. Benson has been the backbone of Prairie State Legal Services’ Kankakee County pro bono divorce clinic for over 15 years. Through the clinic, Mr. Benson provides free representation to clients who need a divorce and cannot afford an attorney. Mr. Benson has handled more than 165 pro bono cases through the clinic, including 20 cases in 2015. He provides an invaluable service to clinic clients, who are often on a waiting list for months for Mr. Benson’s help. Mr. Benson’s support of Prairie State and its clients has been unwavering.

Mr. Benson was admitted to the State Bar of Illinois in 1958 and was a Kankakee County Associate Circuit Court Judge from 1968-1992. Mr. Benson was nominated for the McAndrews award by Prairie State’s Kankakee area pro bono coordinator, Nancy Hinton.

The Batavia law firm of Drendel & Jansons is this year’s winner of the ISBA’s McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award in the outstanding small firm category. Drendel & Jansons handled 27 cases through Prairie State Legal Services’ pro bono program in 2015. Its attorneys provided free representation to low-income clients in cases ranging from contested divorces involving domestic violence, to Chapter 7 bankruptcies, to termination of a minor guardianship. Drendel & Jansons’ long-standing commitment to serving low-income clients runs deep, with every member of the firm participating in pro bono. The number of pro bono clients they represent, the hours they spend on these cases, and the challenging nature of these cases make this a remarkable group of attorneys.

Drendel & Jansons Law Group is located in Batavia and consists of attorneys Kevin G. Drendel, Carolyn D. Jansons, Mark D. Brent, Roman J. Seckel, Lawrence W. Lobb, and Edward J. Boula, III. Drendel & Jansons was nominated for the McAndrews award by Prairie State’s St. Charles area pro bono coordinator, Marcy Heston.

Mr. Benson and Drendel & Jansons will be recognized during the ISBA’s Assembly Meeting on June 18 at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont. The Illinois Bar Foundation will make a $1,000 grant to Prairie State Legal Services in honor of Mr. Benson and of Drendel & Jansons.

The ISBA has established the John C. McAndrews Award to honor the extraordinary commitment of individuals, bar associations, or law firm/corporate legal departments to providing free legal services to the income-eligible in Illinois or expanding the availability of legal services to the income-eligible in Illinois. The award is named in memory of Rock Island attorney John McAndrews, who chaired the ISBA Committee on Delivery of Legal Services and is awarded to individual lawyers, law firms and corporate law departments, and bar associations.

Prairie State Legal Services provides free civil legal aid to people who cannot afford an attorney and who have a legal problem that affects their basic human needs. Prairie State serves 36 counties in northern and central Illinois outside of Cook County. Prairie State provides free legal help to clients through paid staff and more than 450 pro bono volunteers.

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