CVLS is an organization of over 2,300 volunteer attorneys who donate free legal services to thousands of low-income Chicagoans. Our services are free, accessible and real.
With 24 legal clinics across the Chicago area, hosted evenings and weekends at community organizations and churches, where you can talk with an attorney about your legal problem, CVLS works to ensure that everyone has access to justice, not just those who can afford it.
Larry was living with his grandparents
because of his mom’s drug problems. Mom
fought her habit with treatment, therapy and a
Despite a few missteps along the way, she got clean and petitioned to regain custody of her son. The Court appointed CVLS as GAL.
After volunteers Rawn Reinhard and Aidan Gilbert verified that mom was well into recovery, employed, and with a supportive husband, they crafted a therapist-approved schedule to increase visitation and transition Larry to his mother’s custody over the course of a year. Now Larry lives with his mother, stepfather and new baby brother while enjoying frequent visits with his grandparents.
CVLS was appointed GAL after Alcelia
petitioned for guardianship of her 86-year
old grandmother Ruth. Karen Callahan
visited Ruth at Alcelia’s home and saw her
happy, comfortable and safe. Although Karen
recommended guardianship, Alcelia had a
criminal history and the court had to determine
Alcelia’s fitness to serve as guardian.
Alcelia testified about life with her abusive, alcoholic mother. At age 12, Alcelia was on the streets, working as a prostitute, in and out of prison. Clean and sober since 2007, Alcelia said that Ruth had cared for Alcelia’s children during that time and should not spend her last years in a nursing home.
Alcelia was proud and happy when the court appointed her guardian. She will make sure that Ruth’s final years are good.
A victim of domestic violence, Lithuanian native Jurgita had been living in the U.S. on a u-visa.
After three years, she wanted to become a permanent resident. CVLS volunteer Renae Yoo, made it happen, proving that her client qualified for a green card. Jurgita cried when she discovered she was able to stay in America for good. It meant she could finally visit her family in Lithuania assured that she would be welcome back into her new country.
Together, Charles and his sister took out a home improvement loan to repair the family home.
The sister paid the loan until she moved out of state. Charles, elderly and on a fixed income, could not afford the payments by himself. His attorney, Erik Diggs, negotiated an affordable payment plan and makes sure that Charles makes his payment, on time, every month.
Hui was driving a loaner car because his had been damaged while parked.
When his loaner car was stolen from a secure parking garage, the rental company demanded $26,000. CVLS volunteer Roenan Patt reviewed Illinois law and the car rental agreement. Then he sent the plaintiff a letter explaining that both the law and the contract limited his client’s liability to $2,000. Hui never hear from the plaintiff again.
Nine year old Nicole had always lived with her grandmother, Mariela, in an apartment with her aunt and uncle right next door.
Last Christmas, Mariela’s adoption of Nicole was final. Now Nicole has Mariela’s last name. For Mariela and Nicole, their attorney Sandy Morris gave them the best Christmas present ever.
Jason applied for and received a loan modification as soon as he fell behind on his mortgage. Problem solved? No. The bank misapplied his payments and filed for foreclosure. Even after the bank admitted its error, the foreclosure moved forward. Then Joe Noonan and Sandra Durkin stepped in and litigated Jason’s rights. After five long years, the bank eliminated the accrued interest, reduced his principal, reinstated Jason’s modification, and removed his past negative credit reporting.
Six-year old Faith relies on many people to keep her interests front and center. Among these are a mother who cares about her, and Jalinea, the devoted guardian who has been responsible for her for most of her life. Faith also has the help of volunteer guardian ad litem Rose Gallagher, who works hard to ensure that Faith's needs are met during her childhood and beyond.
When Vernice was threatened with foreclosure, volunteer Travis Moore slogged through 15 years of mortgage records from three different banks. To his surprise, he discovered that the foreclosing lender had, in error, increased her principal loan balance in a prior modification. He called the error to the lender's attention. No one cared. So Travis filed a counterclaim under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act. The lander cared about that-and forgave 80% of her principal debt. Now Vernice has a fair loan that she can afford.