With 50 years of experience providing high quality, free legal services to low-income Chicagoans, CVLS and its volunteers are often recognized for their outstanding work.

40 Years of Partnership: The Power of Pro Bono

In 1979, a group of Schiff Hardin attorneys adopted the CVLS neighborhood legal clinic housed in the Howard Area Community Center in Rogers Park, a culturally vibrant, yet economically under-resourced community in the Chicago area. Our lawyers headed up to the clinic each week, helping low-income Rogers Park clients get the legal assistance they needed to protect their rights.

Four decades later, the CVLS clinic, still staffed by Schiff Hardin attorneys, continues to serve low-income Rogers Park clients – proving the power of pro bono to advance change, improve lives, and bring justice.

Schiff Hardin and CVLS Celebrate 40-Year Pro Bono Partnership

First firm-adopted legal aid clinic structure has expanded to 24 CVLS clinics across Chicago

CHICAGO – Schiff Hardin LLP and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) are proud to commemorate 40 years of their unique and trailblazing pro bono partnership to advance change, improve lives, and bring justice, which began with the first-ever firm adoption of a CVLS neighborhood legal clinic in 1979.

Rare bottle for auction

Famous Distillery Donates 6 Millionth Barrel Bottle to CVLS

Buffalo Trace has donated 400 bottles from its 6 millionth barrel to charities across the country in hopes to raise $500,000 for worthy causes.

CVLS is holding an online auction for this historical bottle with the winner to be announced online and at Vino + Van Gogh on November 15th. To bid on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity visit the auction page at:

Rebekah Named to 40 Under Forty

Rebekah Rashidfarokhi, CVLS’ GAL for Minors Program Director, has been a long-time advocate for the under privileged. While working through her undergraduate and law degrees, Rebekah volunteered for programs dedicated to supporting immigrants, refugees, and victims of domestic violence. One of these programs even included an immigrants rights organization at the US-Mexico border long before the current political climate has thrust the issue back into the spotlight.

New Deceased Borrowers Hotline

CVLS Tests a New Service

Every year, hundreds of Chicago families inherit homes with mortgages. If that mortgage is in default, the family faces a huge problem. Often, these families can afford to keep the property and would qualify for a loan modification, but mortgage servicers are notoriously bad at communicating with heirs. Also, these families may need to go through probate, but need an attorney to help them. CVLS recently launched a pilot hotline program for these families. Heirs can call CVLS and get connected with a trained law student. The student talks them through their options and screens them for good CVLS cases. If home retention is possible, the call proceeds to a full intake and possible legal representation. The program is in its early stages, but we hope to expand it soon.

Navigating an Intestate Mess

Volunteer Doesn’t Accept the Run Around

Barbara Mallon, Mallon & Johnson

While still grieving about her husband’s death, Patricia needed to get his affairs in order. That included changing the title to two cars and cashing checks payable to him from his employer and union.

Although she tried to resolve her issues with a small estate affidavit, various bank, union and secretary of state employees either insisted on court orders or refused to even talk to her.

Lawyer of the Year

Volunteer Honored by Catholic Lawyers

Royal Berg

Longtime CVLS volunteer and friend, Royal Berg , was honored recently by The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago with the 2019 Lawyer of the Year award at their annual Red Mass reception.

Roy has practiced immigration law in Chicago as a solo practitioner since 1984. During which time he has served as Co-Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, and the Litigation Committee of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He is also a founding Board Member of Immigrants’ List, a pro-immigrant, pro-immigration political action committee formed in 2006.


There has been a recent update to the court fees associated with CVLS adoption cases. Please note the changes to the following fees:

GAL Fee Old - $25
New - $74
Criminal Background Old - $55
New - $56.25
(prices per person)
Birth Certificate Old - $15
New - $15
Total Old = $90 + $55 (extra background)
New = $146.25 + $55 (extra background)