This Year’s DePaul Family Law Field Clinic Highlights

DePaul Clinic

CVLS Deputy Director, Phil Mohr, and Supervising Attorney, Rob Zielinski, partner with DePaul University College of Law each year to give licensed law students the opportunity to represent low-income clients through the DePaul Family Law Field Clinic. Phil and Rob team up to supervise four to eight DePaul students on a variety of family law matters. Third-year law students, Alexis Beamon, Lakeyah Scales, Olivia Kappers, and Hoyeon Yoo, participated in the clinic this year and are weeks away from graduation. Here are just a few of clients helped by the clinic this year!

Yolanda

                Yolanda and her husband married in 2013. They lived together in Indiana until the end of 2015 when they separated due to the husband’s substance abuse. Yolanda had no choice but to move back in with her family in Chicago. In 2021, Yolanda contacted Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) for representation in her divorce case. She hoped to legally formalize the end of her marriage.

                Alexis Beamon of the DePaul Family Law Field Clinic conducted an initial intake interview of Yolanda and recommended representation to the rest of the clinic. The students agreed, and under the supervision of Phil Mohr and Rob Zielinski, Alexis filed Yolanda’s case and had the husband served. After the husband failed to file an appearance or response, Alexis proceeded to a prove up hearing in the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. She elicited testimony from her client via Zoom, and the Court granted Yolanda’s request for a divorce from her spouse. Thanks to Alexis, Yolanda was able to achieve a much-needed fresh start.

Denver

                Denver is a senior who needed help resolving a divorce case. When he reached out to CVLS and the DePaul Family Law Field Clinic, Denver had been married to his wife for nearly 40 years, but they had been separated for over 30! Denver did not have the resources to hire an attorney, so he tried to navigate the court process by himself without much success. He could not figure out how to electronically file his case nor did he know how to appear remotely for court.

                Third-year law student, Hoyeon Yoo, interviewed Denver and presented his case to the clinic. The students voted for representation, and his case was placed with fellow classmate, Olivia Kappers. Olivia filed Denver’s case and took on direct representation. Knowing that technology was a challenge for her client, Olivia helped him install Zoom on his smartphone and practiced with him ahead of time. On the day of the prove up hearing, Olivia was able to achieve her client’s goal of getting divorced without a single technological issue.

Denver

                Denver is a senior who needed help resolving a divorce case. When he reached out to CVLS and the DePaul Family Law Field Clinic, Denver had been married to his wife for nearly 40 years, but they had been separated for over 30! Denver did not have the resources to hire an attorney, so he tried to navigate the court process by himself without much success. He could not figure out how to electronically file his case nor did he know how to appear remotely for court.

                Third-year law student, Hoyeon Yoo, interviewed Denver and presented his case to the clinic. The students voted for representation, and his case was placed with fellow classmate, Olivia Kappers. Olivia filed Denver’s case and took on direct representation. Knowing that technology was a challenge for her client, Olivia helped him install Zoom on his smartphone and practiced with him ahead of time. On the day of the prove up hearing, Olivia was able to achieve her client’s goal of getting divorced without a single technological issue.

Sandra

                When Sandra came to CVLS for legal representation, she had already filed for divorce against her husband. Although the parties had no property or other assets, Sandra wanted sole decision-making and primary parenting time of her two minor children. After several court dates as a self-represented litigant, Sandra’s judge, noticed several errors and told her to find a lawyer to draft her final documents. Sandra contacted CVLS for pro bono legal services, and her case was assessed by the students at the DePaul Family Law Field Clinic.

                Olivia Kappers, a 3L in the clinic, met with the client and reviewed her paperwork. Finding that Sandra was nearly at the finish line, Olivia revised Sandra’s final judgment and represented her at a final Zoom hearing. Sandra was awarded a divorce as well as sole allocation of parental responsibilities and majority parenting time. Due to Olivia’s advocacy, Sandra now has the security of knowing her children are safe with her. CVLS is happy to say that Olivia has plans to continue volunteering with CVLS after law school!

Olimpia

                Olimpia filed her Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and managed to get her husband served, but when it came time to finalize her divorce, the Court recommended that she hire an attorney. Unable to afford private legal representation, Olimpia contacted CVLS for pro bono assistance. Olimpia’s case was relatively straightforward, but she needed help navigating the process and creating a parenting plan for her two young boys. DePaul third year, Hoyeon Yoo, performed Olimpia’s intake interview and agreed to represent her under the supervision of Professors Mohr and Zielinski.

                Hoyeon drafted all of the necessary documents for Olimpia and reviewed her options for relief through a default divorce case. While preparing Olimpia for the final hearing, Hoyeon was unexpectedly contacted by the husband. To the client’s satisfaction, Hoyeon was able to negotiate an agreement between the parties and proceed with the timely finalization of their divorce. Hoyeon did an excellent job eliciting testimony from her client in court, and she is excited to continue volunteering with CVLS during the summer. 

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