Far too many vulnerable people in Cook and DuPage counties cannot afford the civil legal support they desperately need. All Illinois lawyers, active or not, can help by providing pro bono services and, if you are a retired attorney, you are uniquely positioned to help.

Pro Bono Network (PBN) recruits, trains, places and supports lawyers who want to be of service but have limited availability or pro bono opportunities. Since 2011, over 450 PBN volunteers have served more than 5,000 clients, giving 29,000 pro bono hours, valued at $9.1 million, in 2023 dollars.

We met in 2012 when each of us volunteered with PBN — and found that we respected each other’s skills and ease with clients. Our work together grew into friendship, with lunches and shared family photos. Karen is a retired real estate attorney; Mary retired as an insurance defense attorney. We have both volunteered with PBN for over 10 years, providing services in areas like legal clinics for older adults, orders of protection, guardianship, work with incarcerated women, and civic education in grade-school classrooms.

PBN’s model of support makes it easy for lawyers to have a big impact on the lives of those in need. It provides all the training volunteers need to feel confident; they always have another volunteer as their partner. They can dictate their own schedules and can work as much or as sporadically as they want. Together, PBN volunteers bring camaraderie and a desire to dig in, learn and help. The personal rewards are immeasurable. Please join us.

You can learn more at Pro Bono Network’s September Justice Boot Camp and its Aug. 30 Justice Talks reception. Details: pro-bono-network.org/justicebootcamp.

Mary Duffy and Karen Boyd
Pro Bono Network Volunteer Attorneys

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