July 2014 eNewsletter

Other organizations might slow down in the summer, but it has been a busy few months here at LAF.
Our Young Professionals Board, which began in 2009, celebrated its fifth anniversary.  Five years ago the YPB had its first outing – a trip out on Lake Michigan on a cruise ship.  Ticket sales just barely covered the cost of the boat.  Fast forward to last November, when the YPB sold out a whiskey bar in the West Loop and – literally – drank it dry, and you can see how far this Board has come.  The YPB has continually upped its fundraising goals, and then surpassed them, raising over $120,000 for LAF in 2013.  This year, the YPB is on track to blow past its goal of $125,000.
The YPB also hosted an event to thank our summer law student interns for all their hard work, and now many of them are working hard on our upcoming Golf Outing in September (as well as planning for this year’s Autumn Affair – stay tuned for details!)  They’re amazing and we couldn’t be prouder of them, or more grateful to them for all of their work on behalf of LAF.

YPB Celebrates 5 Years!

On Tuesday, July 15th, current and former members of the LAF Young Professionals Board got together at Revolution Brewing Company for the YPB’s 5th Anniversary Celebration, an evening dedicated to celebrating all of the hard work and advocacy the Board has done on behalf of LAF since first forming in 2009.

A big thank you to Katten Muchin Rosenman for sponsoring this special evening.  Katten is a terrific partner in many endeavors with LAF, and has been instrumental in building and supporting the Young Professionals Board.

During the program portion of the evening, YPB 5th Anniversary Chair BeLinda Mathie spoke passionately about why she supports LAF.  You can read her full remarks below.

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Summer Intern Networking Reception

Every Summer, the LAF Young Professionals Board hosts a special reception for the law students and interns working with LAF, to thank them for their service to the agency and provide them with opportunities to remain engaged with us beyond the term of their time with us.  Check out the photos from this summer’s event on our facebook page.

This year, we had a great group of summer associates from LAF and a few of our YPB-represented firms joining us at Esquire Deposition Solutions for an evening of Revolution beers and informal networking.  LAF Executive Director Diana White spoke about the importance of supporting legal aid, and the benefits it can yield to a young professional:

“…I encourage you to get involved wherever you end up in the legal aid work being done in your community.  Believe me when I say that your future employer is never going to look at your pro bono and philanthropic activities and say “that person just isn’t leadership material.”  You might not always succeed in garnering their support for your efforts, but if you are brave enough to ask the firm’s pro bono coordinator to meet with the agency you’re supporting to talk about collaborating on a case, or brave enough to ask the marketing director to sponsor a fundraising event the agency is hosting, the worst they can say to you is no.  And a no is just that – a no.  It’s not a rejection of who you are and everything you stand for.  And oftentimes a no one time isn’t a no always – it’s worth it to learn everything you can about your company’s philosophy on pro bono service, and its budgeting practices for company charity initiatives, so you can use that information to turn a no into a yes.  I’m willing to bet – and I’m pretty sure the members of the YPB in this room would agree with me – that the people who step up and show a commitment to something higher than themselves also demonstrate other qualities that are in high demand these days in the professional world: namely an openness, persistence, and even fearlessness that have become critical skills in this new age of business development and client-focused service.  The people who make decisions about your future are definitely taking notice of people who set themselves apart from the herd.  Be one of those outliers, not only for yourself, but for the people like the ones we see each and every day at LAF.”

LAF would like to thank YPB member Megan Garvey of Esquire Deposition Services for hosting our event this year, and everyone who came out to celebrate another fantastic summer of service from our students.


LAF Picnic 2014

Last week, all the staff from LAF got together out of the office, to celebrate another year’s worth service to the community and groundbreaking work in the legal field.  We had a great time, and enjoyed a catered afternoon of burgers and cake, families, water balloons, and a piñata full of candy.
We want to share some photos from that day now that the wonderful Adela Carlin put together here (and more from Executive Director Diana White below the break), and thank the amazing social committee for all their hard work!

LAF Picnic 2014


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YPB Spotlight on Veritext and Elizabeth Lewis

Over the past five years, the LAF Young Professionals Board (YPB) has brought together a growing number of people from a diverse array of professions who are dedicated to supporting LAF’s mission.  This support has come from both financial contributions and pro bono services to assist LAF attorneys in cases where special expertise is needed.

 Veritext Legal Solutions has been an exemplary model of a company that has brought both financial and pro bono support to LAF through the engagement of YPB member Elizabeth Lewis, who co-chairs the YPB’s Social Committee and has helped plan some of the YPB’s most successful fundraising events.  In addition to the work Elizabeth does on the Board, Veritext has sponsored a variety of LAF events, and hosted special outreach functions such as an ethics CLE training on June 18 (pictured here, with LAF’s Melissa Katt and Carrie Chapman, and Veritext’s Elizabeth Lewis).  They have also been working with LAF’s Director of Advocacy to provide professional services to LAF staff with court reporting and deposition needs.

Nicholas Renillo, the Midwest Regional Vice President at Veritext explains: “As the nation’s leading court reporting agency, we support LAF because we believe that all individuals have the right to counsel who can advocate on their behalf. No individual should be denied access to our legal system because of the costs associated with litigation. Veritext is extremely proud of our partnership with LAF and we look forward to continuing our relationship for years to come.”

LAF is very grateful to Veritext for its support, and to Elizabeth Lewis for the terrific work she is doing as a leader on the YPB.  With the support of companies like Veritext and the advocacy of ambassadors like Elizabeth, LAF is able to expand its reach and assist more people living in poverty in Cook County.