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Volunteer
with
CGLA!

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The Pro Bono Program at CGLA offers Illinois-licensed lawyers the chance to receive training and support across various practice areas, engaging in limited-scope and full representation services. Lawyers can contribute to our programs: Policy/Advocacy and Social Services, Criminal Records, Criminal Defense, or Juvenile and Civil Practices.

The majority of our volunteers, including active and retired attorneys, typically start with  Criminal Records. They conduct individual client research, draft petitions, and provide consultation before filing for expungement/sealing. As volunteers gain competence, they may represent petitioners in criminal court objection hearings. Group pro bono work is also available at county and partner-organized community expungement events.

We aim to provide relief from the permanent punishments imposed by criminal records. Over one in four Illinois residents have been arrested, and these records can create lifelong barriers to jobs, housing, education, and more. We invite you to volunteer with us to remove these barriers through expungement and sealing, restoring hope for a better future, one individual at a time. Volunteer opportunities include researching backgrounds, drafting petitions, consulting with and advising petitioners, and representing petitioners at objection hearings. You can choose one, several, or all of the above opportunities, which can be done either in-person or remotely, except for the hearing representation, according to your own schedule.

Opportunities for Illinois Lawyers

Virtual Criminal Records Relief Help Desk 

Each year, approximately 3,000 people come through CGLA’s virtual Help Desk. Volunteers assist individuals seeking to clear their criminal records through the expungement and sealing process. They research police and court records, apply the law, and determine the patron’s eligibility for criminal records relief. Volunteers prepare the necessary paperwork for the patron so that they may file pro se. They also help support the virtual Help Desk by giving consultations to patrons regarding their criminal background and eligibility for criminal records relief.

Volunteers can assist virtually in any location at their convenience. 

Help Desk at The Daley Center

People seeking criminal records relief appear in person for help at the Daley Center. Volunteers assist the CGLA attorneys and paralegals.  This includes answering walk-up questions, facilitating the intake process for new patrons, and providing brief consultations about the expungement and sealing of records.  Full support is provided to volunteers by the CGLA attorneys and paralegals on site.

Help Desk at the Daley Center is open Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon. 

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Why Cabrini Green Legal Aid? 

CGLA exists to remove barriers to equity in the criminal legal system.

We work alongside individuals, families, and communities impacted by the direct and collateral consequences of Illinois' system.   

Our mission is to provide holistic legal and social services, while advocating for more just and equitable criminal processes.

 Existing Volunteers:

For current opportunities

Thanks for applying to volunteer with us!

We'll get back to you soon.

New volunteers, please fill out the form below. 

Pro Bono Leadership

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Nicole Schur is a passionate advocate for her clients. Since starting at CGLA in 2021, she has represented youth in aftercare revocation hearings, staffed the Daley Center Help desk, appealed trial court rulings, provided community Know Your Rights presentations, and stepped up for self-represented litigants facing objections to their sealing and expungement petitions in Markham Courthouse. In 2024, Nicole transitioned to the role of Senior Attorney for CGLA's Pro Bono Program. She's excited to develop relationships with attorneys dedicated to expanding access to justice and ameliorating the destructive impact of the criminal system. 

Steve Fus has always answered the call and countless requests to serve the needs of CGLA and its clients, including as a volunteer, Board of Directors member, Board Chair, Interim Executive Director (2021 - 2022), independent contractor attorney, part-time attorney, and currently as full-time Managing Attorney of CGLA's Community Service, Outreach and Pro Bono Services. His dedication and passion for CGLA’s mission in each of these roles have helped shape the organization that exists today and as it continues to develop.

NEWS

Help Others Restore Hope

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An estimated 3.3 million Illinois residents have criminal records which is roughly 26% of the state’s total population. Approximately 1,300 laws prevent those residents from fully participating in society, the economy, the labor market, and family life. Such barriers drain any hope of moving forward and lead to additional crime. Help us support our clients in removing barriers to equity and restoring hope!

The Pro Bono Monthly - May Issue

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The Pro Bono Monthly - April Issue

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