Justice Circle celebrates the Law Project’s 20 years

Twenty years of legal aid and advocacy by the Law Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless were celebrated at a Justice Circle event, held March 2 at Chez-Chicago.

Law Project founding director Rene Heybach was honored, along with the Kirkland & Ellis law firm for years of pro bono and grant support, and Marilyn Escoe, a parent leader on the CCH Education Committee.

Two attorneys were honored as well: Andrew Shapiro from Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd LLP and Sharlita Davis from JPMorgan Chase Bank. Both have given extensive pro bono services and served on the CCH Board of Directors. 

“We also thank Justice Circle donors and the foundations that have made our work possible over the years,” said Law Project Director Patricia Nix-Hodes.

In accepting his award, Mr. Shapiro noted that CCH’s legal and policy advocacy is needed in these “tumultuous times, where the impoverished are more vulnerable than ever.”

Since its launch in February 1997, the Law Project has provided legal aid to almost 5,000 homeless clients, many of them students and unaccompanied youth served by its mobile legal clinic, Youth Futures. Its advocacy has impacted public policy at the city, state and federal level, advancing the protections offered to homeless students, youth, families, and those who are living on the street.

The Law Project now staffs five attorneys, including Associate Director Beth Malik, Graham Bowman and Diane O’Connell. They are assisted by Intake Specialist Roberto Martinez, street outreach worker Ali Simmons, and Bridget Newsham, who edits StreetLight Chicago, a mobile app of resources for homeless youth.

The Law Project thanks its generous event sponsors:

* Signature sponsors DLA Piper, JPMorgan Chase Bank, and Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd LLP.

* Lead sponsors Kirkland & Ellis and United Airlines.

* Advocate sponsors Latham & Watkins LLP; Foley & Lardner LLP; Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn Ltd.; and Baker McKenzie.

*Additional Sponsors: Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym LTD; Taft Stettinmius & Hollister LLP; and JAMS, Inc.

– Anne Bowhay, Media; Jordan Scott Johnson, Video