The mission of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights is to promote and protect civil rights, particularly the civil rights of poor, minority and disadvantaged people in order to facilitate their participation in the social, economic and political systems of our nation. The Committee’s direction is community driven: that is, the agenda and priorities are determined in consultation with the myriad community-based organizations in Chicago that have been addressing the results of virulent poverty, entrenched segregation, insufficient public services, and other barriers to opportunity faced by communities of color in Chicago.
The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee functions through five civil rights programs staffed by nine lawyers with expertise in specific practice areas within civil rights law. Over 1,000 Chicago lawyers accept pro bono legal work from the staff attorneys every year, contributing almost 10,000 hours of professional legal services, with an estimated value of approximately $3.5 million. In 2005, the Committee represented almost 1,500 individual clients, and in twelve class-action lawsuits, another 670,000 persons state-wide were class members. Transactional legal services, involving tax, corporate, and real estate law, were provided to 230 nonprofit community-based organizations. Staff and pro bono lawyers also were deeply involved in training, fair housing testing, numerous amicus briefs, and legislative and policy advocacy.
The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee maintains a focus in a broad range of civil rights and economic justice matters, including: hate crime prevention and response; employment discrimination litigation; affordable housing development efforts, fair housing complaints and fair mortgage-lending advocacy and litigation; and support for a broad range of economic development activity in Chicago, including free legal services to individuals using small businesses/micro-enterprises as strategies to achieve self-sufficiency.
The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s membership includes the most prestigious firms in the City, ranging from small boutique firms to many of the largest firms. The Committee is governed by a Board of Directors composed of member representatives. The Board’s decision making and planning are informed by several program Advisory Committees, made up of representatives of the affected populations, Board members, and volunteering attorneys.
100 North LaSalle Street
Chicago IL, 60602
Phone: 312-630-9744 Fax: 312-630-1127