In 2015, CCL members, working with Chicago Appleseed staff, with pro bono council from law firms like Latham & Watkins and DLA Piper and with court staff, accomplished a lot. You can read our full annual report here, but some highlights include:
- Graduating the first participants in the ACT (Access to Community Treatment) Court, an innovative, life-changing program that provides alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders with a history of substance abuse;
- Ensuring that the courts follow procedures enabling indigent defendants to exercise their right to legal representation under the Sixth Amendment;
- Helping enact a pilot program to field-test drugs, which will dramatically reduce the time defendants are incarcerated before determining probable cause; and
- Planning for a new consolidated Domestic Relations court that bolsters the rights of children to get the child support they need, regardless of the marital status of their parents;
- Preparing a proposal to bring digital recording equipment to high-volume courtrooms with a large number of self-represented litigants.
CCL members provide support and direction to court reform projects through involvement in the various advisory committees and also have opportunities to draft reports and proposals for reform, as well as editorials on behalf of the committees.
Finally, the Chicago Council of Lawyers remains an important voice in the evaluation of judicial candidates with our evaluations being called “particularly thorough” by the Chicago Tribune. As a member of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, you can contribute to this vital project. Be part of Chicago’s public interest bar associate and renew your membership or join today!