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Serving the Chicago Community

The Young Lawyers Section of The Chicago Bar Association operate many programs designed to provide the public greater access to legal services, law-related information and volunteers from the legal community. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact the YLS at (312) 554-2032 regarding the following projects, unless otherwise indicated.


CBA Moot Court Competition: In its 35th year, the YLS Moot Court Competition hosts approximately 30 teams annually from across the country for the event, which is organized and judged by volunteer members of the Young Lawyers Section of The Chicago Bar Association. Every year the Competition to ensures both an interesting and challenging experience for the participants. Participants will have the opportunity to hone their research, writing, and oral advocacy skills along with approximately 30 other teams from across the country.  A special effort is made to recruit sitting judges from the Chicago area to give contestants a real taste of courtroom practice. Click here to learn more about the competition.


Dear Santa Campaign:  Each December the YLS distributes letters from needy children who have written to Santa requesting holiday gifts.  Volunteers then purchase a requested gift and send it to the child, with a note from Santa.


E-Mentoring: YLS volunteers are paired with high school students from a Chicago school for a 10-week program.  Volunteers provide informative and thought-provoking discussion via e-mail about topics being studied in the students' Law and Public Safety class.


Law Explorers:  The YLS Law Explorers Project sponsors lectures and activities for young men and women between the ages of 14 and 20 who are interested in careers in law and government.  Volunteer attorneys meet with students from 100 Chicago area high schools every other Wednesday evening and participate in role plays concerning legal and ethical questions.  Visit the Law Explorers Committee page for more information.


Law Week:  Each year the YLS holds a week of activities designed to get information out to the public on legal services and legal matters. Activities include an essay contest, the Liberty Bell Award and public information sites. On Law Day itself the YLS sponsors a celebration at the Daley Center. A Judge's Reception is also hosted at the CBA building to honor and thank the judges, lawyers, and other individuals who have participated in section activities and seminars during the course of th year. The Liberty Bell Award is also presented to a non-lawyer whose exemplary community service has advanced the ideals of law and justice, and an award to the winner of a high school essay contest held at the CBA on a law-related issue. Contact for more information or to volunteer.


Pro Bono & Community Service Fair: The YLS runs a volunteer fair in early Fall to highlight all YLS, CBA, CBF, and affiliated projects and programs.  Attendees speak with participating organizations, receive written materials, and sign up if interested in volunteering for the project.  This event expands the number of law-related professionals volunteering for pro bono and other public service activities.

Serving Our Seniors
In 2009-10, the CBA helped the ABA to launch Serving Our Seniors. The program designed to assist young lawyers in providing low-income seniors with legal advice regarding the creation of basic estate plans, including powers of attorney for healthcare and property, living wills, and simple wills. Estate planning experience is not needed. Visit the Serving Our Seniors Committee page for information about upcoming events.


Spring Fling at Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence: The YLS holds an annual party for the children and mothers at the House of Good Shepard.  YLS provides gifts for each mother and child, dinner and desserts. 


YLS Repack Night at GCFD: Each year, YLS members volunteer to repack food products at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Wills for Heroes
The Wills for Heroes Subcommittee of the Public Outreach Committee oversees community workshops at which volunteer lawyers create free wills, living wills, and other estate planning documents for local emergency first responders and their spouses or partners. Since November 2001, the Wills for Heroes program has prepared over 6,000 estate-planning documents for first responders. YLS volunteers will be trained on will writing and will go out to various fire stations to help local firefighters prepare a will. Visit the Wills for Heroes Committee page for more information abut upcoming events.