What We Do
CLRN is not its own organization; it is a network of lawyers who care. It is a diverse roster of pro bono legal volunteers who are willing and able to respond to whatever legal challenges Chicago may face. We come — in our personal capacities — from every corner of the legal community, from academia, government, in-house counsel, nonprofits, and the law offices of the biggest firms to the most independent of solo practitioners. We are united by our professional training and the desire to serve as a resource to vulnerable Chicagoans. That is why we are members of CLRN: moving forward, when legal concerns arise and the only thing preventing legal services reaching those who need them is a large supply of pro bono legal volunteers, Chicago will know where to turn.
Of course the city already has a richly populated ecosystem of effective legal aid and community service groups, and we are not trying to recreate the wheel. Rather, we aim to serve as a resource to those existing groups. When these organizations and communities have understaffed volunteer projects in need of pro bono assistance, they can now publicize those projects on our listserv, and staff their projects with our volunteer members.
If you work at a nonprofit or community organization and would like to make a request for volunteers over the CLRN list, please just email a description of your project and a method through which you would like volunteers to respond to CLRN@googlegroups.com.
Please email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who We Are (And Were)
On January 27, 2017, the first attempted travel ban went into effect. Alongside the protesters, lawyers from across the Chicagoland area descended upon O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 5 to help protect the rights of impacted individuals. Within just days, this organic movement grew to a force of over 1,400 primarily legal volunteers on a listserv called O’Hare Legal Team. And we’ve been out there every day since.
As the airport efforts became more organized, ultimately in partnership with CAIR-Chicago, with the creation of the Travelers Assistance Project (TAP), it became clear this listserv still had untapped potential. The vast majority of us are not immigration attorneys, but rather were motivated to learn and help however we could when a legal crisis reared its head. A survey of listserv members confirmed that the group had much broader areas of interest and expertise, and the unifying factor was instead a general desire to push back, as quickly and effectively as possible, against whatever discrimination or injustices should materialize in these uncertain times. As a result, the group voted to change its name from the O’Hare Legal Team to the Chicago Legal Responders Network (CLRN) to better reflect this broader mission.