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Jonathan Rhodes '09
Louisiana State Bar Association, Access to Justice Program

2013 Hon. Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Public Interest Law Award
Jonathan Rhodes is an attorney and nonprofit professional focused on poverty law policy and community development.

As Projects Counsel for the Louisiana State Bar Association, Jonathan develops and implements special projects designed to increase access to justice for Louisiana's poor and other vulnerable populations. He has undertaken several major initiatives, including the establishment of Louisiana's first court-based help desk for self-represented litigants in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court and the development of a statewide network of help desks in five additional cities around the state. Jonathan has also focused on criminal justice reform, coordinating an annual Criminal Justice Summit that brings together statewide leadership and policy makers to tackle pressing issues.

This year, Jonathan assumed the role of Executive Director of the Louisiana Civil Justice Center, Louisiana's statewide legal assistance and disaster response hotline serving low-income and other underserved populations. He has expanded programming to provide direct legal services on a variety of common issues and to serve as the central point of intake for Louisiana's BP Oil Spill consortium and the Louisiana Attorney General's Mortgage Settlement Services.

Jonathan also serves as the Board President of St. Claude Main Street, an economic development organization focused on the burgeoning St. Claude community in New Orleans' upper 9th Ward, and serves as a pro bono attorney for community projects, including The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center's prevention of housing discrimination and The Pro Bono Project's small successions program to help residents clear title to homes after Hurricane Katrina.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Jonathan was the founder and Executive Director of ThreeWalls Contemporary Art Center in Chicago's West Loop from 2002 to 2008. With a background in nonprofit startup, management and development, he regularly volunteers to assist social entrepreneurs across New Orleans on a pro bono basis. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Dayton and is a 2012 graduate of the Loyola University (New Orleans) Institute of Politics, committed to social justice and sustainable communities.

 
Jill Roberts '08
Cabrini Green Legal Aid

2013 Hon. Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Public Interest Law Award
Jill Roberts began her work at Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) in 2006 as a law student intern, and it was that experience that solidified her plan to become a legal aid attorney. She later joined CGLA in 2010 as a staff attorney and today, holds a unique position with dual roles in CGLA's housing and family law programs.

Jill's work includes managing a high-volume caseload of eviction, subsidy termination, order of protection, custody, visitation and parentage cases. She also previously worked in CGLA's criminal records program, helping clients file to expunge or seal their criminal backgrounds and petition the governor for executive clemency. As the only Spanish speaking staff member, Jill's language abilities have enabled CGLA to serve a broader population of clients.

Prior to working at CGLA, Jill spent a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation, where she worked on the Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children. She also compelted a one-year judicial clerkship with the United States Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review at the Detroit Immigration Court.

Jill graduated summa cum laude from Saint Mary's College and graduated from Chicago-Kent with a Certificate in Public Interest Law. During law school, Jill was heavily involved with the Kent Justice Foundation and worked with the adminstration to establish the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). She received the Dean's Distinguished Public Service Award for completing 250 hours of community service while in law school and was recently honored by the Chicago Bar Foundation as a recipient of the Sun-Times Fellowship based on her dedication to public interest work.



 

2013 Public Interest Partner Award
CARPLS plays an integral role in the public interest community by providing legal aid to thousands of families in Cook County. It was established in 1993 as the first legal aid hotline in the country and annually provides more than 53,000 legal consultations to low-income clients over the hotline and at four court-based advice desks. CARPLS' innovative technology and dedicated staff attorneys and volunteers have enabled it to provide efficient and low-cost aid to more than 500,000 clients since its inception twenty years ago. More than 85% of all cases are resolved in-house by CARPLS attorneys, allowing the other 15% to be referred to other, more specialized, legal and social service providers as necessary. By offering pro se clients the tools and advice required to navigate the court system, CARPLS gives the most vulnerable individuals the ability they need to help themselves while helping the courts operate in a more efficient and just manner.

CARPLS has a special relationship with Chicago-Kent that has positively impacted the delivery of its legal services. Both the CARPLS summer student intern and expanded volunteer programs are based on a pilot conducted at the law school during 2004 and 2005. The success of that pilot served as the foundation for the organization's volunteer hotline programs known as CARPLS Works (daytime) and Nightline (evening). Utilizing CARPLS' knowledge-based software, volunteer attorneys and students are trained to provide hotline assistance in the areas of landlord/tenant, family and collection law and are closely supported by supervising attorneys. Students also work at the court-based advice desks in the Daley Center during the summer months.

CARPLS' relationship with Chicago-Kent continues to have a positive impact on the clients CARPLS serves and provides Chicago-Kent students and graduates much needed opportunities to learn, network and give back to the community.


Salvador J. Lopez '09
Robson & Lopez LLC

2013 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award
Salvador J. Lopez is a founding partner at Robson & Lopez LLC. He began his career at a law firm representing persons with disabilities in hearings before the Social Security Administration and then left private practice to join the Legal Assistance Foundations as a staff attorney. Late last year, he returned to private practice, joining with fellow honoree Kathleen Robson to form Robson & Lopez. 

Salvador also does extensive pro bono work, taking cases from the Legal Assistance Foundation, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services and the Chicago Legal Clinic. His pro bono involvement ranges from providing basic advice at the Bankruptcy Help Desk to representing clients in mortgage foreclosure mediations to taking on full litigation cases. Much of Salvador's work has centered on mortgage foreclosure and mortgage and real estate fraud and in 2012, Governor Quinn appointed him to a four-year term on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's Real Estate Administration and Disciplinary Board. Fluent in Spanish, Salvador represents a significant number of Spanish-speaking clients on a pro bono basis and in 2011, he was part of the founding Advisory Council for Illinois Legal Aid Online's Spanish website, AyudaLegalIL.org.

While in law school, Salvador was deeply involved with the not-for-profit legal community. He volunteered a semester with the Legal Assistance Foundation, and spent three semesters with the Cook County Public Defender's office. He interned his first-year summer with Equip for Equality and his second summer with the Federal Defenders in San Diego. He also worked at the school's Immigration and Criminal Defense Clinics and volunteered on three trips to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He earned his Bachelor's degree magna cum laude from the University of Illinois-Chicago and served for four years in the U.S. Navy, where he participated in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 

Kathleen Robson '10
Robson & Lopez LLC

2013 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award
Kathleen Robson is a founding partner of Robson and Lopez LLC, where she leads a passionate and client-driven approach to defending those in need. She has a long history of giving back to the Chicago community in time and service at organizations such as Chicago Cares, the Cabrini Green YMCA and the Women's Treatment Center. As a student at Chicago-Kent, she traveled to New Orleans several times to volunteer with the Student Hurricane Network, providing assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and assisted with voter protection on election days in Illinois and Indiana.

Since graduating from Chicago-Kent in 2010, Kathleen has regularly provided pro bono legal services to the Chicago Legal Clinic, the Legal Assistance Foundation and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. Through the Chicago Legal Clinic's pro se clinic and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services' foreclosure mediation program, she has assisted hundreds of Cook County families in their fights to save their homes.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Kathleen worked as a mortgage banker for 11 years in Chicago and was a finance officer at one of Chicago's largest private banks, where she managed their bond and derivative portfolios. She earned her B.A. in Mathematics from Indiana University in 1994 and continued post-graduate studies at Northeastern Illinois University in Applied Mathematics.